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Boston Police and State Troopers put on a massive show of force on Friday night as droves of teenagers gathered in the North End on Commercial Street.

Police presence was high at the St. Agrippina’s Feast on Hanover Street, a draw for the crowd, where an Aerosmith cover band performed. As the situation developed, police eventually stopped the music and closed the feast.

At one point, about 50 police and troopers formed a human wall and walked along Commercial Street between Causeway St. and the ball fields, toward Battery Street.

Police separated the crowds before the situation could escalate when the J. Cole hip-hop / rap concert at TD Garden let out. The Commercial Street areas around the skating rink, ball fields, wharves and Columbus park have long been gathering places for teen crowds on feast / summer weekends.

A State Police helicopter was brought in and flew low over the crowds as dozens of police cars patrolled for several hours as the scene developed between 9pm and midnight on Friday.

Reports of underage drinking and fights were posted on social media and we will follow up with police reports, if confirmed.

A neighbor on Commercial Street filmed the police response and effort to disperse the crowd, shown in the video above. If you have additional pictures or video, send to info@northendwaterfront.com.

Paul K. shares these photos of the teens and police around Langone Park:

More video of Copp’s Hill Terrace and Langone Park on Commercial Street by Paul K. and street yelling video by Jenna J.


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65 COMMENTS

  1. The fact is the teens were also out of control last year during the feasts. While the feasts may not be directly responsible, it is fair to say the teens would likely not be here if the feasts were not happening (evidence: every weekend when there are no feasts.) That said, the feasts should have to pay for additional police details to be stationed in the parks and walking all the streets of the neighborhood. This may be unfortunate, but it is the reality of the current situation.

    • The feasts pay for police detail in the location(s) that are provided to them by the City of Boston(permits). They do not control anything outside of the area or promote/market outside of their permit.

      The truth of the matter Mr/Mrs Truth, is that if there was concern this rap concert was going to spill over onto our streets- the garden and the Boston Police should have worked together to shut down access right at the point(Causway St) and directed crowds toward the MBTA and away from Commercial St. It was poor planning and a late panic(having to bring in Trooper backup) to handle this situation.

      The Feasts are not to blame. We are a proud family friendly organization that keeps tradition going in the greatest neighborhood in the Country. We aren’t going anywhere.
      Viva
      Also Truth- I understand you aren’t attacking The North End Festivals – you are providing a solution to resolve these issues- I think instead of putting blame/more responsibilty on a family friendly weekend festival /the city of Boston should provide more officers throughout this neighborhood in the future – ESPECIALLY -if the Garden is having a rap concert!

      Also I will provide my real name as I am a proud member of Saint Agrippina and importantly a proud member of the North End Community

    • Police fire and ambulance details are all paid for by the society running the feast. We can’t help it if Ignorant little teenagers decide to come to the Northend during our festival and do what they did last night. If you aren’t involved in any festival society and know the amount of months and days that go into planning these feasts then I suggest you keep your thoughts to yourself “truth”. We are doing our best to keep the feasts as fun and as secure as possible, but instead of coming on social media and writing about it, why don’t you come down and tell us to our faces what you think about the feasts. There’s plenty of us that would love to have this conversation with you.

    • the feasts have gone on for years with no problem. why should people in the north end have to forfeit their traditions because kids from the suburb think they have the right to do what they want. i still wish they could use water hoses with red dye so these little jerks would have to go home and explain what happened to their parents. wish someone could take as many random photos as possible and post them on facebook and see if at least some of them could be identified and their parents conted

    • The attack on “Truth’s” post wasn’t surprising. I am a forty year resident of the North End/Waterfront and have seen how much the feasts have grown and changed; the change not for the better. I am disappointed that Truth was attacked in such an unneighborly manner. Comments such as “feast wasn’t to blame”, “think you’re going to change things”, don’t like it move out,
      Viva stated that “there’s plenty of us that would love to have this conversation with you”; however, the people that are involved in the feasts have an unwavering position regarding the feasts that isn’t conducive to a meaningful conversation.
      Clearly the point was made that this is a problem that has been worsening year after year. This is clear when you read the posts Truth posted. Basically, it’s worst during a feast, but there are also problems with teenage groups drinking, vandalizing and noise when there is no concert or feast. I think if people whom represent the Feasts were more open to ideas less defensive and rude it would help dealing with this problem immensely.
      Kudos to our city and state policy for doing such a great job. Many thanks!

  2. My goodness, we are quick to kill the messenger(s) here. Easy targets, but they not the offenders or the source of the problem. Maybe we could instead help advise a few hundred parents on the important conversation they should be having with their kids this morning.

    • Truth you’re just one of those people that simply don’t want the feasts happening. You moved into the north end and you think you’re going to change things . Well that’s not going to happen. Our feasts are absolutely not the problem here . They have been going on for years and years and will continue to go on for many more years to come . You don’t like it? Move out . Simple . Enjoy your day TRUTH!!

  3. Let us make this( Clear) North End teens were not the cause of this disturbance ,I’ve have seen on many occasions when something negative arises in the area it’s the North End but if they construct a beautiful building or artwork it is known as The Waterfront in mainstream newspapers.

  4. Oh how this 1960s “revolutionary” has aged. Based on the video, my first reaction: Law enforcement did an admirable job deescalating what could have have been a very nasty situation. A measured response indeed. But cops aren’t parents – who would have gotten the message if 40 kids were held overnight for “disturbing the peace.” Now there’s a description that would leave the town crier of yesteryear incredulous.

  5. I agree with Ann. The feasts have been a part of the North End community for many years and should remain so. I occasionally walk over from South Boston to enjoy the feasts and I did so as a teenager. However, I did not drink or become unruly; I actually enjoyed the Italian food and music. When these kids act up, they should be hauled down to the station and their parents called to come and get them. One night in jail for a youngster and/or inconveniencing a parent usually does the trick.

  6. Last night was a perfect storm of events- great weather, a feast and a concert at the Garden, all of which attracted hundreds of teens to our neighborhood. They were traveling in large groups and many of them were carrying backpacks that I’m sure were loaded with alcohol. I watched them as they paraded up and down my street, eyes gazed on the GPS on their phones trying to figure out where to go. By 8:45, I had called 911 to ensure that there was police presence and that they would send patrol cars. They were there within 5 minutes.
    The increased use of social media has fueled this flame. This will continue tonight as well as for the next 3 feasts as long as these teens know they can come to the North End without consequence. Boston Police need to have a stronger presence during feasts weekends in order for this to stop. My hope is that after last night, the BPD will be proactive instead of reactive. Then maybe the teens will use Twitter and Instagram to send the message to “stay out, too may police.”

    • JP, I agree that we can expect the “perfect storm” scenario every weekend.I hope that the show of force by the BPD & State Police isn’t going to be a one & done effort. They did a great job & defused what could have turned into a very dangerous situation, & your right they must be proactive.

    • Instead of moving the unruly mobs to the T stations, move them down to the baseball field and basketball courts. Place them inside the fenced in area and have a detail calling parents and guardians. No release until they are picked up by the responsible people. Then prior to releasing them at midnight, have them sit–stand–kneel together while the riot act is read / explained to them that should there be another episode the full extent of the laws will reign down upon them. I personally cleaned up the mess they made last year at the Bocce courts, they defecated on the court, they broke the huge pane of glass covering the map of the city outside the (always non operational) public toilet trash laid about that filled two large barrels that myself and other early bocce player arrivals cleaned up. I drive down from central NH every Sunday morning to be with my new friends from the Nordend to play a round of bocce. It breaks my old heart o see the destruction those mobs cause.

  7. Kudos and a big ‘Thank you’ to the Boston Police Department. You conducted yourselves in a respectable, professional manner last night. I felt very safe with your presence.

  8. Saint Agrippina’s Feast was a victim of the concert kids antics. Concert attendees should have been directed to the T and other points of debarkation after the concert, by police. Any thought that the Feast was a draw for that crowd is simply wrong. Bad human traffic management and worse parenting caused the situation.

  9. The idea that this was related to the concert at TD Garden just doesn’t match the reality of what happened. That concert began at 8 PM. To cite just one incident, at just after 9 PM 100-200 teenagers and young adults were in Copps Hill Terrace drinking, and several fights broke out. Those folks pretty clearly weren’t here for the show. As well, TD Garden prohibits backpacks (and actually/annoyingly enforces this, unlike other venues). Anyone with a backpack full of beer definitely didn’t wasn’t coming from TD Garden.

    Further, there were large groups on Thursday evening as well, when no event occurred at TD Garden at all. The same was true of many feast weekends last summer. The feasts aren’t directly to blame for this, of course! However, it seems fairly obvious that they are a draw for these massive groups of teenagers and young adults. Denying that reality is only going to lead to more and worse problems. Attacking the problem head-on instead seems like the best way to prevent problems and keep the feasts alive and well. Increasing the police presence during the feasts seems like the bare minimum that should be done to prevent incidents. Last night’s police actions were at least a good start.

    • Paul. Do you mean Slye Park? I live across the street and heard and saw nothing last night. That area has quieted down since young families have bought homes along Jackson Ave over the past years. Someone would have called 911…there were no police cars coming around. Did you see the group and the fights? Honestly, I do have a close up of anything that takes place there — I would have called 911.

      • But during the concert there were tons of kids, and just as much on Saturday, and on Sunday they were there even at 10 pm screaming, peeing, and drinking in public. I had to call the cops on them again. I find it hard to believe that it was from the concert. All of these kids were young and seemed like they were in high school. A concert would have a wider rang of kids. They used the festival as something to say they were going to to their parents but just wanted somewhere to drink and party. Its not from the concert if they were here all weekend. Everything Paul said is accurate and correct. Guess you must not have a great view because I can look out my window into the park and saw kids out there drinking.

    • Paul K comment concisely lays out what happened Friday night, has happened in the past and will continue to happen until there is a good faith dialogue as to what the remedies and solutions are. This had absolutely nothing to do with a RAP concert, and I frankly feel that it being a Rap concert, instead of stating that it was simply a concert, is code for bigoted attitudes and not helpful at all in dealing with the situation/problem.

        • It could be anything concert that draws a young crowd. Not just rap. The larger point is these problems have happened when there isn’t a concert at the TD Garden

      • thank you Chloe! you have an opinion that is accurate and makes sense without having to attack other people. thank again for being level headed and the true voice we should listen to.

  10. Maybe they ought to sell tickets to enter the North End?! Then see how many loiterers we’ll have? If you’re not going for any feasts, restaurants or any personal business or pleasure but just to “Hang Out” then go up the Commons there are plenty of seats and not a lot of homes that will be disturbed! This is ridiculous! And the feasts should NOT have to pay police for extra protection! Last I heard our taxes pay for them! Kids don’t have a place to hang out these days nor do they have interests in doing “ANYTHING” it seems! No hobbies, sports etc! No social clubs or any places to go that doesn’t involve drinking! When we gathered in groups we never caused a scene or had the police called on us! What’s the difference these days?

  11. This problem has been going on for years and has been ignored by the BPD ! I was told at a meeting by the captain that officers do not have the time to waste writing up reports and holding these kids!!

  12. Street festivals are becoming a headache for the police department.
    I noticed that the Puerto Rican festival last week was held on City Hall Plaza, not in the neighborhood. This was done on purpose because it’s easier for the police to control access to the plaza. The concern is not only hooliganism but terrorism.
    I would hate seeing our North End festivals moved out of the neighborhood. We need a more robust police presence in the North End especially when there are events at the Garden. The Jacobs brothers should be paying for all the details, they can certainly afford it.
    The police did a great job, they literally put their lives on the line. Crowds that size can easily get out of control.

  13. The North End Feast have not changed, people have change. The generation has changed, where it’s a chance to reek havoc where ever they go and then film it. There is no respect anymore for anything and that’s not going to come back as the generations keep changing. Those so call festivals in other parts of the city, are a traditional haven for violence, shootings etc. They can’t control the gangs. And they had their problems at city hall too. It was not clear and free of any issues and the money they had to spend, because they needed a very LARGE police presence. Last night was a combination of poor planning and they seem to be surprised that the Garden was having a concert that brings in large crowds and not prepared. The feast can have thousands attend and have very few issues, a drunk here and there. The college crowd that moves in, in late August does not help either. The societies are focus on their feast, their Saint. That’s there enjoyment, pride and tradition. They more or less can’t control shitheads coming into the North End, like the good old days. Also should be noted, that this is the first feast of the season with outside stands, the previous feast just had procession and there were large young crowds at Christopher Columbus park in large numbers drinking and making a mess of the whole place and had nothing what so ever to do with the Italian feasts. This is a previous story that was highlighted on this page. So the problems on the water front in the North End is an issue in general and has no bearing if a feast is present and neither does the constant issues at Copps Hill Terrace . They need to send a message, that the waterfront is not a barroom or hangout for such behavior. And Thanks to the State, MBTA and Boston Police for giving them the message, at least for one night.

    • Oh but you are so wrong Michael the feasts have changed they became more commercial and some of the stands leave something to be desired. Growing up and living in the North End for many many years the feasts have gotten worse not enjoyable at all. We never have this BS when I was growing up.

      • I have to agree with NEL. Forty years ago when I moved to the North End the feasts were smaller, truly family oriented. I have fond memories in particular of many elderly attending and thoroughly enjoying themselves. It made me feel wonderful seeing so many generations enjoying themselves together. Sadly, I haven’t seen this in a very long time. Now they are loud, inclusive and commercialized. I also note that over the years I have heard really nasty comments such as “if you don’t like it move out”. What’s ironic here is that the majority of people who are members or affiliated with the various clubs do not live in the North End.

    • the college kids have nothing to do with this. The kids in those parks were young and in high school. They are most definitely not from the north end. they use the festival as something to tell their parents. they say they are going to the festival but really go to the park and get drunk and rowdy. the college kids come here because they love the culture. they are at the festivals enjoying it, not drinking in a park.

  14. Saturday night hordes of kids on Commercial Street. Their new hangout seems to be at the back of the Sargent’s Wharf lot, very well hidden, where they can’t be seen from the street. Noticed them when we went to park our car.

  15. While it is very sad to say. The feasts are not the same. I give a lot of credit to the society’s and neighborhood people to keep the tradition going. Power to the few original Northend families left who keep it going. And whoever doesn’t like it. Deal with it for four weekends a year.

  16. If you want to see crowds disperse fast bring in the Dogs. The State Police are in charge of the Seaport Area &
    I think it would be a great idea to have them in the No. End. The BPD doesn’t want to do the paperwork,
    that only tells me one thing, time for replacement. If all the feasts were contained down the No. End Park
    maybe, just maybe, we would have less problems. This is only a suggestion because each year things are
    not getting better, they are getting worse. I am sure all the Organizations would not be in favor of this, but
    I think it should be an issue all No. End residents should vote on. like we voted on Hanover St. being
    closed down, which I will never be in favor of. People only get away with what you allow them to get
    away with. Kudos to the State Police.

    • The idea of dogs stopped me in my tracks thinking of the 60’s civil rights movement, however, I whole heartedly agree with having all the feast in the area between the pool and the ice rink. I think it would be much easier to monitor and police. Also, the noise problem would be mitigated as well as other safety concerns such as fire. If there was a fire in the middle of North St. during the Fisherman’s Feast there is no way the fire department could access the fire. Along time ago I talked with our fire department and asked them what they would do, how could they get to the fire; their response: “we couldn’t”. That is chilling.

      • Chloe, please don’t miss understand what I said about bringing the Dogs into the
        situtation. In the 1960 era those poor people were defending their rights & it was
        a horror show to bring in the dogs. These kids are not defending their rights, they
        are causing Chaos in the Neighborhood, very big DIFFERENCE. I think Dogs
        make the Police’s Job a lot easier because it is Frightening to see these Dogs in Action.
        State Troopers use Dogs at Logan Airport and I have seen BPD use Dogs, but not as
        often as State Troopers. I hope I clarified this for you.

        • Joan of Arc, I appreciated your post and agree with everything you said. This is a very serious problem and action needs to be taken! I do go to the Seaport area often and the police presence there is incredible. Whereas in the North End I very rarely see uniform
          police. In fact the only one I have ever seen is occasionally parked just past the Goose nabbing people who don’t stop at the intersection of Lewis & Commercial, which is a good thing.

  17. The feasts are great for the neighborhood. Preserves tradition, stimulates the economy, they are exiting for most ages, and keeps this neighborhood a little bit different from the rest of Boston.

    We should use this situation as a positive. As a learning experience to avoid the same problem in the future. More police presence in these troubled areas Is a good starting point.

  18. I’ve been a teenager. As long as the waterfront remains dark and without patrol in the evenings, the kids are going to come to the North End to party in the summer. However, I see no harm in moving the the static physical presence of the feasts i.e. food carts, games, etc., down to the waterfront for all of the feasts.

    The societies will still have their clubs and will still process through the streets, chant, play music, and raise money. Why must they continue to be held in a residential area when there is so much open space? In fact, wouldn’t putting the feasts down on Puopolo Field will have a dual benefit of discouraging the throngs of kids from trashing the waterfront?

    Clearly, the kids are partying down there and moving from Puopolo, Copp’s Hill, The Gassy, Sargent’s Wharf, etc., and through the neighborhood when detected. If the city used those perfectly hidden open spaces with the food and game stalls, the kids wouldn’t feel comfortable to gather in such large numbers to party.

    At the end of the day, it’s about respect for people’s homes. I believe this should include considering relocating the food stalls to the waterfront and away from people’s homes.

    • Let the feasts be. They’re part of what makes the North End what it is. We can’t let a few high school kids (doing what many of us have done) highjack something that’s rooted in the fabric and history of our neighborhood. The problem has been identified, now we simply address it. The response last weekend was the right approach, now we just stick with it to set the bar.

    • I think Y’ves suggestion is a good one. It solves the problem of so many young people gathering in the areas he pointed out. I think it’s been established that “smart phones” enable huge groups of people to hook-up. We live in such a different world and things will never be as they were prior to 9-11. We have to adjust to these realities and changes..
      The safety concerns are real and need to be addressed. As I have stated previously if there was a fire on North St., Fleet St., etc.
      the fire Captain himself told me they just couldn’t get to the fire. This is incredibly dangerous. I know of a roof deck that caught fire on North St. from firecrackers during a Feast, but fortunately, people were home and on the deck and were able to put it out themselves. What if they weren’t home? So yes I agree with Y’ves it is about respect for people’s homes & property. The feasts have gotten too big to be held in a residential area. There are just too many safety concerns.

  19. Hi,

    District A-1 Boston Police Captain Fong will be appearing at this month’s North End Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA) Meeting, which takes place this Thursday, August 10, at 7:00pm, at the Nazzaro Center.

    I hope you attend and voice your public safety concerns (police presence during the Feasts, neighborhood crime, etc.).

    Thank you.

    -David Marx-

    (Host of the monthly North End Public Safety Meetings with District A-1 Boston Police.)

  20. Since the flights has been closed the waterfront is really the only open space for large gatherings of kids.It does not take much. A strong police presence during the beginning of the feasts go a long way. A few arrest back there in early august will cut those crowds down the field mightily. For example, after Friday nights strong police showing, Saturday night was relatively quiet.

  21. The disturbance in the north end on feast nights aren’t caused by the north end teens, it is most definitely caused by out-of-towners. The disrespect these kids have for the north end is out of control. The north end kids are on high alert because they are scared that they might get arrested for someone elses doing. There have been multiple fights already and this was only the first feast.

  22. Mike Well Said…. As for the societies, they pay for police details, sometimes a very high rate…It is unfair to blame the “Feasts” which have been happening for well over 100 years, for these disrespectful group of entitled suburban youth that cause havoc on our streets. I am sure the parents of these urchins wouldn’t believe you, when you tell them “their” Johnny or “their” Susie, were drunk, high and disorderly in Boston… I am pretty sure the organizers of other festivals in other parts of the city or even on city hall plaza are not subjected to the fees charged to the North End Societies during their religious and cultural festivals.

  23. This is refreshing that the situation isn’t being ignored. Taking it by the the steps, we’ll eventually learn what works and doesn’t woork. But this change, we’ll see how effective.

  24. If some of the old timers were still around none of this would be happening,,, maybe some good old time policing is needed by none police guys ! Once some of the punks are made examples of where it’s Then they may think twice about starting trouble,,, since the parents can’t control their little angels maybe we have too !

  25. Brooklyn Dom, You are so right & those that were not around in those days would disagree, but those of us
    that were around never felt so Safe.

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