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Letters From Longtime North End Residents Lament Noise and Quality of Life Problems

As the Boston City Council prepares to vote this week on the Nuisance Control Ordinance, the following series of letters were gathered from longtime North Enders as part of a Boston University student project by Alexander Herrmann on Boston’s North End, curated by Marie Montemarano and shared with permission here on The letters are unedited, other than for clarity and format.

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This is about the on going problem in the North End of Boston. Before you can understand what this is about you need to know about us. We were born and brought up here in the North End, children and grandchildren of Italian immigrants. They worked hard to pass the pride and respect of the Italian Heritage on to their children.

We went to school here, we grew up with our friends, their brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers and grandparents. We have a bond that no one can take away from us.

Now, we see, our neighborhood being used as a temporary dumping ground for people passing through, on their way to somewhere else while we watch in horror at the behavior of not only college students but whoever feels like moving here for their own agenda.

Most, have no respect or desire to care about how they are affecting anyone around them. You cannot imagine how many late nights we wake to hear them shouting out Anthony, Anthony!

There were bars and lounges in the North End on every corner, we had after hour clubs through the neighborhood that opened when the clubs closed. When it came time to go home, we would quietly leave so as not to wake our neighbors.

We are suffering because we cannot sleep on weekends because of the drunk young people, we see dog poop everywhere or their little doggie poop bags that are left like a gift in front of your door.

Beer bottles and garbage thrown everywhere from used sanitary pads and tampons to vomit.

We are suffering, we are crying, this is not anger, it is sadness and pain for a place we love.


Patricia Nutile

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It was my privilege to grow up in the North End during the 50’s and 60’s, a time when we were raised to treat one’s neighbor with kindness and respect. Of course, the times have changed, people, families demonstrate differing values … but the core of the North End has always remained the same. The North End offers a warm, friendly environment in which to learn and grow. Young families who live there grow in the love of parents, grand-parents and learn to respect authority. The churches, schools and community organizations still offer the wonderful guidance which plays such an important role in raising good children and citizens.

One of the issues currently facing the North End with regard to disturbances, disrespect of people and property etc. perhaps may be linked to misunderstanding of culture and values. I am not certain of this, however, I do know that those who are fortunate to live in the North End for even a short period of time are very blessed. They should show their appreciation by being respectful of their neighbors whose family in many cases have lived there for generations. They should know that this respect will be rewarded a hundred-fold by the loving and caring North Enders who have opened their hearts to many in the years past. Let’s hope that hearts and minds will be open in the New Year.

God’s blessing on the North End and on all the people who live there, may there be a renewed harmony and friendship among all neighbors.

Thanks for listening.


Joann Capone

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I am a life long resident of the North End of Boston. My grandparents emigrated from Italy and moved here in the early 1890’s. Our family has had a continued presence in the neighborhood since then. The character of the North End has changed substantially over the years. Many of these changes have been very positive with some negative consequences. These negative changes are so significant that they affect the peaceful tranquility of our daily lives and have adversely impacted our “quality of life” in our beloved neighborhood.

I, along with many of my neighbors who love and cherish our neighborhood have to contend with students and many young professionals who have complete disregard for our community. House and roof deck parties have become numerous and intolerable. I have personally witnessed young men urinating off of their roof deck on a Saturday afternoon. No one is suggesting that these young folks can’t and shouldn’t socialize, all we ask is for some measure of respect and concern for their neighbors. It is not acceptable to be kept awake until 3:00-4:00 in the morning. THIS MUST STOP!!! The loud voices of men and screeching voices of women reverberate through our narrow streets which serve as an echo chamber. Yes, most of the disturbances can be heard mostly on weekends, but oftentimes they occur sporadically throughout the week.

Is it possible these people can be this loud and and don’t realize that they are disturbing their neighbors? Many of them have complete disregard and treat our neighborhood as their playground. I also have had instances where they have urinated on my entry steps and have vomited on my sidewalk. I agree with my neighbor Michelle Tirella that many of these people have absolutely NO RESPECT for the people in our neighborhood. The bottom line is that they are transient dwellers who could care less. I am not sure of what the mechanism is that would mitigate and possibly eliminate this unacceptable behavior.

I agree with my friend and neighbor Michelle that absentee landlords play a very important role in the changing character of our neighborhood. Many of these landlords don’t monitor their tenant’s actions / activities, leaving many of us at the mercy of these transients. These inconsiderate people are adversely impacting the quality of life in our historic and beautiful neighborhood. Many of us are fed up with this situation and want action that will restore the tranquility we once knew.

We thank the Boston Police Department (BPD) who have been listening to our cries for help during our monthly meetings. In order for us to be successful, we need the continued open dialogue and increased support of the BPD and need an enhanced police presence in our community.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.

A Concerned Lifelong Resident,

Domenic A. Piso

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I am a woman of 67 years of age. I have lived in the North End all of my life~~and my Parents and Grandparents before me !!! We have always enjoyed a peaceful life~~~owned business and property here.

I am a firm believer in “you reap what you sow” in life !!! I have been an active member of this Community MOST of my life !!! I have dealt with trash~~rodents~~and now noise !!

I alone owned residential and business property for 40 or so years !! You could say, I have met up with all types of people from all

different walks of life !! I have NEVER met up with the likes of SOME of the present-day renters ! I’d like to know~~”What are they thinking”????

If everyone would just practice COMMON COURTESY ~~~there would be LESS PROBLEMS with our living conditions !! Mind you~~~it certainly IS NOT EVERYONE !!!! Believe it or not~~I was young once~~~but we knew respect and compassion for our neighbors !! I am baffled ~~I don’t have any answers, but I do know~~~This cannot continue !!! It isn’t even only the noise ~~ there is constant VOMIT~~URINATION ~~AND VULGARITIES YELLING OUT ~~~ IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT !!!!!!

I remember a time in the North End when~~if someone yelled out ~~we went to their assistance for fear they were being hurt by someone !!!

Young adults and families are a good sign that a neighborhood is not running stagnant !!!! We want our community to prosper BUT NOT LIKE THIS !!!

It seems to me that the young adults that have moved here, think that we are against them~~~NO~~But, WE DO expect us to live in harmony !!!

I grew up two (2) children here without this problem arising !!!!!

Thank You, for listening to our plea !!! We just want to sleep at night !!

Janet Gilardi

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My name is Norma Reppucci and I grew up in the North End. After nearly 15 years, I returned three years ago and bought a condo. I’ve been reading the emails that other long time residents have sent and must say that I must agree.

When I moved back, even though I have been involved in the community while I was living somewhere else, I was shocked by the noise and disrespect of not only residents but also the tourists. I know that change is difficult but this type of change is insulting. What is upsetting is that for a while families were not staying in the north end but now there is a growing number of families with children who are staying. The way people scream ,swear and act at night is disruptive and scary to families and children of the neighborhood.

The families have supported the public school and with a new principal it has turned into a progressive and sought after placement for contingent communities to send their children. We have a premier Health Center that serves all members of our community regardless of method of payment and there are strong civic groups that support growth as well as a continuum of respect for the culture of the North End.

I’ve gone to some of the community meetings and although I agree that the police and some politicians have tried to help, I believe the City could do much more. The North End business and real estate taxes produce revenue for the City of Boston but the garbage, parking and general disregard of even small interventions is disheartening. For instance I have heard that more tourists go through the North End than Disney world but there is a lack of secure garbage receptacles and public bathrooms for all the garbage and tourists that crowd the streets . Even the posting of signs that could say “Please Respect the Neighborhood your visiting throw trash in receptacles or Please no loud noises or car honking.”

Parking is impossible and the local parking lots continue to increase their monthly prices without any intervention or help from the city such as mediating discounts for residents of the north end. Included in this is the impact of absentee landlords and partying young adults and it is enough to think about moving out. I have actually thought about it many times since I moved back three years ago but most of my family still lives here and I want to be near them.


Norma Reppucci

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My name is Maria Prezio, I’m a long time resident and home owner of the North End of Boston.

I hope this letter contributes to the resolution of my concerns.

I grew up In this neighborhood when our streets were clean, and our neighbors (all ages) were respectful and caring of one another. Through the years I have seen many changes take place here. In some respects many were good and others very bad.

Here are a few concerns for many of us.

1. Out of control students and young professionals using this neighborhood as their playground. Loud parties going to all hours of the morning. Beer bottles thrown against buildings along with trash.

2. Filthy streets due to limited trash containers in high traffic areas.

3. Bags of dog mess left in front of our buildings.

4. Trash left outside on non trash days.

5. Homeowners ignoring rodent activity on their property.

Since my intention is to continue my residency here I hope for a restored community.


Maria Prezio

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“Just some ideas”

I remember years ago there was a small brick building in the Paul Revere Mall, known also as the Prado, where tourists and residents could go to the bathroom and it had, as I recall, 6 stalls with a few sinks for hand washing. Right outside the building was a drinking fountain. It was not really clean, as I recall but it worked as a public place. It was nice looking. Is the building still there? The City of Boston maybe could scout for spaces in various playgrounds. Families with children could use them during the day and adults who have to go can use them at night. Keep them open late and restaurants should pay to police detail the North End. It might not be as expensive as you think. It would certainly be more attractive than a portable bathroom!! Maybe the locations can be posted here and there. Jobs can be created for people and policing and cleaning these buildings wouldn’t be a bad idea either. These are “real” concerns for people who live in the North End.

As a former North Ender, I encourage the concerned citizens!


Julie Ischia

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As a life long resident of the North End of Boston, this letter is a must to write because of the life changing activities/actions in the North End neighborhood.

Growing up in the North End, there were many groups of people hanging on corners, in local clubs, bars both day and night and never did you hear that they were disturbing the neighborhood. Let alone all those who actually lived in the buildings in the North End.

Today, it’s a different story. Students and young professionals (NOT ALL) move in, party mostly on weekends to the point that they are so loud and drunk they don’t even realize that they are disturbing the neighbors. Also, many people both old and young venture into the North End and think nothing of calling out “Anthony”, talking loud, and screaming on the top of their lungs for no reason whatsoever especially during the late evenings and early mornings. Also, some of them feel that this neighborhood is nothing but one big toilet bowel, urinating and vomiting in the streets and in neighbors’ doorways.

The bottom line is these inconsiderate human beings have absolutely NO RESPECT for the?people or neighborhood. I don’t know how they were brought up by their parents. Absentee landlords play a very important role in the changing of the neighborhood. As long as they get their rents, they don’t monitor their tenants actions activities leaving those of us who live here to act as babysitters. These inconsiderate humans are destroying slowly but surely a beautiful neighborhood unless drastic measures are taken to bring back the old neighborhood of peace and quiet.

The Boston Police Department, under the leadership of Captain Thomas Lee of Area A-1, have been listening to our cries for help during monthly meetings and have stepped up to the plate in trying to bring peace and quiet back into this neighborhood.

I won’t even go into how they trash the neighborhood with their household garbage, that’s a whole different story.

Thank you for taking time to read this letter.


Michele Tirella
(Original North Ender)

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I would like to express to you my concern for this neighborhood.

I was born, raised and continue to reside in the North End and now own a business here as well. This community has changed immensely from 1960-2012, and albeit as with everything, time does change things, for better or worse.

Although this community has grown over the years with more restaurants and businesses and better housing it has also brought with it an influx of young professionals and students who have little respect for what this community represents.

Loud parties, trash thrown out at inappropriate times and drunkenness throughout the streets has brought this once fine community to its knees.

Our parents and grandparents as well as my own generation have striven to maintain the integrity of this neighborhood . I am expressing my disdain for the fact that, although newcomers and transients add to the commerce, they are not equally committed to respecting or nurturing the community or its residents who have worked so hard to preserve its appeal.

Thank You.

Robyn DellOrfano

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I’m writing you this letter on behalf of all my friends who still live in the North End. I grew up in the North End in the building that my family owned it was a wonderful place to live everyone helped each other and it was a very safe place.

I know things change over the years but we all hope for the best. What I see happening there now is not for the best and that’s too bad.

People have to understand who are moving in now have to realize that they should respect the people who made the North End what it is today. It is a place where you can go and feel like your welcome all the time. Some of the people who are moving in now are abusing everything that my parents and grandparents who worked so hard to make it a great place to live.

It is now my generation who are trying to maintain that safe place to live. It’s too bad that people don’t realize that. I’m not saying not to have parties in your apartment but don’t forget there are other people who live right next door. It’s not like living in your own home in the suburbs, have some consideration for your neighbor. It’s still not to late for everyone to get along. These people really have to understand what the word CONSIDERATION means.

Thank you.


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See more posts about the noise issues in the North End.

Please feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments section below. Please abide by our comments policy and avoid harsh personal attacks. Real name commenters receive more leeway in having their comments posted.


11 Replies to “Letters From Longtime North End Residents Lament Noise and Quality of Life Problems

  1. What a powerful group of letters. Thank you to those for writing them on behalf of this family. I welcome the new folks, just wish they would take a moment to appreciate what they have by living here.

  2. You will see why I choose to sign my letter Ann Onymous.

    Many complain about student or Yuppie or tourist disrespect of the North End. But how about disrespect shown by some of our leading business people and property owners?

    There’s the restaurant owner who regularly parks his advertising car on the Cross St. sidewalk in front of his place, right on the Freedom Trail. Making a delivery? Yeah, sure. Slowest delivery in town.

    Or another who gets a permit for summer outdoor patio seating and it eventually becomes closed in, year-round dining.

    Or restaurant owners who crowd sidewalks with tables and reservation desks, in far greater number than permits allow. That is, if they do have permits.

    Or all those advertising and menu and valet parking signs cluttering sidewalks in front of stores or restaurants? How many have permits?

    Or the business people who park their Vespas and mopeds and bikes on the sidewalk. Now that’s real respect for pedestrians.

    Or the Valet parkers who park on sidewalks of side streets, or double park.

    Or property owners who build decks or extensions, despite ruining neighbors views or peace and quiet.

    And there’s not one dog owner in all the North End who leaves his or her dog’s poop behind. All the dog droppings on sidewalks must be from out of town owners.

    And why haven’t business and restaurant owners used their clout and City Hall connections to get some rest rooms for tourists in the North End? They share the shame, with the Mayor and his staff, for disrespect of visitors. (In this regard, the Old North Church is to be commended for its rest room for the public.)

    Respect, like charity, begins at home.

    Ann Onymous

    1. Ann woke up on the wrong side of the cannolli, huh?

      Completely off topic anti-business rant sort of insulting to those who wrote the letters. Most of the restaurant and business owners care about the North End as do most of the dog owners.

      Life must be tough on your pedestal.

      1. I want to take the time out to thank every present and
        former resident of the No. End for all their letters, and
        Ann you are entitled to your opinion and anyone
        that doesn’t like what you say, blow them off like a
        dirty sock.

        The City & State Officials and our Boston Police Dept. and Absentee Lanlords
        have to let all these people, whether they are residents
        or people just passing thru our Neighborhood know that they cannot disrupt our quality of sleep & life due to
        their drunkeness.

        The Trash Ordinance has not been affective, the same
        Absentee Landlords are still in Violation and if this
        Noise Ordinance is anything like the Trash Ordinance,
        we will be wasting alot of time, and money.

        People only get away with what you allow them to get
        away with. You have to hit these violators, whether
        they are residents or visitors in the Pocket, and you
        will see the difference. The insanity that takes place
        in the North End could never take place outside of
        the Mayor’s house or in his neighborhood, therefore,
        why should we have to deal with it. Don’t let anyone
        tell you something different, there is a solution to
        every problem we have in the No. End, and it just has
        not been addressed properly.

    2. I think this rant must be for another thread…what does this have to do w/ the noise and trash in the North End?

  3. I’d like to remind some of the New-comers, and or New-Owners~~~ into OUR Beautiful North End ~~~~~Did you EVER hear the Saying~~ “When in Rome” ???? We didn’t make this up !!!!!!
    There ARE ~~UN -WRITTEN RULES !!!!!
    We could live in harmony~~~but we ALL Have To Co-operate !!!!!!! Life is TOO SHORT to be fighting~~~Please Stop all of this~~~~AND For all of you who are new ~~~~ WE ARE RELENTLESS !!!! So, Shape up or Ship out !!!!!!! Thank You !!

  4. These are thoughtful letters, but I can’t help but wonder why you are not mad at your neighbors (and relatives) for selling out for millions and then allowing sky high student rentals. Isn’t it your generation that brought this upon yourselves? As with most things, it’s all about money. Renters dont’ care. Help people own these properties to live in them. Onwers are quiet and put out flower boxes, renters are loud and trashy

    1. The people who sold their properties years ago thought
      they were going to greener pastures, and wanted more
      of a country life and were tired of living in the city, and
      I want to remind you the No. End was considered a
      Slum when they sold out, and it wasn’t for millions, only
      thousands. The newcomers who bought, fixed up their
      properties and improved the looks of these disgusting
      buildings and rented to somewhat respectable people.
      On the other hand, there are plenty of properties that
      the City has allowed the landlords to rent out to students
      you wouldn’t want your dog to live in. The students don’t
      care about the quality of the bldg. or apt. because this is
      only a pit stop for them to walk to school and ruin our
      quality of life on weekends. The City is now suppose
      to step up to the plate and ISD is suppose to checkout
      these apts., some of which are illegal, and if these landlords
      are fined & forced to improve these properties, we may
      go back to having families move in the area, who want
      to bring up their families and enjoy and respect our
      present neighbors. Most of the absentee Landlords and
      some No. End landlords are looking to get the most
      for their money without making necessary improvements
      to their properties and this is why students can afford to
      rent down here. There are alot of Slumlords in the No.
      End and it is up to the City to correct this situation.
      These apts. are being rented out like boarding houses,
      they rent out rooms to students who don’t even know
      who they are sharing apts. with. This is not legal.
      ISD will have a field day when they start investigating
      these slumlords, and hopefully we can expose the
      slumlords in the newspapers and forced them to improve
      property conditions & let respectable people move in.

  5. When I first moved up to New England fresh out of college 8 years ago, I picked an apartment in the North End because I just fell in love with the neighborhood the first time I visited (being half Italian it felt like home), and at this point I have no interest in moving away. I have always tried to live very respectfully and have had no problems with my neighbors, and over the last few years I’ve seen these issues getting worse and worse. Those who think it’s just old people complaining about the young are wrong…it really has gotten very bad. It’s fine to go down to Faneuil Hall and get smashed at the bars, but that said there is NO REASON to be screaming your conversation in the middle of the street at 4 am in a neighborhood with no sound absorbing surfaces anywhere. Also, I am a dog owner and can’t understand anyone leaving the bag of dog poop on the street. Just freaking carry it to the nearest trash can. Trust me folks, as a young person living here for most of the last decade I can verify that these problems are real, and have been getting worse.

    1. Well said, BL. I am an older person who has the greatest group of young girls in our building. I call them kids, but they are truly adults, very mature. They tell me they hate the noise and trash as much as I do. I think a lot has to do with who landlords will rent to these days.

  6. To address anyone who feels the former north end home owners sold out for big money One-the North End was considered a Slum. Two-under the restraints of Rent Control if there was an unexpected repair needed to maintain the property and a sizable loan had to be made to cover the cost of repair the landlord was required to submit to rent control a request to raise the rent. Being a renter at the time the amount of raise allowed did not cover a fraction of the cost of repairs. I think you get the picture.

    As for the present problem of noise, garbage, dogs, etc. Many residents I have met have an entitlement issue and have no comprehension on what respect means,nor are they interested.With this in mind there is no option left for the North End residents bothered by these issues than to call City Hall to address the garbage and the police to address the wild parties and noise. If you check Craig list one such party rental on the corner of Noyes Place and Salem Street has listed a request for a fourth roommate with the promise of parties and illegal roof access. I think this listing speaks for itself.

    As for the Dog owners while I respect the RUFF organization who is trying to make a difference,on a recent rain storm most of the dog owners using the park did not pick up after their pets. Wait for the cold weather and snow. I do not look at the old north end through rose colored glasses, but we did not have dog poop all over our sidewalks and parks, and we did respect each others space in this congested neighborhood.

    Crime was low because many extended family members had the luxury of being able to stay home. Today most of the building are empty of people during the day, and on holidays when residents go home the North End is not home. The problems of this adult community must be addressed and rectified.

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