LepreCon Sees Multiple Arrests in Hoboken
While uptown is quiet, the bars on First Street were crowded throughout the afternoon.
Update 6:45 p.m.
Downtown Hoboken looked like any other St. Patrick's Day on Saturday, even without the annual parade down Washington Street, while uptown Hoboken was quiet and the bars there half empty on Saturday afternoon.
At the end of the day—as it got colder and darker and the people got drunker—there were more reports of disorderly behavior. On downtown Jackson Street a man was seen climbing the wall of a building, apparently thinking he was Spiderman. Minutes later, police radio reported a large fight on Fourteenth Street.
As of 5:30 p.m., at least seven arrests had been made—including one for driving under the influence in the A&P parking lot—police said. One Jersey City man was arrested for acting disorderly on the corner of First and Bloomfield, police said.
At 4:30, a man tried to fight with two bouncers, before he was tackled and arrested by Hoboken police officers. Around 5:30, an arrest was made on Second and Washington Streets for disorderly conduct.
As the afternoon went on, more sirens could be heard, including several fire trucks rushing to multiple fire alarms.
While definitely less than last year around that time, police said they were still expecting an uptick in arrests later in the day. Just like last year, the city enforced its zero tolerance policy and summonses can come with a fine as high as $2,000.
Around 2 p.m., a house party on the corner of Fourth and Garden Streets was broken up after two people were written summonses for drinking in public.
When the crowd didn't go inside, the officer at the scene got out of his car and told the group of 20-somethings dressed in green that if they didn't go back inside, he'd "come back here and shut the house down."
"I'll make this the worst day of your life," the officer told the disorderly group.
Among the enforcement agencies present in Hoboken on Saturday were Jersey City police, and officers from Union City, Bayonne, the Port Authority and the county Sheriff's office.
Many of those interviewed—either standing in line to a bar, or in front of a house party—said the party was similar to last year and that the tradition of the first Saturday in March would live on, even without a parade.
Just as in previous years, house parties prevailed throughout town, with groups of people in green walking in and out of apartment buildings. Police patrolled the streets and broke up multiple parties between noon and 3 p.m.
While a steady of people dressed in green came into Hoboken on Saturday morning, the streets were visibly less crowded than previous years. Around 12:30 p.m. summonses were issued, police said, but there were no arrests.
At Marty O'Briens on First and Bloomfield Streets, a small line started to form on Saturday morning around noon and music blasted from inside. While in previous years, lines started forming around 8 a.m., this year most bars decided to open at 11 a.m.
"It's pretty packed," said Daniel Demola, 22, standing outside the bar. "I'm hoping it'll get busy."
Demola came into Hoboken on Friday night to celebrate the day with his childhood friends, he said. He said he didn't mind paying the $25 cover. He said he'd likely spend more than $100 at the bar that afternoon.
"You gotta have a good time," said Tony Corsino, from Mountainside. When asked if the lack of a parade was a problem, he answered, "no parade? That's even better!"
Next door, at the bagel smashery, employees said that while orders for green bagels had gone down, business was still good.
The lack of arrests was attributed to a "late start" due to the weather, according to one officer. The sheriff's office was present and groups of patrolmen were on duty on Saturday.
One downtown bouncer, who didn't give his name, said that there were much less people than in previous years, and contributed it to the fact that there was no parade this year.
The annual St. Patrick's Day parade was canceled last month, when the parade committee and the city couldn't come to a compromise on when to hold the event. After last year's number of arrests and two reported sexual assualts, Mayor Dawn Zimmer said she would not allow the parade on a weekend day anymore.
Fourth Ward Councilman Tim Occhipinti, standing on the corner of First and Bloomfield Streets on Saturday afternoon, said he wished the parade had happened this year. He added, though, that the city seemed much less crowded than previous years, even with the influx of green visitors.
"I'm glad there's no parade," said one Hobokenite in front of a house party. "That there's still a party ... means that the party just really lives within the people."
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Have fun today, be safe, and don't forget the police will be out there.
For more updates, check back later.