St Patrick's Day Parade steps off in New York
New York's St. Patrick's Day Parade has stepped off under blue skies and with hopes of ending a long-running dispute over gay marchers.
The parade up Fifth Avenue is the nation's oldest and largest celebration of Irish heritage.
After allowing one gay group for the first time last year, organisers have opened the line-up more widely to include activists who protested against the parade's decades-long ban on displays of gay pride.
Thursday's parade also honours the centennial of Ireland's Easter Rising against British rule.
Elected officials including Mayor Bill de Blasio are joining bagpipers and high school marching bands at the parade.