Wednesday, March 16th 2022
1pm Ireland / 8pm NYC
Story of A New York Neighbourhood
The life, lives and changing future of Woodside, Queens, where New York’s Irish have run for 100 years.
NYU’s Miriam Nyhan Grey in conversation with Sophie Colgan of The Ireland-U.S. Council, Siobhan Dennehy of Emerald Isle Immigration Center and Joe Crowley, Woodside-born and U.S. Representative from New York’s 14th congressional district from 1999 to 2019.
The name Woodside will be familiar to any Irish person with a family connection to, or simple interest in, New York City. A residential and commercial neighbourhood in the borough of Queens, it became a surrogate homeplace for Irish arriving in the city in the wave of emigration post-Famine, and through a period of large-scale residential development in the 1860s. By the 1930s, it was approximately 80% Irish, and home to the largest Irish American community in New York, and has subsequently supported generations of Irish emigrants in their search for work, play, connection and family in their new home. But all things change, and in 2020, Irish Central, the leading Irish publication in the U.S., published an article titled ‘Death of an Irish neighborhood’ and detailed the dwindling numbers and changing nature of the community in Woodside, describing it as ‘the Irish fading away’.
I.NY and St. Patrick’s Festival welcome NYU’s Miriam Nyhan Grey in conversation with former U.S. Representative for New York Joe Crowley, Siobhan Dennehy of Emerald Isle Immigration Center and Sophie Colgan of the Navigating New York podcast. Focusing on the story and history of the Woodside neighbourhood, the conversation will reach from the particular life and character of the neighbourhood, its importance to the New York Irish, through to the contemporary relationship of the New York Irish community with the neighbourhood, all in the context of the broader Irish experience as a whole, and what the future might hold for that experience, and for this unique and remarkable neighbourhood.
Miriam Nyhan Grey is Global Coordinator for Irish Studies at NYU’s Glucksman Ireland House. Sophie Colgan is Program Director for The Ireland-U.S. Council and host of the Navigating New York podcast. Siobhan Dennehy is Executive Director at Emerald Isle Immigration Center and Joe Crowley is an Irish American politician who served as U.S. Representative from New York’s 14th congressional district to the U.S. House of Representative from 1999 to 2019.
Miriam Nyhan Grey
Historian at NYU’s Glucksman Ireland House, Dr. Miriam Nyhan Grey grew up in Wicklow and studied in Cork and Florence, Italy before coming to New York University as a visiting doctoral student in History in 2006. She has been on faculty at Glucksman Ireland House since 2009, teaching an array of classes on Irish history and migration, oral history and comparative migration. She is a collaborator on the oral history collection at NYU’s Archives of Irish America and has recorded oral histories in Ireland, Britain and the United States for over two decades. She hosts the weekly This Irish American Life public radio hour, and, in 2018, initiated the Black, Brown and Green Voices project to amplify the voices of Black and Brown Irish Americans. She sits on the board of the African American Irish Diaspora Network, and was the inaugural Associate Editor of The Glucksman Irish Diaspora Series at NYU Press.
Congressman Joe Crowley represented the people of New York’s 14th
congressional district, including his hometown of Woodside, Queens, in
the U.S. Congress for nearly 20 years. The son and grandson of Irish
American immigrants from Counties Armagh, Cavan, and Louth, Joe worked
for decades to advance U.S.-Ireland relations and secure peace in the
North of Ireland.
During his time in Congress, Joe served as co-chair of the Ad-Hoc
Committee on Irish Affairs and a member of the Friends of Ireland
congressional caucus, and traveled to Northern Ireland during the peace
process, including during negotiations to restore the devolved
government in 2007. Crowley also led Congressional efforts in support of
the grassroots peace-building initiatives of the International Fund for
Ireland, the key U.S. funding mechanism bringing together people on both
sides of the conflict.
Joe was honored with the American Ireland Fund Distinguished Leadership
Award, the Queens County St. Patrick’s Day Parade’s “Gael of the Year,”
and the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations’ Ellis Island Medal
of Honor for his efforts.
Joe served in the House Democratic leadership for six years, first as
Vice-Chair and then as Chairman of the Caucus. He was also a member of
the prestigious House Committee on Ways and Means and the House Foreign
Sophie Colgan is a Communications, Marketing & Events Specialist in New York City. Program Director The Ireland-U.S. Council for Commerce and Industry, and host of the Navigating New York podcast, she has emerged as a leading voice of the new Irish community in and across the city, and has connected and worked with many renowned Cultural & Business Organizations on both sides of the Atlantic. A former New York Rose of Tralee, and active member in New York GAA, she also boasts strong experience in networking, brand promotion and event coordination both in the areas of Arts & Culture and Business development.
Siobhan Dennehy was born in Dublin and educated at Sion Hill and Trinity
College Dublin, before spending a summer on J1 visa in New York. While
there, she joined the then grassroots effort and groundswell for
Immigration Reform called the Irish Immigration Reform Movement (IIRM),
volunteering for the Woodlawn Chapter in the Bronx.
Siobhan started work at the National Basketball Association (NBA) in the
early ’90s, working with the League for almost a decade. In November
1999 she helped co-found sports marketing company LeadDog Marketing
Group, and worked with the organization until 2001.
Siobhan joined Emerald Isle Immigration in March 2002 and has been the
Executive Director since February 2003. Since her appointment, the
agency has seen growth in its budget, programs, and services.
Accordingly, the Center has been able to add two attorneys, several
immigration counseling staff and a social worker to meet the needs of
the clients served. These clients cross a broad spectrum of
nationalities (over 70) and the Center has added to the ranks of Spanish
speaking staff to support the clients who continue to seek EIIC’s help.
Siobhan has previously served as the Board President of the CIIC
(Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers) and is currently the LAOH
National Immigration Chair. She lives with her husband Dan, they are the
very proud parents of daughters Ashling and Cara, and the family lives
in Cortlandt Manor, with Finn, their eight year old Jack Russell