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St. Patrick’s Day Parade Route Shortened

Allied War Veterans Not Happy

There is never a shortage of controversy when it comes to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston.  To keep you up to speed, for almost 20 year parade organizers – The Allied War Veterans and MassEquality – a statewide gay rights advocacy group – battled over allowing LGBT groups to march openly in the historic parade.  Last year, was the year two LGBT groups were allowed to march – OUTVets and Boston Pride and ushered in a new era of inclusion for South Boston.  Well….sort of…we can’t forget about Umbrella-gate.  You can read about it here: Gay Umbrellas and here: More thoughts about Umbrella-gate

Last year, thanks to Snowmageddon – the parade route was shortened to just the straight shot of West Broadway – beginning at Broadway Station (Aka Broadway Village) up East Broadway and ending at Farragut Road.  Currently, with no snow on the ground, it was assumed that the parade route would go back to the original route which began at Broadway Station and ended at Andrew Square winding through the neighborhood.  

Well, you know what they say when you assume….It was discovered recently that the 2016 St. Patrick’s Day Parade Route would indeed stay shortened.  Mayor Marty Walsh joined Jim Braude and Margery Eagan on WGBH Radio for “Ask the Mayor” when the parade route was revealed.  Public safety and cost of police details/overtime was mentioned as part of the decision making process.

Evidently the Allied War Veterans are less than pleased with this news.  A memo is now circulating encouraging residents to contact the City of Boston and voice your opinion about the parade route.  The memo states:

At our February 22nd Meeting at City Hall, The City of Boston, without prior notice, shortened our parade by more than half.  Rather than than our historic route through the neighborhood, and by our Dorchester Heights Memorial to Andrew Square, they want the parade to run Broadway Station to Farragut Road.  This route was used last year because the City could not remove snowbanks from the route.  We argued this restriction and were told we could be granted a new hearing to discuss pros and cons.  We were not!  

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It also goes on to list questions helping residents to make a decision about the new route.  Everything from “Is this historic route important to you?” to “Isn’t it unfair that the city of Boston can change a 115 year neighborhood event without explanation?”  

Ryan Long, member of both the Allied War Veterans Council and the Michael J. Perkins Post was disappointed with the City of Boston’s decision.  “I think the city is forgetting the historical significance of the parade.  It’s an Evacuation Day Parade and Dorchester Heights played a key role in the evacuation of British soldiers from Boston in 1776.  The parade route no longer includes this memorial.” Long also went onto say that the Perkins Post –  located at the corner of O and East Fourth – hosts the Gold Star families – families who have lost a loved one during service.  “Since the parade no longer goes by that route we have to find another location to put up the staging for the families to watch the parade,” said Long.  “Our South Boston city councilors have been silent on this issue.  I want to know where they stand on it?” added Long.

Mayor Walsh released a statement late Tuesday afternoon.  “After consulting with Commissioner Evans, I have decided that it is in the best interest of public safety, while balancing the historic tradition of the St. Patrick’s Day  Parade, to use the same route that we did last year for this year’s parade.”

So there you have it!  2016 St. Patrick’s Day Parade controversy served to you on a platter.  What do you think?

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About the Author

Maureen Dahill

Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Co-host of Caught Up, storyteller, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.

Comments

  1. Moss Lynch says

    This was done to increase public safety? How is cramming 500,000 people onto 1 street increasing public safety? This is unfair to the organizers, the residents, and the people who are marching. Not to mention, it is disrespectful to the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade tradition. People want to talk about getting out and voting; issues like these will bring the true politicians to light. Who is truly standing with the people of South Boston vs. who wants to look good in the media; time to decide.

  2. Pat K says

    Agree with Moss – this is endangering public safety .. making impossible for elder and children to possibly attend . This is an outrageous slight to veterans and the neighborhood, Will the Dorchester Day parade get the same treatment? Of course not.

  3. Linda L. says

    It is just another way for the Mayor and politicians to change South Boston. All they want is development, development, development. They no longer care about the old South Bostonians, actually from what I can see, after attending many, many community meetings over the past few years, they want the old out and the new in. This is our tradition, we have many fund raisers to pay for this parade, the City has no right to change it. But isn’t it funny, we put Walsh in office, but since he took office, the parade has changed. Both Moss & Pat K are so right. No, I am sure the Dorchester parade will not change. The Bunker Hill day parade in Charlestown will not change, I think they have to have police detail at those parades also, but they are only changing South Boston because of the cost of police detail as city hall claims. Thanks Mr. Walsh for all your help of the forgotten promises.

    • Joe W says

      You realize that since Walsh took office he has started the process to rezone basically all of traditional South Boston to help curb over development. He also said at last Summer’s coffee hour at Sweeney park that the days of single family homes being converted to 5-6-7 unit buildings were over. Then he voiced opposition to a single on my street (E street) that wanted to demo a single and build 6 units. The subsequently withdrew their application and we haven’t heard from them since. So while I understand that the people that only stick their heads out of their holes every once think things are a certain way- in fact they are the opposite.

      As for the parade route. Many of my friends don’t even stay in southie for the parade anymore. It is no longer the event we grew up watching. It’s not for families and I would bet that a vast majority of you have even said that. So big deal the route is shorter. If you want historical significance you can go to the mass, March and excersises on the 17th where they do march up and pay their respects to Evactuation Day.

      • T. Kelley says

        That’s a pretty arrogant response to concerned residents of South Boston Joe! Too bad, go somewhere else, you probably haven’t seen it anyways? That pretty much sums up your message. People have legitimate concerns and it’s not your place to dismiss any of them, with all due respect.

  4. Mark says

    Can you image they would even suggest to shorten the route! Last year was what you would call an emergency situation. There was to much snow on the side streets. The snow not only would have caused safety problems for those watching but for those marching. Also where would all those who have for generations come in to watch “Our Parade” had parked. Southie’s open homes are a true representation of what we are about. All along the route homes are full of spectators. From the side walks, to the stairs, to living rooms. Every window along the route is occupied. Take all these side walks, stairways and windows away from this parade route. WHAT?? It’s pure craziness. It’s wrong and I hope people realize this can not pass. SOUTHIE WAKE UP, ENOUGH is ENOUGH!☘ Happy St. Patrick’s Day ?? ?? Happy Evacuation Day ☘

  5. Mary L. says

    I agree with all of those above. The people of South Boston may not have had the best relationship with Mayor Menino but in all his years in office and the controversy with who could march in the parade he left it alone and let the people of South Boston celebrate this long standing family tradition.
    Since our current mayor took office South Boston, between the unending development, changing the bus route and now this parade controversy the residents have had it. When you meet neighbors out and about that is all people talk about. The main sentiment is that people do not feel we are well represented. Residents are unhappy and many life long residents are moving elsewhere. I have to say I don’t blame them. It’s is really sad what City Hall is doing to South Boston and the surrounding neighborhoods.
    Thank you to Allied War Veterans who are continuing to fight for South Boston and to their sacrifice to our country.

    • Bev R says

      As a South Bostonian born & bred senior, I agree w/ most of the comments regarding the dearly-held traditions of the St. Paddy’s day family parade. I understand the deeply held passions of this historical Evacuation Day event. That said, I hope the passions held on this subject matter translates into another important date in November –VOTING!

  6. Jen Callahan says

    The city of boston cutting the parade route St Patrick’s Day. Is so sad. They say its a safety issue i dont understand. The length of the parade isnt the problem. The problem is all the people who travel into Southie the day of the parade for all the wrong reasons.
    True southie residents who have southie flowing through their veins know what the true meaning of this day is and hold it dear.
    I know for me and my family its about seeing relatives that we dont see all the time to celebrate our heritage and a town we love. My grandfather passed away in december and this was gonna be our first parade without him. My cousin asked if we could put out an empty chair to honor an amazing man who taught me all about the values that southie people hold dear love loyalty and most importantly FAMILY. So now the city of boston and the people opposed to our parade has robbed me of passing on my grandfathers tradition of standing watching the parade and shaking people hands with friends and neighbors on to my nieces and nephews thats the sad part of all this.
    So the southie I’ve loved my whole life is being stolen from me by people who have no idea what it means to me and so many others. #southieforeverinmyheart

  7. Howie Howland says

    What. People in Southie no longer understand is that the neighborhood that could make or break a political career, no longer has that clout any longer. Menino knew that which is why you have condos going thru the roof. Yuppies don’t vote, never have, never will. Minority community has more clout, gay community has more clout.

    So until Southie can get back into the voting booth, The mayors office doesn’t care.

    Don’t blame me, I’m from Old Harbor

  8. Ed Maguire says

    It is obvious that the City of Boston is trying to keep the LBGT groups confined to one street.

  9. chuck kelley says

    People who live on the parade rout are sick over this there houses are opened up to all there friends and family and then some this has been going on since I can remember. I’m a life long resident of 58 years personally I had enough of meninos shananagans at least he was smart enough to leave it alone as you know he never attended what’s on Marty’s mind safety doubt it it would be more crazy jamming all those people on broadway it worked all this time why change what works

  10. Dave says

    Marty Walsh is an idiot. A one trick pony that will be gone in the blink of an eye. Pure classless politician. Safety? Really? How about all those safe years with a long route. I have an idea, make it a block long, can’t be any more safe than that.

  11. Mason Axford says

    Why don’t they shorten the marthon route next…and make that more safe. Tradition is tradition…level it as is. Or a least let the community decide!! This is a community event that should take place throughout the community – not just along a commercial street.

  12. Mary says

    Most of my neighbors and friends agree that last year’s parade and it’s shortened route was good enough.

  13. Jackie says

    65 years in SOUTHIE..This is a disgrace…I have two young grandsons 6and 3 WHO LIVE IN
    SOUTHIE..For years they came to my house (on east fifth st) to watch the parade, along
    With many of my family members,who also have young children..Last year, because of the
    Snow situation, we went to east broadway…NOTHING BUT DRUNKS FROM OUTSIDE THE
    NEIFGBORHOOD!!!..NO BATHROOMS, LINES OUTSIDE BARS, AND ALSO GROUPS OF
    GENERAL “IDIOTS”….I urge everyone to contact Walsh,linehan,Colllins,Dorcy..and express
    Your feelings about this sneaky,thoughtless, DORCHESTER MOVE…Jimmy Kelly and Waco
    Hurley must be rolling over in their graves…Southie..WAKE UP !!!!

  14. BC says

    Just like the MBTA, nothing will change until politicians lose their jobs. Let’s take a look at who opposed Bill Linehan in the last election??? UNOPPOSED! Nick Collins? UNOPPOSED. He couldn’t even keep the Senate seat in Southie. This statement by the Mayor is as clear an indication as ever that the power has shifted out of 02127. Until someone figures a way to engage “new Southie” to get active politically this trend will continue.

  15. Donna McNealy says

    I am all for change, however, the parade is a historical event, and the route should remain the same. To blame it on cost and safety issues is insulting to the good people of Boston. To shorten the length of the parade, and squeeze more parade goers into tighter spaces is what is dangerous. Where are the local so-called reps. on this? Allison, Linehan, what say you? Speak up before it is to late.

  16. maureen picard says

    mayor of Boston just leave the St pat parade only don’t change the route of parade . can’t wait till you leaving city hall.so people in south boston will have ther st parade back.

  17. Stacy says

    This is another shady political move. The Irish were the FIRST slaves forced to this country. they were murdered, raped, tortured, starved..yet the irish overcame. We don’t deserve this disrespect! And Marty Walsh is irish why isnt he fighting this? I’ve emailed Fox news, Bill O’Reilly hoping someone will help us. Thanks.