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Pay before you pray on St. Patrick’s Day

The New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue

By Ray O’Hanlon

There will be a mayor’s breakfast this coming St. Patrick’s morning in New York.

But it will not take place at the traditional venue, the mayor’s official residence, Gracie Mansion on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

The gathering will take place instead at the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue.

The library will be easier for many to get to, but some who attend will be paying for their green bagels because the mayor’s office is seeking sponsors for the event.

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Letters offering sponsorship packages that offer admission tickets in return have been sent out to Irish organizations and institutions in the city by the Mayor’s Office of Special Projects and Community Events.

The letter states in part: “On March 17, Mayor de Blasio and First Lady McCray will host a Saint Patrick’s Day Breakfast in celebration of the Irish culture and heritage that is such a huge part of New York City’s identity.”

A letter to one Irish organization offered a $2500 fully tax deductible “Friends of Special Events” sponsorship deal.

Stated the letter: “Breakfast attendees will include notable Irish business leaders, city officials and community organizers. It is going to be an important opportunity for our Irish brothers and sisters to connect, collaborate and engage with one another. The resiliency of New York City is in no small measure due to the resilience inherent in the Irish people and we hope you will support this special gathering.”

The letter goes on to state that “We have always relied on private support to fund each of our separate community events. Our mission, and the invaluable work that we do, is only made possible thanks to the generosity of our dedicated funders.”

The starting time for the breakfast is not yet confirmed, but it is understood that it will conclude in time for anyone hoping to attend Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral to be able to travel the few blocks north from the library to the cathedral for the start of what is the traditional religious prelude to the day’s events.

Some in the past have complained that getting from Gracie Mansion to the cathedral in time for Mass was a difficult proposition.

Meanwhile, the effort to persuade New York City education authorities to reschedule planned middle school parent teacher meetings on St. Patrick’s evening has advanced from being a civil rights complaint to a Change.Org petition.

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