Boston Police Sergeant Thomas Lema took Martine Powers, a Boston Globe reporter, on a Saturday night tour of the North End in late September. This resulted in Monday’s front page story, “In the North End, police find themselves caught in the middle between young partiers and older residents.”
“Their complaint is, ‘What are youse doing about these people who are out making all the noise?’ And you want to say, ‘Well, there’s 15 bars right there that are all letting out. It is what it is,’” Lema said while driving down Commercial Street. “But you can’t say that to anybody at any meeting, that we can’t do anything about it. That’s just the wrong answer.”
Sgt. Lema is head of BPD community relations in District A-1 and described this same late night tour at the last North End Public Safety meeting on October 5, 2012. In the meeting video at 30:20, he talks about his efforts to break up a loud party on Greenough Lane and confronting loud revelers walking the streets during a typical Saturday night.
After the latest round of noise complaints, I ran the recent NorthEndWaterfront.com poll on noise issues asking who you thought was to blame. College students topped the list, followed by young professionals and restaurants/cafes/bars. Many readers commented that absentee landlords are also at fault, a category I failed to include in the poll answers.
It was just over three years ago in September 2009 when the Boston Globe published a very similar front page article on the North End noise and late night revelry issues. The “culture clash” issues were again cited as a conflict between age groups and the neighborhood’s reputation as a late night destination.
The timing of the latest Globe story could help City Council passage of a proposed citywide “nuisance ordinance” that would allow police to fine landlords and revelers for loud parties. Councilor Sal LaMattina sponsored the measure that is also being championed by Neighborhood Council President Stephen Passacantilli. A public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, October 25, 2012, 6:00 pm at City Hall. (See the Nuisance Control hearing notice.)
I would be remiss not to point out a couple of minor errors in the latest Globe article. First, there is no Dunkin’ Donuts on Commercial Street as stated in the article where a “lanky girl in jeans and heels is unequivocally sloppy drunk.” I am guessing the reporter is referring to the Dunkin’ on Atlantic Avenue at the Aquarium Harbor Garage because it is close to the Faneuil Hall bars. Secondly, a regular NorthEndWaterfront.com reader points out that the Globe often refers to the North End’s cobblestone streets, when in fact there are none. There are stone “pavers,” such as seen in North Square, but no true rounded cobblestones remain.
Loud parties, noise and quality of life issues are addressed directly by Boston Police at the monthly North End Public Safety meeting. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, November 1, 2012, 6:30 pm at the Nazzaro Center, 30 N. Bennet Street. It is open to the public.