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Extensive Vandalism on the North End’s Harborwalk

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A concerned resident sends in this disturbing account of extensive vandalism on Monday night, Presidents’ Day at the North End’s Puopolo and Langone parks by a large group of young individuals drinking on the Harborwalk. After the photos, the same resident provides an update on the response by City officials.

Approximately 8:45 PM last night (Monday 02/20) I walked the North End Harbor Walk section between the Mirabella swimming pool and the Steriti skating Rink.  As I walked along the bocce courts and tot lot toward the water from Commercial Street, I came across a few broken beer bottles on the walkway.  Then, I encountered a very large group, approximately 18-24 individuals, congregated and drinking on the large flat section adjacent to the basketball court.
Early this morning (Tuesday 02/21), I walked the same route and noted additional broken bottles along the same walkway and within the confines of the tot lot.  When I arrived at the skating rink I encountered the scene that is depicted in the attached photos.  I did not walk along the water side of the skating rink but I could see that the litter and bottles extended along the grass in that area.  See photos.
  • All of the broken glass and litter occurred after 8:45 PM last night and approximately 6:45 AM this morning;
  • The damage to the public toilet also occurred overnight;
  • The benches along the walkway have gone missing over the past weekend.  As you can see, they have been thrown into the water immediately adjacent to the seawall.  A third bench can be found along the seawall just a few yards beyond the two depicted in the images.  Each of these benches easily can be retrieved, pressure washed, and put back into service.  My suggestion is that they be installed in cement rather than asphalt;
  • Missing items from the tot lot (a SeaHorse on a large spring, and several chairs) also can be found along the seawall and in the water immediately behind the tot lot.  Again, these items can be recovered easily, pressure washed and put back into service.
  • The broken tree branch is also recent and may be due to a truck backing into it – see long scrape along the branch.
The congregation of large groups of young people who drink, litter and vandalize this specific section of the Harbor Walk – between the tot lot and the North Washington Street Bridge - is out of control.  It is a recurring and ongoing problem.  Residents are afraid to walk along this section at night and the broken glass presents all kinds of problems for runners, tourists, children, bike riders, dog walkers, etc.
It seems to me that a prevention plan needs to be implemented – City property is being vandalized and littered.  How difficult would it be to have a motorcycle officer, bicycle officer or Park Ranger (City and/or State) drive through this area of the Harbor Walk on an hourly basis from sundown to midnight or 1AM?
A follow up report from the same resident:
Thank you one and all for contacting City of Boston officials about the condition of our neighborhood park and harbor walk.  We certainly got their attention and they responded immediately.  The tree branch was removed, all litter and glass were picked up,  and the tot lot was cleared of broken glass and empty liquor bottles by 12:30 PM.
I hope that the jettisoned  park benches, tot lot furniture and playground equipment will be recovered at low tide.  Stay tuned.
Thank you, one and all.  And please remember to thank our fantastic Parks Dept. maintenance and grounds keeping team for their work throughout the year.

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Julie Westman says:

I applaud the party that responded and cleaned up the destruction so promptly. Problem is, now it looks like nothing happened. Seems like we are sending these creeps the wrong signal, and that they don’t need to be accountable.

I agree that having more police in the parks would be effective, but they can’t be there every minute of the day. If we used video cameras, we would already have photos of all the culprits in last week’s vandalism and we could be posting want ads in the North End right now. We need to be open to new technologies.

jennifer mcgivern says:

This is so disappointing. I hope the city can quickly reclaim the furniture. As it gets warmer this will happen more and more. The gassy has a particular problem, as well, with large groups partying at night. We really need more police presence in all of our parks.

Jaclene Cook says:

I’ve been noticing this issue for a long time- I’ve noticed that the worst of it was done on Thursday nights (I walk along there every morning)… I think either the police need to take a walk down and patrol there during the nights or there needs to be a neighborhood watch.

Julie Westman says:

Very upset to hear about this vandalism. Wouldn’t the installation of inexpensive security cameras be a better solution?

David Arnold says:

One solution to such animal pack behavior would be to post REWARD signs around the area with several photographs of the vandalism and a request for information leading to the arrest etc. etc. The message would be clear: We care, and now we are watching. The incident is one more reminder how inaction or public complacency allows the baseline for tolerable behavior to slide (drunks leaving bars in the early morning to shout at our rooftops, pee in our door stoops… ). Jim Hunt, Boston’s cabinet level environment guru, was asked a pretty good question at a recent neighborhood meeting. “Why isn’t excessive noise considered degradation to the environment?” Short of dialing 911, which would be an abuse of the system, I would love to hear ideas about what we can do (short of pummeling drunks from above with water balloons. Sorry. My mind goes nasty places at 2am…).

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