The bagpipes were playing "God Bless America." But Joan Morgan, who came from Ireland to attend New York City's St. Patrick's Day parade, felt more than right at home.
"It's much more Irish than at home," Morgan, who hails from the village of Kilcoo, in County Down, Northern Ireland, observed Monday.
Morgan, joined by relatives Mairead McCawley of Kilcoo and Anne Previdi of Long Island, snagged a prime viewing spot across from St. Patrick's Cathedral to celebrate amid the marchers, step dancers, men in kilts, smiles and — of course — green in all its forms.
Previdi sported an Irish pin, a shamrock headband, a shirt brought over by a cousin, and an Irish flag. "It's fabulous. You couldn't ask for a better day," she said.
In Ireland, half a million Dubliners and visitors gathered five deep to enjoy their parade, the centerpiece of a five-day festival.
While New York has America's largest parade, other cities also pull out the stops for the holiday.
In Indianapolis, Mayor Greg Ballard poured green dye into the newly cleaned downtown canal prior to that city's parade.
In Ohio, some 10,000 marchers were enlisted for a Cleveland parade that dates back to 1867. In Columbus, the Roman Catholic bishop asked the Shamrock Club not to hold its parade on St. Patrick's Day out of deference to Holy Monday; the group refused but did change the march route.
Some parades were held Saturday; Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams marched in Buffalo, N.Y.
New York City's parade was without its usual hefty contingent of politicians. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other dignitaries were in Albany for the swearing-in of Lt. Gov. David Paterson, who became New York's 55th governor after Eliot Spitzer resigned in disgrace.
Just a few blocks from the parade route, a neighborhood near the United Nations that was virtually shut down over the weekend because of a deadly crane accident struggled to get back to normal.
At least a half dozen Irish bars along Second Avenue opened for business for the first time since Saturday, when the crane broke away from a high-rise building under construction, demolishing a town house, damaging several other buildings and killing at least six people.
Michael Mullooly, manager of Jamison's Pub, watched the rescue workers out of the window Monday morning, noting how fortunate it was the accident happened when it did.
"If it happened today there would be carnage," he said.