Mayor Bill de Blasio will be skipping the St. Patrick’s Day parade during his first year in office.
He told reporters on Tuesday, however, that city uniformed employees will be welcome to march in the parade in their uniforms on city time.
The annual march along Fifth Avenue, held on March 17, is the oldest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the United States, first held in 1762. This year’s celebration will be the parade’s 252nd.
The new mayor’s predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, always marched. Mayors Rudy Giuliani and Ed Koch also participated.
More than 1 million people are expected to attend in person and watch the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Organizers expect another 200,000 people to actually march in the parade. De Blasio said he is refusing to join because organizers won’t allow participants to carry gay-pride signs, which organizers say detracts from the parade’s focus on honoring Irish heritage.
The Associated Press contributed to this report