For 115 years, South Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade has brought smiles and celebration to a neighborhood packed full of Irish pride. But since the annual march draws thousands of rowdy parade goers, locals are left with the traffic nightmare and day-after clean up.
“It's a dirty, dirty mess after parade weekend. I wish the entire neighborhood, not just the route, was cleaned after the parade,” said Anna White, 39, of the blog Planet Southie.
For Southie’s born-and-raised residents, families still stick with the tradition of venturing outside to support the local festivities. But it’s the yuppies that like to cause a ruckus.
“[Yuppies] love hosting house parties or staying in the bars all day and could care less about watching the parade. I personally used to love hosting parties for the parade, but usually those usually ended up with unwelcome guests, theft, and a call to the plumber,” said a 28-year old Southie resident who operates the @SouthieProblems Twitter handle.
The five-year South Bostonian asked that Metro withhold her name because “the Southie youngsters don't really have a liking for this twitter account and would probably love to come beat me up.”
With transportation already a major headache for Southie residents, the parade ushers in a whole new set of parking problems.
“If you don't find parking the night before, it is impossible to park on the day of the parade,” said @SouthieProblems. “Most of the streets are shut down and you can't make your way from one side of Southie to the other. In some areas, cars double park and take up the whole street, because, no one was going to be able to drive down it anyway. The streets are left a mess with trash and solo cups. I always feel like it looks like the aftermath of a war zone.”
White has been let down by the integrity of the parade itself.
“A lot of the content of the parade is ads: radio stations, dating websites, alcohol companies - I wish there were more marching bands and school groups in the actual parade,” said White.
But the parade, despite its low points, gives the neighborhood an economic boost.
“For one thing, I think it helps the businesses in Southie. There are lots of people coming in for the weekend of the parade. They go out to eat, they shop, they buy green t-shirts,” said Maureen Dahill, 45, editor of CaughtinSouthie.com and a lifelong Southie resident.
White agrees: “I think it helps the bars, restaurants and package stores in the neighborhood,” said White.
“There have always been drunk people whooping it up at the parade - I used to be one of those drunk people dancing around with my good time buddies. Now, it's much more mellow with my kids. Although, as Southie as evolved and changed in the last five years, there are a lot more people in their 20's out celebrating the parade,” said Dahill.
But @SouthieProblems doesn’t see the upside.
“Besides bringing people to an area of town they've never seen before, I don't think it benefits Southie all that much. Yes, the bars and restaurants will be packed, but it's one day of the year. Sunday Fundays in Southie usually pack the bars just as much,” she says.
Irish and LGBT pride collide at 2015 St. Paddy's parade
For the first time in 20 years, the mayor of Boston marched in South Boston’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade thanks to the event’s inclusion of groups representing the LGBT community.
OUTVETS and Boston Pride marched in the two-mile parade after their applications were accepted by The Allied War Veterans Council. Last week, Metro spoke with the founder of OUTVETS, Bryan Bishop, about the historic event.
It was a milestone for the local LGBT community, as the council petitioned the Supreme Court in 1995 to uphold its ban on having the groups march. Since then, Boston mayors Tom Menino and Marty Walsh had boycotted the annual event.