Hoboken St. Patty’s Retrospective


Some bullet-point tidbits regarding the 2011 Hoboken St. Patrick’s Parade as the hysteria winds down…

Can an annual parade be such a big deal?

Traditions, rituals, celebrations – all fine and dandy.

But why does the annual Hoboken St. Patrick’s Parade create so much drama? We have parades all year. Baby parades. Pet parades. Little League parades. Memorial Day Parades.

However, it’s clear what separates the SPD parade from the rest: alcohol.

The sheer volume of revelers (some who are disrespectful) simply overwhelms the community.

“It’s only one day”

Many visitors and residents enjoy the annual party. And since moving to Hoboken in the 90’s – have partaken many times myself. But as you gain experience, you tend to appreciate the finer things in life more. And being jammed like sardines in a loud crowded bar is something that loses it’s appeal eventually.

My guess is that they enjoy it because everyone else is doing it? They get to wear green? Better chance to score with an inebriated person?

Those that wish the annual party continue in Hoboken often use excuses – most often being “hey, it’s only one day!” But think of this – if you had to get painful tooth surgery once a year – you’d sing a different tune despite it being “only one day.”

You can party and drink with friends any time

Part of the “it’s only one day” theory that loses its strength is the fact that there are 364 other days of the year you can drink, gather with friends – and hey – even have a party yourself! Hoboken doesn’t shut down and invoke prohibition on those days. You’re free to do what you want.

I just don’t understand why people “look forward” to something they can do anytime!

Maybe if it was a tropical locale, or if a truly special and unique moment transpired – but I just don’t get the logic.

House parties are not regulated

Yankee Stadium serves alcohol and seats over 50,000 people. Giants Stadium seats over 80,000 fans. Yet because of the controlled nature of the environment (security, limited alcohol serving times, etc) – they can keep the % of rowdiness much lower than the city of Hoboken can. Part of that reason is (despite the “tailgating” that takes place before the game) – is because of the smaller area. You can fit more than 25 Giant Stadiums inside Hoboken.

The same number of partiers – spread out over a mile square – and without oversight or regulation (other than neighbors calling HPD) – things are bound to have a better chance of spiraling out of control.

As population grows – so should police & fire departments

Another aspect that adds to the challenge of a mile square drinking contest – is the fact that our city has grown tremendously. A 30% increase over the past 10 years.

More apartments, more people, more problems. While the HPD only issued about 300 summonses this year (as opposed to over 500 last year) – many officers who Hoboken411 spoke with – some with decades in the department – said this year was the most “violent” yet. Even the fire department had objects hurled at them. They were clearly outnumbered – and testament to the fact that our city is understaffed (at least for events like this).

Watch what the other hand is doing…

As Hoboken411 told you yesterday – the Mayor announced that the Hoboken St. Patrick’s Parade will take place on a Wednesday in 2012.

The buzz I’m hearing on the streets is that this “announcement” may have been made to earn points for her allies in the upcoming City Council election in May – and that no one should be surprised if they tout a brilliant “new plan” at the last minute to allow the parade to take place on a Saturday anyway. So keep your eyes on what the other hand is doing behind the scenes, and take all promises with a grain of salt until you see the outcome with your own eyes.

Revenue & Hate

Some people out there have the audacity to say that Hoboken411 hates this city. Far from the truth. If you read 411 on a daily basis (and for the past 5 years online) – you’ll see a wide range of topics. Business information, reviews, historical facts, gorgeous photos, helpful contributors, charitable causes, things for parents and families, various events throughout the year and much much more (besides the myriad of exclusives!) And I’m not even counting the thousands of interactions I’ve had with residents behind the scenes – just like I how helped one resident save his car from flooding the other day. I’m too busy being a positive asset to the Mile Square to have time to hate anything!

Because Hoboken411 told the truth about exactly what happened doesn’t imply a hatred of Hoboken. Those were just the stats – don’t shoot the statistician!

Lastly – one “bar owner” signed up to comment with an anonymous email account yesterday. I wanted him to represent himself and his particular business straight up – but he didn’t respond to my emails. He said:

“I hope everyone complaining is happy. This day change will force me to raise my prices across the board once the summer is over and I’m sure those same people will have something to say about that. St. Patty’s day revenue gets me through the extremely slow Hoboken summer when many residents leave town and it’s establishments behind. If any of you didn’t notice, we are in a heavy recession and I personally have seen business drop 45% over the last year. I hope everyone is happy that the city allowed such a small percentage of rowdy people to ruin the entire day for thousands of people and countless local establishments.

Many of these out of control drunks come to town wasted, get inebriated at local residential house parties, or travel with their alcohol. I didn’t have ONE SINGLE INCIDENT at my bar and know plenty others that did an equally fine job thanks to stellar in-house security, capacity control and denying entry to those intoxicated. Hats off to my fellow bar owners and my condolences to those that will be negatively affected by the day change. It seems like people care more about what happens to their bushes and hallways in 24 hours then the problem I am having paying my kids college tuition the entire year.

I know exactly what kind of response I will get making this post so start throwing your insults and opinions my way. I am ready and will surely find many of them either amusing or delusional.”

What would you do if you were in charge of this annual event?

40 Responses

  1. fantana says:

    Wasn’t the rape victim at a house party when this happened? My point was house parties are the problem in that they allow for drinking at a much quicker rate than bars (see beer pong, flip cup, etc.), they can not be monitored effectively and are the launching point for the criminal behavior and distract the police efforts from the streets they would normally be patrolling.

    I fear the parade moving to wednesday will simply separate two crowds… those that want to enjoy a peaceful parade will attend Wednesday while those that want to drink and party (wether peaceful or otherwise) will still conduct business as usual. The parade in and of itself is not enough of a draw to make people change the day they choose to party.

  2. BuickMcKane says:

    It’s all well and good for the bars who make mad money on this “one day a year” event; and now it’s even a nice little source of revenue for the city to issue those $2k fines (even though first responder resources were clearly strained), but what about the rest of us? Those who, I would venture to say–are the “grown-up” citizens and non-bar businesses who sustain this community and pay property taxes? Why do we have to endure this torture every year? We aren’t compensated for having to dodge unruly drunks and compromise our safety if we decide to leave the house. What are we promoting as a community here, turning the town into one big disgusting frat party?

    Frankly, it’s a drain on the majority of residents and unfairly benefits only a select few. Yes, let’s continue to allow 50,000 imbeciles into town “one day a year” to clog up emergency rooms and puke all over our streets. This event is an embarrassment to our city. I sent the Howard Stern link to a friend in LA, explaining how I live in Idiotville, USA. Come on Hoboken, we’re better than this! We’re one of the most expensive places to live in the country and New York is the Capitol of the World!!! And this is what we have to offer?

    I’d like to think we’re more sophisticated and that we should strive to exemplify the height of culture. But between this and “Cake Boss” it doesn’t look like that will happen any time soon….. In the meantime—require all SPD house parties to have permits. I’m sure the landlords will appreciate it.

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