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South Boston councilor says it might be time to move the parade somewhere else, rather than letting drunken out-of-town hellraisers destroy the neighborhood every March

City Councilor and son of South Boston Ed Flynn writes unless the city and police can figure out a way to keep out-of-town hellions from wreaking havoc and to make them treat South Boston "with respect," he thinks it could be time to move the St. Patrick's parade somewhere else.

We must make major changes and implement a zero tolerance for public drinking, any form of violence, fighting and destruction of property and other quality of life issues. If we are not able to meet basic standards of decency and respect the South Boston neighborhood, the parade should be moved out of South Boston indefinitely. With almost a million visitors to South Boston for the parade, we can’t sustain an “anything goes” attitude in the neighborhood. This is a neighborhood, and many of the spectators that come to the parade do not treat residents of South Boston with respect.

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Comments

Fail to plan. The MBTA knew that Broadway station is the epicenter for getting parade goers to and from the parade and encouraged riders to use Broadway station. Because of a bad security and safety plan the station had to be closed during the parade. I hope they get their act together for the Boston Marathon.

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Broadway is always closed during the parade. Riders are told to use Andrew and South Station

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I have attended the parade for years and always got off at Broadway station. The T sometimes had to bypass the station do to the large crowds but the Transit Police were there in numbers keeping the station open and safe. Check out the T website and you will read that Broadway station will be open for the parade.

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How about Franklin Park. It's being destroyed anyway

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There was literally no need for that

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Perhaps he's referring to the guys with crooked sticks wearing checkered pants who take over most of the place every summer.

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Hit-and-run shit-stirring asshole, sitting in mom's basement popping his pimples, eating hot pockets and chortling about how he's owning the libs. Never changes.

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It really has become an event for out of town teenagers carrying the borg jugs.

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Make Tom Koch the Grand Marshal.

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What an idiot... its the best day of the year and I live on the route and have small children... the damage done is peanuts to the enjoyment of the parade every march and the fact remains that this is a long standing tradition that should never be moved from South Boston!

What an idiot... Cant wait for all these old timers to sell off their properties and move out of here already....

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and should be reported to the DCF if you believe there’s no harm in your kids watching these clowns break every law on the books.
And I really do live in the parade route and my neighbors agree with the Councilor.
It’s not the parade, it’s the bullshit around the parade.

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I guess you haven’t had to deal with the expense of property damage from people who come in from out of town and make the neighborhood their toilet. This year was out of control. 20 somethings that were stopped by the police would just plain ignore them. I saw at least two fist fights on my block. The streets looked like the apocalypse had hit afterwards. And the city only takes responsibility for the damage done to the streets/ sidewalk, not to the ones done to private property. There were no repercussions as the police department was so overwhelmed that there was no possible way to stop people. I felt bad for people who brought their kids (and a parade should be a family friendly event).

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I mean, obviously she's to blame here.

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Aren't we, as a society, past caring about what Ed has to say about anything?

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I'm sure you will have the sign in front of your house saying "Piss in My Yard"

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One of those signs with the first-person view of the handgun reading "I don't dial 911."

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My brother has a motion-sensitive sprinkler. Deer wander into the garden and it goes off.

Just put up a sign that says "it pees in the driveway and it gets the hose again".

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so he gets to talk about it and people should listen, even if they disagree with his proposed solution.

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Your continued open hatred (and agreeing to physical harm) of Irish American city councilors is like your existence, pathetic.

Go back to whatever rural town you grew up in and breed Labradoodles.

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Staging area on Blue Hill Parkway. Parade route down Eliot Street to Adams Street. Multiple rapid transit stops along the way.

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If this parade is for children then put it in the morning.

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I'll stay up all night to be sure I won't miss it and to get a good spot. Might also bring some stuff with me to help pass the time while I patiently wait for the festivities to begin. Might bring some friends too for the company.

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Is that happening now?

I think that local families will get up early and the out of townies will head to the bars.

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Honestly there should be profound disappointment and frustration regarding the South Boston officials' continued support for the St. Patrick's Day parade.

Imagine for a moment if this were any other group celebrating their cultural heritage in a similar manner. Would the same level of support and enthusiasm be extended by the South Boston officials? I would not be surprised if many of the goers are xenophobic nationalists the other 364 days of the year. Imagine if this were a group of Haitians or Arabs throwing the same parade. Would never fly.

By actively supporting and participating in such an event, the South Boston officials are sending a damaging message that certain cultural celebrations are more deserving of endorsement than others. We need to move past this outdated and stupid celebration.

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You mean like the Caribbean festival?

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Except for the knitting and petting cats festival where they serve saltines and unflavored seltzer. That one's totally ok.

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The South Boston Parade is sponsored by the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, and the funds are raised privately. It is a celebration in honor of veterans, service members and first responders. The history of Evacuation Day is an incredible story of heroic feats by many patriots in 1775-1776, including the taking of Fort Ticonderoga, the transportation of the cannons across New England in the dead of winter, and the raising of fortifications in a single night on Dorchester Heights, now part of South Boston. The British evacuated Boston on March 17, 1776, hence Evacuation Day, which is also Saint Patrick's Day. It was the first victory by George Washington in the Revolution. The parade also honors Irish American culture, especially the tradition of service to our great country. If that makes participants xenophobes in your view, then bend over and I'll teach you how a hurley stick may be used in some circumstances. While you're at it, are you also cancelling the always interesting Caribbean Festival, Greek Independence Day, Columbus Day, Lunar New Year, Puerto Rican Festival, or my heavens, the Gay Pride Parade?

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Does that one still happen?

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Doesn't this city have huge Carnival and J'ouvert parades every year? And Chinese New Year events, and many others? Maybe I'm thinking of a different Boston, Massachusetts.

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Pro tip; actually research the city before posting about what sorts of events and celebrations it does or does not have. Hint; Boston is over 300 years old. There are a lot of them!

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If BPD is overwhelmed ask for help from other agencies. Ask for the MA National Guard to help. City leaders have a bully pulpit available to discourage people from coming to Southie to be drunk and disorderly. And FWIW the "anything goes" attitude around St. Patrick's Day extends to most of the city.

Taking the parade away from the people in Southie who organize and participate is not the answer, either.

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Nobody else wants it. Literally nobody.

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It's not like the parade is some spontaneous mass movement - there's an entire group dedicated to putting it on. Shouldn't Flynn be starting by talking to them about potential options for increased security, changing the route, etc before jumping directly to "we need stricter laws"?

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He doesn't do talking about options, he does bullying, ignorance, and dominion-seeking.

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How exactly did this event get so big, and why? I'm old enough to remember in the 60s & 70s when it was a (basically) contained, local type event. What's the sudden big appeal to nearly a million blow ins?

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Because ... alcohol.

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To be an attention-whoring (expletive), for which there are no longer consequences.

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They seem to have long ago figured out how to manage large public revelry while explicitly allowing public drinking within a limited and demarcated area.

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Acting a fool in a Southern state gets you shot. Few are threatened by that in Massachusetts.

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New Orleans has had 33 murders so far this year.

Boston, a city nearly twice the size, has had two.

But, yeah, guns are good.

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Conflated my pragmatic snark with my actual stance on the issue.

I post the third verse from "Saturday Night Special" every time there's a mass shooting.

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here. I did not read that as snark, thought you were being serious.

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https://www.universalhub.com/comment/966323#comment-966323

Bringing a gun to a parade = bad
unless everyone has a gun, then it's good I guess? Or maybe the problem is just that someone brought a gun and didn't shoot anyone with it?

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To Ari O.

Pointing out the futility of gun control is not an endorsement of gun proliferation.

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I was there for a conference the night in 2010 when a last minute field goal put the Saints into the Superbowl.

The city erupted into a massive raucous midnight street party. Businesses reopened to sell "go" beers and toxic waste slurpees, trucks with bands and people with boom boxes roamed the French Quarter and Downtown area. Couple of drunk students threw purple and gold beads around my neck so I'd "look more party". Heavy drinking, WhoDat chanting, fried chicken vendors, brass bands on wheels, and even the odd bit of scarcely concealed fornicating took over the streets.

The city's response? Other than to turn the area streets into a maze with some barricades to keep people from driving at real speed and a few cops wandering about, there wasn't much response at all - just let 'er rip. Wandering through the rolling good time was of the most wonderfully surreal nights of my life.

I was up fairly early the next morning to get to the conference. Some people were still partying and drinking. People were sleeping where they dropped in some places. Businesses opening for the day put out "wet floor" pylons to spare passers-by the barf and waste puddles. There was a cleanup crew throwing stuff into a garbage truck, but a lot of the cleanup fell to the merchants with mops and hoses.

TL/DR: I think partying on a massive scale is just such a big part of the culture that there doesn't seem to be any planning involved at all - just response. There is no "in control". That would be very hard to translate to Boston.

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Even in younger cities like Austin it's far more accepted for people to be out partying. The big difference is that when someone does something stupid, no one blames the city. There's less expectation bars will kept their patrons from drinking themselves stupid.

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I live one house off the route on a side street that basically turns into a public bathroom. One one hand I feel bad because people have nowhere to go on the other the city has to provide sanitary facilities all over the neighborhood.

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People blame the parade as if it's the problem. It's not the problem. There are a lot of good people involved in planning and putting this event on. There are (still) many who look forward to viewing the parade.
Instead, the problem is the countless amount of people (mostly underage) who come here from somewhere else with no plan or destination simply to get blind drunk. The parking lots on West and East Broadway seem to be a big attraction for these crowds. Sadly, this year Medal of Honor Park was also one of those locations.
I disagree with Councilor Flynn on this. I understand why he said this but disagree anyway. The police seem to tolerate some pretty openly bad behavior. I don't know why this is, but I think if there was a more aggressive policy with the people who engage in antisocial behavior, there would be less of it.
The press reports of a dozen arrests kind of indicate that a blind eye on this behavior doesn't seem to be working.
South Boston has changed a great deal. There always was drinking on the day of the parade, but lately the behavior of people has changed too in a negative way. There were more bars along Broadway (and neighborhood wide) years ago then there are now. I don't think they're a big source of trouble. The police have seen to that with earlier closing hours and strict observance of keeping the bars at their legal capacity.
The same oversight should be applied to public drinking and those who engage in the bad behavior that goes along with it.
I doubt the parade is going to be leaving South Boston. That's my two cents worth.

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There were more bars along Broadway (and neighborhood wide) years ago then there are now. I don't think they're a big source of trouble.

Agreed. The bars aren't the source of the trouble because they're strongly incentivized to prevent their patrons from getting dangerously intoxicated and/or acting like animals. The flask of fireball that some 18 year old has under his coat isn't controlled by anything but said 18 year old's (probably nonexistent) judgment.

I don't think there is a solution short of fixing this country's attitude towards alcohol and getting drunk. Alcohol is legal; moreover, it's easy to make on your own. You'll never get that genie back in the bottle, insofar as it ever was, and you can't ever regulate and police it enough to make the problem go away. That's not to say we shouldn't regulate or police it at all -- making bars responsible to a degree for what their patrons do after they leave has saved lives. But the problem is that people want to consume alcohol, and I'm not talking about an occasional beer or glass of wine at dinner. I'm talking about people feeling like getting shitfaced is a good thing. Alcohol use, and particularly overconsumption, is seen in such a positive light. It's a rite of passage. It's an essential part of a good time. It's what you do to relax. It's what you've earned after a hard day. People have an emotional connection to it and they cling to it very strongly. They turn to it when they're feeling bad or want to feel good. I saw so much problem drinking during the early stages of covid, among people who I would have expected to know better. But emotional reactions short-circuit logic and rationality. I pulled the coats of a few of those people, and that worked. But on a larger scale, if we don't want people being drunken fools, we need to change the reasons why they choose to be drunken fools.

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who contribute next to nothing for the parade, but make a ton of money off those celebrating, has fought this idea before. Maybe start it on Summer Street and have it end in the Seaport.

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Wouldn't that be a sufficient containment area?

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The Out-of-Towners have been watching too many movies.

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How about the drunken condos-with-roof-deck owners who ruin the neighborhood with noise pollution and hell-raising every summer weekend?

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encircled by the parade route. I parked in a lawn chair out front all day (working -- I didn't and don't get Evacuation Day off) to deter revelers from using my property as a toilet.

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One person pissing in a corner is an obnoxious shithead.

Many people pissing in corners is an indication the city needs to rent a 100 portable toilets and put one or two on every block.

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Seems like the 4th of July, the Marathon, and the Pride Parade mostly avoid the drunken hooliganism, while the neighborhood-based celebrations (St. Patrick's Day, North End Feasts, Caribbean Carnival) see more than their share? Is it a matter of proper policing?

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I haven't heard of much trouble at the Bunker Hill Day, Dorchester Day, or Rosindale Day parades. The North End feasts are a bit overcrowded but they also seem generally calm and free of trouble. Alcohol is not the cause of the problems at the Caribbean carnival.

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How about the bottom of the Mariana Trench?

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He's lived with this all his life (except during his naval service) and now the Commodore wants action? Really?

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We need to make a major change to who our City Councilor is.

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Seems to me he's doing what a district City Councilor should be doing: looking out for his constituents, the people who live there.

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They also have a big St. Patrick's Day parade, generally free of troubles of the kind Flynn is describing here.

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of some chick urinating in my yard. I was going to post it on social media but thought twice about exposing this sex offender showing her biscuit in public.

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if the parade route wasn’t continually shortened every other year, thus putting more and more people into a smaller and smaller area.

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This is the parade route announced for 2024.

Is it really shorter than previous years? 3.5 miles is plenty long for a parade.

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