Last night at 9:20, while walking home from what I considered a late night at the feast, I passed the Prado. To my dismay, there were in excess of 200 teens gathered there. Being the mother of a teen myself, I decided to walk through, with my 4 year old daughter in tow, to make sure my own child and her friends were not in the mix. As I walked by, I witnessed public drinking, urinating (boys and girls) and public displays of affection. When one young boy held up his bottle of vodka and asked, “Would you like a sip?”, I managed to maintain my self control and instead dialed 911.

Prado – Paul Revere Mall on a Quieter Night (Photo by M. Conti)

Police responded within 10 minutes. As soon as several cruisers and foot patrolled officers arrived, these teens scattered-a telltale sign that they were definitely up to no good. The officers emptied bottles and clearly stated to them that if they “are seen in groups larger than 5 kids, they will be taken in.”

Not a single one of the teens there last night was from the North End. They had come from the suburbs. They came and littered a park with bottles and urine. They came because they thought the North End is the place to be. As residents, we need to send the message that it is not a place where they are welcomed if their only activity is underage drinking. As easily as a single “tweet” probably let hundreds of kids know where to go on a Friday night, the same message can be sent that the North End is not the place to hang out. We have a moral obligation to call 911. These kids are drinking. The dangers associated with it are numerous. We cannot turn a blind eye.

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Later, as I made my way home, I heard a smaller groups of kids on their phones asking where the “Flights” were and another group making arrangements to meet behind the rink. These are the NE hot spots. Let’s make sure they become an undesirable place to be. Call 911.

Jodi Piazza

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14 COMMENTS

  1. From the last public safety meeting my husband and I attended we were told there were going to be 4 foot patrols on the weekend. How do they miss this in the wide open! We witnessed the same thing in the flights this previous week. Upon calling 911, it took many times for them to even figure out the location to go. Where are our foot patrols??

    • The next time tell the 911 operator the top level of the De Fillipo Playground at Hull and snow Hill Sts. Most Area A cops should know where the flights are which park is called “The Gassy” by now but who knows what the dispatchers tell them. There is trouble every year when it is the last two feasts of the summer. Wait until next weekend.

  2. I’ve lived in the North End for many years; I’m a single professional with no kids, and it’s always bothered me that people from outside our lovely neighborhood feel they can visit, make a mess, be loud and obnoxious and then leave. It’s one thing to enjoy the many fine offerings the North End has, it’s quite another to have hundreds of kids drinking, urinating, etc. and essentially invading a space not meant for partying/causing trouble. This is our neighborhood; our home, and it has been special to me for many reasons for a long time. I agree with the author – let’s all remain vigilant and protect what is sacred to us: our homes, our neighborhood, our community.

  3. I am surprised (on a Friday night plus being a Feast night) Police didn't notice the situation first. Very surprised it had to be called in. That seems like an area that would have Police Presence. Not like this is the first time it has happened.

  4. Thank you so much, Jodi. The spots you’ve identified in this letter are well known in the neighborhood as problem areas.

    Dear Police: please patrol the prado, Eliot School playground, flights at the Gassy and behind the Steriti Rink on the waterfront.

    Pleas for patrols in these areas seem to be falling on deaf ears. If this group last night had remained, it well may have led to fights breaking out and there would have been a very dangerous situation.

  5. Since mid-July I have called 911 at least 6 times on Friday and Saturday nights. Not quite sure why this isn’t listed on the police blotter. During the first feast in July, while observing over 100 adolescents who amassed on Commercial Street at Puopolo Park, I saw:
    * underage drinking/smashing bottles
    * two boys attempting to do pushups on the yellow lines as traffic passed in both directions
    * at least 4 side-view mirrors snapped off parked cars
    * a small car surrounded by more than 15 of the vandals, until the driver went in reverse and did a u-turn in front of the bocce courts.
    It seems miraculous that no one was hurt. The police arrived after 12 minutes (when I report mobs of drinkers behind the skating rink it always takes 45-minutes for a car to arrive). Frankly, it was terrifying and I don’t understand why there is no regular police presence on Fri and Sat nights behind the skating rink and on Copps Hill Terrace. The bottles and smashed glass make early morning walking dangerous. We have asked for regular police patrols. Perhaps the feast organizers or someone with clout can weigh in.

  6. The feast organizers usually pay for police details at the feast location who are responsible for keeping the peace at the feast and not in every location where there are kids drinking. Not the feast organizers responsibility to patrol the whole neighborhood.

    Since the skating rink is STATE DCR property and not CIty of Boston, perhaps a call to the DCR should be made:
    Report Crime &

    Suspicious Activity

    1-866-PK-WATCH

    Working together for a

    safer community

    251 Causeway Street

    Boston, MA 02114-2104

    To think that the Boston police are going to post someone in Copps hill terrace, the flights of the Gassy (aka DeFillipo Playground), the Prado and every other place these kids congregate is unrealistic.

    Unfortuanely for the North End, the Area A police cover the area around North Station, Quincy Market, and the theatre district. If there is a drunken brawl, shooting or stabbing in one of these locations, those calls get priority. To make things worse, the last two feasts of the summer are also the same week as the Caribbean festival in Franklin Park where there seems to be a major problem every year. Do we lie to the 911 operator about what is happening here to get a faster response and risk pi$$ing off the Area A police who might take their time when there is a real emergency situation? .Tough call.

  7. Dear friends and neighbors:

    For those of you who do not me, I am Jason Aluia, a lifelong resident of Prince Street and one of the organizers of Saint Anthony’s Feast. I just wanted to respond to this thread to inform you what steps we have made to address security issues at this year’s celebration,

    After the unacceptable issues on the Friday night of last year’s Feast, my Committee, working with the Mayor’s Office of Special Events requested that we have additional police patrols for the 2012 Feast.

    Due to other events in the city, the BPD cannot always fill the allotted detail during our weekend. That is why we (St. Anthony’s) have requested and volunteered to pay additional overtime for this year’s contingent of police at our Feast so as to guarantee a strong presence within our boundaries.

    We have also asked that the BPD conduct regular patrols of the Gassy and that the Parks Dept. leave the lights on in the park until midnight. We also have a dedicated paid detail of Boston EMS personnel on site each night of the festivities.

    I live across the Gassy and have witnessed the aforementioned groups of kids up the flights during many nights this summer. (Many of these nights have not been during Feast weekends – The BPD has responded in a timely manner – every time they are called.) I have also heard about the groups of kids gathering behind the Steriti Skating Rink during the monthly public safety meetings.

    I also find it disturbing and frankly infuriating that groups of kids would come into our neighborhood and these feasts and be so disrespectful. Our feasts have been celebrated for over 100 years in this neighborhood. The members of my society and those of our fellow feast societies work very hard each year to organize successful, family oriented and fun events for all to enjoy.

    We take very seriously the security of our guests and of our fellow neighbors. I assure you that we will be working with the Mayor’s Office, and our new Area A-1 Police Captain Lee to ensure a fun & SAFE 2012 St. Anthony’s Feast.

    I will update you as the week progresses.

    Thank you
    Jason

  8. Maybe they should start on not selling beer and wine in stores, and the clubs, of the festival just to make money we should go back in time when they didn’t do that but that will never happen when you get the taste of more money coming in you can’t stop it and start thinking

  9. Frank: The alcohol at the clubs is sold for the benefit of the society members and their guests. In addition, the clubs all receive permits to dispense alcohol for the weekend of the Feast. St. Anthony’s even hires a private security detail to work at the front door to ensure that no alcohol leaves the club and that there is no issues with those that are consuming alcohol on the premises and to ensure that minors are not served.

    Many of these underage kids that start trouble at places like the Parado, the skating rink, or the Gassy bring alcohol with them in backpacks from outside the area. To blame their actions on the Feast societies with which they have no affiliation is unfair.

    If you go back in time like you suggest, alcohol was sold at vending locations on the street and the Feasts stopped doing that to ensure a safe, family-centered event for our community and visitors to the neighborhood. St. Anthony’s Feast, just like all of the Feasts, work hard and spends a lot of money each year in police details, overtime expenses, and EMS fees, to ensure that the Feast area is safe for all that visit and live in the neighborhood.

  10. Where are the parents of these teens?!?

    Between this incident and the posting about the school, there seem to be too many unsupervised teens out too late at night.

    • Not only is the North End a hot spot for pasta and cannoli, it seems to have become a hot spot for underage teens from the burbs to come to the North End and drink with or without North End teens.(the mob in the Prado was not from the North End. Maybe its time for the police to crack down on the stores who are selling alcohol to these kids and/or the over 21 people who are buying it for these kids. maybe the parents of the kids who had bottles of vodka should put a lock on their liquor cabinet.

  11. …Part of the reason we moved (plus the overcrowding and constant trash/dog waste).

    Good for neighbors like Jodi for standing up.

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