Following the announcement at the end of February that this year’s St. Patrick’s Day and Evacuation Day parade did not receive approval from the city for its intended and traditional three-mile route, South Boston Online readers reacted with speed and strong words. Below are a series of letters to the editor – nearly all of them against the abbreviated parade route – that were submitted to the publication within the past week.
(Information about submitting a letter to the editor is included at the end of this post.)
The parade belongs to the community
I think changing the route of the Evacuation/St. Patrick Day parade in South Boston this year by city officials without much discussion with the folks who actually do all the heavy lifting of organizing and raising money to finance it seems pretty disrespectful to the community.
This is the community’s celebration and not something for politicians to take over. Last year’s new parade route was created due to the heavy amount of snow that took over the city. This year, there is no snow so the parade should have reverted to the 2014 parade.
Years ago, the Allied Veterans Council rerouted the parade and reversed the parade flow. Today, the parade starts at Broadway station. Years ago, it started at Andrew Square. The route was changed by the community for public safety issues and rowdiness.
If the parade organizers want their parade to pass by Dorchester Heights to honor Evacuation Day and General George Washington, this is their right. The last thing we need is politicians taking all the fun out of what should be a fun day for all.
As someone who worked on the Bunker Hill Day parade years ago when I lived in Charlestown, I would have been irate if the city wouldn’t allow the parade to march around the Bunker Hill Monument. It is a given to connect the Bunker Hill parade with the monument. Similarly, how can South Boston have its parade and not pass by the site of the March 17, 1776 British evacuation of Boston?
Right now, I am a member of the 2016 East Boston Columbus Day Parade Committee. All of these parades belong to the respective communities and not to City Hall.
In support of the shortened parade
I am in support of the parade route being shortened. It’s nothing against the veterans who served this country so well with many of them paying the ultimate price over the years; they have my utmost respect. But instead it has to do with the fact that many of the parade attendees are totally disrespectful of the city by throwing trash, empty beer cups, pizza plates, paper bags and all other kinds of trash on the streets and sidewalks and on people’s private property without thinking about who ends up having to clean that mess up.
And how about the fact that a lot of people from other communities come over and park their cars here the night before the parade and stay overnight with their friends who live here, which drastically cuts the number of available parking spots for the residents of South Boston who live here and who still need a place to park here the night before the parade.
Do the parade organizers care about that? Have they done anything to address that?
Not to mention people urinating in public and the inevitable street fights that end up breaking out because a lot of the immature punks who think they’re tough guys don’t know how to handle their booze.
I, for one, am fed up with this every year and as far as I’m concerned the goddamn thing should be held in downtown instead of in South Boston.
It’s nothing but an excuse for a drunkfest once a year.
Why should anyone in their right mind pay upwards of $500,000 for a condo or a house around here to have to deal with this garbage every March?
I applaud (Mayor) Marty Walsh for shortening the route and I hope he will do away with it altogther. Sooner if not later.
John “Jackie” Doherty
Neighborhood residents value tradition
I am writing to express my disappointment in the cancellation of the parade route through Dorchester Heights and Telegraph Street. As a resident of Telegraph Street, I look forward to that day when I get all my family together at my home for good food, music and a lot of laughs. There are a lot of families on the street that feel the same way that I do. East and West Broadway will be a nightmare by eliminating the old route that the parade once traveled. I was in total agreement with last year’s decision, but I am totally disgusted with this year’s proposal!
They are trying to say it will be a cost savings, but they had no problem spending all that money in snow removal last year for the Patriots parade. What was the final cost on that? In closing, would you let Bill know that the majority of residents in Thomas Park (Dorchester Heights) would like to keep to the old traditions. After all, isn’t that where it started?
Route change takes away from family occasion, celebration
Perhaps we can shorten the length of time this mayor will serve in office to “one term.” Denying more than half of the city of Southie the opportunity to celebrate and view the parade under the guise of “safety reasons” is a ludicrous reason. You can count the number of arrests (in the last few years) to less than the fingers of one’s hands. The community has bent over backwards to make this celebration a family occasion by creating “no drinking” spots along the parade route. Therefore that reason doesn’t hold water! By shortening this route, the mayor is depriving thousands of residents (many of them seniors) from viewing the parade and taking part in the celebration of the birth of this nation. Mayor Walsh, by his arbitrary decision, is acting more like the king of England instead of the mayor of the city of Boston, the city that gave birth to freedom to these United States of America.
I hope this rash, unjust decision is reviewed and that the parade route will be restored to the original route followed since its inception (taking into consideration the change of the route last winter due to the snowstorms we endured last winter). The route, which by the way, was cleared in most part by the people of South Boston who volunteered their time and energy in making sure the parade would take place as planned.
I sincerely hope smarter heads will prevail and that the parade route will be changed back as requested by the Allied War veterans who have done a magnificent job in past years and that all residents will have a chance to view the parade, no matter what part of South Boston they live in.
Last-minute decision is ‘attack on Southie’s traditions and Irish culture’
I am a life-long Boston resident who attended Boston Public Schools. I am also a proud first-generation Irish-American whose parents came to this country to make a better life; and after working hard, they were able to move in 1976 from their double-decker in Mission Hill to their single-family home in West Roxbury, where they still reside. I currently live, and am a home-owner, on Telegraph Street in South Boston. I am also a 17-year veteran of law enforcement.
I am extremely disappointed to hear that Mayor Walsh has made a last-minute decision to disregard tradition, and to dramatically cut the South Boston parade route down to just East and West Broadway, thus taking away the only parts of the parade route that are actually family-oriented and safe.
Every year, I, along with my surrounding neighbors, have our loved ones come in for the Saint Patrick’s Day celebration. This consists of my elderly parents and their friends sitting and enjoying the parade from folding chairs in front of my house, as my nieces and nephews and their young friend’s run back and forth collecting lollipops tossed from the parade passers-by and floats. This area, including the Dorchester Heights Monument, is a place where loads of other young families from other parts of the city come to lay out a blanket to watch the parade, as they escape the chaos and safety-issues that exist over on East and West Broadway. I also often see my neighbors opening their doors to these same parents of little kids to use their bathroom; and on cold parade days, to just warm up for a few minutes. We take pride in celebrating our Irish culture that day, and watching the neighborhood come together. Family culture has already been dramatically diminished over the least several years in South Boston. Why would Mayor Walsh and Boston Police Commissioner Evans want to take that family component away from the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade?
The news said it would be done to save money on police presence and to avoid safety-issues? So let me get this straight – taking away the only part of the route that is considered safe and family-oriented, and then expecting parents, grandparents and young children to squeeze onto the sidewalks of East and West Broadway with crowds that will be 20 to 30 people deep – areas that are known to be high-traffic areas for intoxicated youth who are drinking, fist-fighting, and urinating in public, is a safer situation?
I am absolutely disappointed and disgusted with Mayor Walsh’s decision and I, along with many others, consider it to be an attack on Southie’s traditions and Irish culture. I suggest that his support staff strongly encourage him to reconsider this unfortunate decision, as it will not be forgotten. “Irish Amnesia” is a very real thing, especially while standing in a voting booth.
South Boston Online welcomes letters to the editor on topics of public interest. To be considered for publication, letters must be: no more than 500 words, refrain from extreme personal attacks, and include a name, address and contact information for verification purposes. Only the writer’s name will be used. While anonymous letters are appreciated, they will not be printed due to credibility issues. However, a writer may make a direct request to the editor to withhold a name if the writer feels that a published letter would result in direct physical harm.
Writers should refrain from making incorrect statements and are expected to double check facts. False statements in letters may subject the writer to be barred from future letter publication. South Boston Online also reserves the right to edit letters for space, content, grammar, spelling and libel considerations. Deadline for letters is Monday at 5 p.m.
Send your letters to: Mail@SouthBostonOnline.com or South Boston Online, 700 East Broadway, South Boston, MA 02127.