With record high attendance, Thursday’s October 1st NEWNC Public Safety meeting became a forum for residents to discuss the late night noise issues raised in the recent Boston Globe article, “A Culture Clash in the North End.” It also brought out an all-star cast from various leaders and participants in our neighborhood life.

Boston Police address North End residents regarding late-nght revelry. From left to right: Sgt. Tom Lema, Officer Teddy Boyle, Superintendent Dan Linski
Boston Police address North End residents regarding late-nght revelry.
From left to right: Sgt. Tom Lema, Officer Teddy Boyle, Superintendent Dan Linski

Residents can expect to see a significant increase in police presence and faster complaint response, according to Boston Police. Leading the meeting from the BPD were Superintendent Dan Linski, Captain Bernard O’Rourke, Sgt. Tom Lema and Officer Teddy Boyle. They intend to show aggressive enforcement of “disturbing the peace” violations in addition to public drinking and other quality of life ordinances. Captain O’Rourke recalled a similar meeting three years ago relating similar late-night activity that was causing excessive noise in the neighborhood. While actions have been taken since then, he indicated the BPD would “go back to the drawing board.”

BPD reviewed the process they take when responding to a call for loud party noise. Generally, the police start with warnings, then citations (fines) and have taken some cases to court. College students are a primary source of loud parties, but the police noted that young professionals also frequently create noise disturbances. Absentee landlords were identified as a problem area with a revolving series of problem renters. Residents would like the police to hold landlords more accountable for their renters.

John Nucci, VP External Affairs from Suffolk University; Captain Bernie O'Rourke in background
John Nucci, VP External Affairs from Suffolk University; Captain Bernie O’Rourke in background

State Representative Aaron Michlewitz noted that the North End is a “neighborhood first” where residential concerns should take priority. City Councilor Sal LaMattina reiterated the efforts of the “Problem Properties” group that includes Councilor Mike Ross as well as NEWRA’s President, Mark Paul. Representatives from local colleges also vowed to help, including John Nucci, VP External Affairs from Suffolk University, Richard Grealish, Suffolk’s Office of Neighborhood Response and Brad Hinton, Office of Student Conduct at Emerson College.

Suffolk University has a surveillance car that works with the BPD in covering the North End.  Suffolk does not have enough dorms so most of its students live in the neighborhoods. In contrast, Emerson College requires its 1st and 2nd year students to live in on-campus dorms. The school redeveloped the Colonial Theater downtown recently and is progressing on another dorm next door in the old Paramount building on Washington Street.

Residents spoke out about many issues, including dissatisfaction with police response at a recurring problem spot in Cleveland Place. The police said they would report back on the rash of recent complaints at that location, including one last weekend that was unresolved. Several folks were upset that police were giving tickets to residents unloading their cars rather than out of state tourists in areas such as Pizzeria Regina. Valet issues were also discussed, causing unnecessary traffic snarls and going the wrong way on 1-way streets. Several specific situations were raised, largely surrounding loud apartment and roof deck parties.

Nazzaro Center was filled with interested residents at the October 1st Public Safety Meeting that became a forum to discuss the recent Globe article on late night revelry in the North End.
Nazzaro Center was filled with interested residents at the October 1st Public Safety Meeting that became a forum to discuss the recent Globe article on late night revelry in the North End.

Attendees described how the Hanover/Salem Streets area becomes a “pressure cooker” on Thursday through Saturday nights that gets increasingly rowdy during the early morning hours. The activity spreads out as the night wears on emanating to the outlying streets where residents are trying to sleep. One resident asked if businesses would help fund supplemental police/security. BPD believed this was logistically difficult, but would be supportive of cooperating efforts by the business community.

There was some background discord regarding restaurateur Frank DePasquale’s comment suggesting residents move to the suburbs. However, the licensing and inspection issues were not center stage at the meeting because the police do not control those functions. Watch for more debate on those issues at Licensing Board hearings.

Superintendent Linski summed up the resident feedback with a list of actions, including bringing special units into the North End and a citation effort geared toward cracking down on public drinking and quality of life disturbances. He also said that police would be directed to be more lenient on cars with resident stickers regarding loading/unloading activities.

The meeting ended with several rounds of applause for the coordinated effort that appears to be in motion. The Police reiterated that residents should not hesitate to call 911 to report loud parties or other quality of life violations. The City also has a number to report disturbing parties at 617 343-5400.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Heather:
    Bricco, Mare, Il Panino Express, Trattoria Il Panino, Umbria, Splash and probably a few others. Check his website DePasquale Ventures.

  2. Frank also owns or licenses all three Gigi Gelaterias in the neighborhood (he licensed a Gigi on North Street that hasn’t opened yet, possibly because it’s just a block from one of Frank’s owner-operated stores and 2 blocks from another O/O site).

  3. I posted this to another thread, but it’s appropriate here too.

    I would like to see and hear more of the business community in this discussion of how to combat late-night noise and parties. I thinks it’s too easy, though, to point at Frank DePasquale, whose comments certainly drew plenty of criticism. The fact is that we have the Fours, the Grand Canal, the Garden and its oceans of beer poured at every Bruins and Celtics game, bars on Union Street, the bars at Faneuil Hall, Tia’s when it’s warm … you get the idea. The problem goes far beyond Frank, and the bars and wine cellars of our North End businesses.

    The problem is noise and disruptive parties, not the careless comments of Frank DePasquale. If folks have issues with Frank, that’s one thing. The solution, though, is going to come down to educating and monitoring our discourteous neighbors, and holding them and their landlords accountable.

    On the issue of accountability, let’s not overlook Sal LaMattina’s Problem Properties Task Force. It’s an effective tool in making landlords answer for the behavior of their tenants. Let’s use it.

  4. The night noise problem is not just a result of students, young people, and parties. It’s not all a result of spillover from the Bulfinch Trianlge or Quincy Market, either. It also is not just after midnight on weekends–it starts just about every evening at 10 PM and goes on to about 4 AM. The annoying noise is not even all from drunks, at least the noise before 12 AM. And, the noise is not relegated to just a few "problem" establishments. The late night noise problem is largely a combination of noise from ALL the North End restaurant/cafe patrons.

    There are lots of "happy" patrons who are middle-aged. They eat at a restaurant here, have a few (or more) glasses and leave one of the 100 restaurants/cafes talking very loudly, laughing, etc. They don’t realize that their voices, laughter, and socializing reverberate, and disturb the hundreds of residents who live on top of the restuarants and cafes, many of whom are seniors, many of whom have lived here prior to the restaurant explosion, and some of whom are raising families. Yes, even on Hanover and Salem Street residences are above every establishment. (I have lived in the middle of restaurant row on Hanover Street for over thirty years.) We who live here don’t expect the quiet of the suburbs, but we do expect common decency and manners.

    The noise is cumlative and has a multiplier effect. The more restuarants, the more patrons, and the more happy people making noise on the streets. The later they can stay open, the later this "happy" noise happens.

    Of course, there are the young people and students who come here because of the "party" atmosphere and the North End’s unfortunate reputation. These are the later-night drunks who destroy property and urinate all over. Additionally, a lot of late night screaming, singing, etc. comes from the employees of the restaurants who hang out on the corners after closing playing their boom boxes.

    Fewer late night establishments would help maintain the quality of life in this residential neighborhood. More police enforcement would help as well–but, it won’t happen on a continuing basis. The alcohol cap should gradually be lowered and hours should be rolled back. Why should the North End have the highest density of licenses in all of Boston? The neighborhood doesn’t need a dozen restaurants open after midnight to satisfy public need. Perhaps, the restuarants should be required to hire detail officers between the hours of 10 PM and 3 AM. The less of a party atmosphere here, the less people will be inclined to party. We will once again have our neighborhood back–a vibrant community of residents, restaurants, cafes, and retail–where seniors can sleep and people can raise their children.

  5. I reviewed the comments made concerning the public safety meeting which all came down to the Globe Article and certain remarks made by a business owner. I have read all the comments that where written by Mark Paul president of NEWRA; Jason Aluia, Matt Conti and Thomas Schiavoni I think we all feel the same and we are all upset by the remark made by Frank DePasquale an successful business owner that should be proud that ALL his restaurants ARE IN THE NORTH END and last thing residents need to hear that we should move out so we can have a silent night. Shame on you Frank, you never seem to learn you threw one remark not long ago at one NEWRA meeting and you continue to do so. You make it look bad Frank for all the other restaurant owners that are trying very hard to be a good neighbor I don’t hear any sly remarks from them.

    NEWRA and the NEWNC are doing their best to solve problems like rodents; trash; late night parties under control and to keep our streets safe. Sal Lamatina and Aaron where at the safety meetings and have come up with a few solutions I personally thought the meeting was great, no yelling, no screaming it was very well organized and everyone there is concerned about the North End and what is happening. We are all doing what we need to do we will always have those few that will not corporate their trash will be thrown out in white CVS bags; pizza boxes all over the sidewalk, new neighbors moving in that think this is party town. More meetings with the two council boards and the North End Residents just maybe we can all work together and find ways to solve our problems and if we get less remarks from business owners the better everyone will feel.

    Marie Simboli
    NEWNC vice president

  6. Frank D also owns a couple of non-North End places, Umbria in the Financial District, and Splash in the Leather District (replacing his failed News, I believe).

  7. Reporting health code and licensing violations would be a much more effective way to impact FD’s businesses. Remember Franko, paybacks are a bitch.

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