My long time friend and North End condo owner, Matt Ackley, never gets mad. In fact, when piles of trash are left outside of his condo on non-trash collection days, I get madder than Matt. No, Matt simply picks up the disgusting remnants of disrespectful neighbors and places it to the side.
So when I received a text message from Matt that said: “I have an agenda topic for your neighborhood council meeting. I couldn’t even get down Salem Street on my way home from work because a ‘fake monk’ wouldn’t stop harassing me! Get them the hell out of here,” I knew this was going to be a serious issue for many residents.
The North End Waterfront wrote this article highlighting the deceptive techniques fake monks deploy to take money from the unsuspecting.
While a nuisance, the fake monks are not technically breaking the law. At the North End Public Safety meeting this month, I asked officers if police could take action. Officers can only act if there is a verbal/ physical confrontation or if the fake monks are blocking traffic. No incidents like this have been reported.
Last Summer, Faneuil Hall used 21×28 sized posters featuring photos of the fake monks with warnings to not give money. The campaign was extremely effective; tourists knew that they were being propositioned by scam artists and didn’t contribute.
This summer, the fake monks have moved further north to Christopher Columbus Park, Hanover Street, and Salem Street.
In an effort to protect the authenticity and peace of this neighborhood, the North End/Waterfront Neighborhood Council will replicate the Faneuil Hall campaign.
This Wednesday, council members will work with restaurant and business owners to place 50 posters in high tourist locations.
North End residents can contribute to the campaign by stopping the transaction between tourists and the fake monks. We encourage you to kindly and peacefully say to tourists, “These are fake monks. They are scam artists, and our neighborhood is working hard to drive them out. Please consider not giving them money so we can preserve the peace in our neighborhood.” If the tourist declines your request or is rude, simply walk away. You tried to help and did your part; thank you!
Our ultimate goal is to peacefully expose the fake monks as scammers. Once tourists know that the monks are fake and contributing is frowned upon, the monks will be forced to find money elsewhere; hopefully through legitimate jobs.
The North End/Waterfront Neighborhood Council is dedicated to the betterment of the neighborhood and its residents. We will continue to tackle an array of issues that disrupt the beauty, safety, and history of this neighborhood.
Follow us on Facebook and message us with your questions, comments, and concerns. You can also email President of the Council, John Pregmon at firstname.lastname@example.org with topics you would like the Council to tackle.
Special thanks to Faneuil Hall for being helpful and designing the posters. Thanks to Phil Orlandella of the North End Regional Review for printing the posters.
Tania Green is a North End resident and member of the North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council (NEWNC).