Licensing Board Hears Dispute About Chairs in Street Between Cops and Cafe Cigar Smoker


Fire Hydrant in Question on Hanover Street – Summer 2013

Universal Hub reports from Tuesday’s Boston Licensing Board hearing regarding an altercation between Boston Police and David Riccio about chairs in the street in front of Caffe Vittoria on Hanover Street.

North End cigar smoker fumes at cops who tell him he can’t set up chairs in front of a hydrant

And Caffe Vittoria in turn has the Boston Licensing Board steaming over the way one of its owners snapped at a beat cop and sergeant who told him to get three chairs away from a hydrant in front of the Hanover Street establishment.

Read the article at Universal Hub.


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15 Responses to Licensing Board Hears Dispute About Chairs in Street Between Cops and Cafe Cigar Smoker

  1. Junior Tue, Dec. 3, 2013 at 10:54 pm #

    How is a chair impeding access to the fire hydrant? This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.

    I’d much rather have people sitting and talking than rows of revving motorcycles!

    • Olivia Thu, Dec. 5, 2013 at 9:07 am #

      Junior. I agree. Better tables and chairs than motorcycles.
      The outdoor ‘cafe’ look lends an atmosphere of Italy, with people outdoors, sitting around, having coffee. It is part of the charm, what’s left of it, of the ‘old’ North End, that people want to keep alive. People complain that the North End, as they knew it, is disappearing. Here is a chance to retain the taste of the old days. People sit out on Salem Street, which is far more congested than Hanover.

  2. Michaeld Wed, Dec. 4, 2013 at 7:41 am #

    If the cops are going to hassle a buisness owner about a couple of chairs why don’t they do something about the double parking on Hanover St. thats been going on for at least 75 years?

    • frank gargano Wed, Dec. 4, 2013 at 10:09 am #

      Sometimes u are just running in for a minute so I myself don’t see a problem with this I have done it for over 28+ years and never had a problem for someone to get out into the street

      • Jon Wed, Dec. 4, 2013 at 10:54 am #

        Running in for a minute still causes a traffic jam on Hanover

    • Rocco Wed, Dec. 4, 2013 at 6:08 pm #

      Michaeld, if we take your logic that if the police don’t enforce one illegal act we should let all the illegal acts go on. Where would we be if that were the case? One lack of enforcement of a law does not give rise to a complete breakdown of enforcement of any other laws.

    • Rocco Wed, Dec. 4, 2013 at 6:17 pm #


      Are you suggesting that if one illegal act is not enforced than all other illegal acts should also be unenforced? Where would we be if that were the case? Lawlessness abounding is what we would have. And God forbid a crime were to be committed upon you, would you say because the police did not enforce one law it was ok for someone to commit a crime upon you? So you see, all laws should be enforced, are they, no. Should that excuse us from following all laws then? NO.

      • Michaeld Thu, Dec. 5, 2013 at 8:52 am #

        Rocco, I’m suggesting just the opposite if a cop is going to enforce one law a[ a few chairs on the sidewalk] than they have to enforce all laws .I dont know how long that you have lived in the NE but if your a long time resident lets be honest the problem of double parking on Hanover St. as I wrote yesterday has been going on for decades & it should be a higher priority than a few chairs on the sidewalk.Its worse on Sat. & Sunday when people double park for hours as they are socializing in Cafes & in front of buisness.Taking a right turn on Prince St. to Hanover is dangerous because there are always a few cars parked in front of Mikes Pastry & cars parked all the way to Cross St. sometimes on both sides of the street.

  3. Jon Wed, Dec. 4, 2013 at 7:46 am #

    These guys should move. They have no right to put their chairs on the sidewalk and further congest the sidewalk. I doubt the cop really cared about the fire hydrant, he was just using it as a convenient excuse to get those guys to move when they have been bothering a number of people for years. The cop should have arrested them for disorderly conduct (or something similar) to make a point. Also, please don’t harass a cop just trying to do his job.

    • frank gargano Wed, Dec. 4, 2013 at 10:16 am #

      Are u crazy on what u just said there is no problem and plenty of room show me the law on paper then something can be done till that I hope they don’t move them and fall for something that is not true some times the police over go there job and power

    • tory s. Thu, Mar. 6, 2014 at 8:15 pm #

      This is pure entitlement, the biggest problem the North End has had forever. Its time to realize that city hall is running things. Whether you like it or not, just respect it. The law is the law, even when you don’t think its right. Get over it.

  4. Jason Aluia Wed, Dec. 4, 2013 at 9:43 am #

    This is absurd. What is the big deal about people sitting on a folding chair! Maybe he should be so vigilant when people are partying and screaming in the street at 3AM!

  5. ScottN Wed, Dec. 4, 2013 at 11:57 am #

    15 feet of sidewalk width is required to put out tables+chairs, that is the law. The sidewalk is further narrowed by the presence of the hydrant. I agree if they are not fixed chairs and table it’s proximity to hydrant is not really an issue – people will not be sitting there in event of fire…

  6. Rocco Wed, Dec. 4, 2013 at 4:12 pm #

    The question is…is the land under the table and chairs the property of the building owner or the city of Boston? If it belongs to the city, there is no question Mr. Riccio was wrong in his behavior. If the property under the table and chairs is his, then he is technically in the right. However, that does not excuse his immature behavior borne no doubt by a misguided sense of entitlement he obviously feels he has.

    It is never the right thing to do when you argue with authority. Mr. Riccio simply should have called the local police station and ask for a Sgt. or Lt. to come down and resolve the issue. He did not do that, instead he tried to belittle the officer. Who likes being humiliated as Mr. Riccio apparently tried to do with this officer.

    What is most perplexing is why did the person who started this NOT show up for a hearing instead sent his brother to do his bidding? He seemed to have plenty to say to the police officer at the time.

  7. Francesco Thu, Dec. 5, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

    The issue described in the story has nothing to do with the chairs that are set up on the sidewalk (as shown in the above photo). The heart of the matter is the placement of chairs on the street, in front of the fire hydrant.

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