McLean Avenue in Yonkers and Woodlawn in the Bronx are the epicenters for the Irish diaspora. The neighborhood is contiguous, one side being in the Bronx and the other in Westchester. The main avenue is lined with bars, restaurants, and Irish specialty stores . The accent is often more of a lilt than a gruff New York one.
Today is the annual fall festival, celebrated in September just as summer is ending. The street is closed off and full of music, family, food, and souvenirs from the Emerald Isle. For the second year in a row I’ve decided to tote my camera along. The day is a mixture of rainy and clouds, coincidentally the same as you’d find in Ireland, where I’d had a notoriously hard time photographing for that reason.
Two neighborhood lads sitting on a bench observed me and suggested I take a few shots of them, which you’ll find below. After wandering around for a bit, I finished the day up at Rory Dolan’s, where it seems every Irish family has celebrated a birthday, communion, or wedding at some point (my own great uncle’s 90th surprise party with relatives flown in from County Mayo, case in point.)
The Bronx-based MCNY offers tours of the area, which trace the history and present of immigrant neighborhoods in New York, such as the Irish, Italians, Latinos, and African-Americans. For anyone interested in the Irish experience McLean/Woodlawn neighborhood is not to be missed.