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St. Patrick's Day Events Go Mostly Virtual For Second Year In A Row

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- St. Patrick's Day events have gone mostly virtual for a second year in a row, but some small celebrations are still happening around the city, including mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral.

As CBS2's Natalie Duddridge reports, a sea of green usually floods Fifth Avenue with floats and marching bands for the St. Patrick's Day parade. But not this year.

You will still find a lot of Irish spirit, though, from the cathedral to pubs everywhere.

A small crowd honoring Irish heritage donned their emerald green and marched at 6:30 a.m., stepping off from 26th Street and Lexington Avenue alongside Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The group made their way to St. Patrick's Cathedral, named after the patron saint of Ireland.

"Today means everything to me. I'm 100% Irish," said Ryan Kerr. "St. Patrick was a great man, rid the land of snakes... and we love him."

New York City's parade dates back to 1760, and even though the main event was canceled due to COVID twice now, a dedicated group made sure to keep tradition alive.

"It's never been interrupted. We marched this morning from the armory," said Smithtown resident Kevin Barry. "The oldest parade in the world - 260 years continuous marching."

"On this St. Patrick's day, it's chilly in New York. We still have the warmth of Irish heritage. Everybody's Irish today," said Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

A special mass honored 18 people for their service during the pandemic, like Kate O'Neill, a nurse on the front lines.

"A moment feeling very proud about our heritage, and honored for us to be recognized as essential workers first responders," O'Neill said.

If you're celebrating at home, you can watch replays of this morning's virtual parade and show by CLICKING HERE.

Irish pubs are once again decked out, open at 35% capacity indoors, an Irish blessing for one pub owner after a challenging year.

"Luck of the Irish from here on out. It will get better," said Frank Dwyer, owner of the Playwright Tavern.

With the restriction, pubs will close at 11 p.m.

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