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De Blasio Among Attendees at 'St. Pat's for All' Parade

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TWC News: De Blasio Among Attendees at 'St. Pat's for All' Parade
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Mayor Bill de Blasio won't be marching in the big St. Patrick's Day parade in Manhattan, but he did march in the parade called "St. Pat's For All" Sunday in Queens.

The "St. Pat's for All" parade is open and welcome to all New Yorkers, and it usually draws a large contingent of LGBT paradegoers.

De Blasio praised the parade, saying it captures the spirit of New York City.

"This parade is what New York City is all about," he said. "This is a parade that celebrates inclusion, diversity, unity. That is what this city is about. That is what has made this city strong."

The parade in Sunnyside may not be as big, or have as much tradition, as the parade up Fifth Avenue on St. Patrick's Day, but it did have the participation of the mayor and other top city elected officials who will boycott the Manhattan parade.

It will be the first time in 20 years that the mayor does not march in the Manhattan St. Patrick's Day Parade.

The boycott is over the Manhattan parade's long-standing policy of excluding gay groups.

Organizers said that the "St. Pat's for All" event is the city's most diverse St. Patrick's Day parade.

"Everyone knows that this St. Patrick's Day parade is all-inclusive to everybody, and that's why it's important," said one person. "But it's really a celebration of Irish culture, of the Irish people, and that's what St. Patrick's Day is about. That's what it originally was about."

"I like coming to this parade because there's many different groups that I don't normally see," said another. "You'll see as the parade goes on, there's some Mexican cultures, there's people in these beautiful dresses and they're dancing, and so this parade is particularly a lot more fun to see."

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito also marched in the parade, as did numerous members of the City Council.

Former state Senator Tom Duane, who was the only openly gay member of the state Senate for a long period of time, served as one of the grand marshals of the parade.

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