Metro, Column

Parade Perspectives

Judging from the Natural Light cans that still litter Comm. Ave., I am probably not the only one struggling to recover from a long St. Patrick’s Day weekend. The crumpled memories of a past off-campus party-which  almost create a path from Foster St. to the Mods-are not the only of their kind in the Boston area this week as the entire city seems to be dealing with the aftershock from the celebrations of the holiday.

As I stepped off of the T at Broadway on Sunday afternoon and attempted to make my way out of the depths of the Red Line station,  I was overwhelmed—which is an irrational understatement. The sea of various shades of green I was surrounded by threatened to drown me in its fumes of Raspberry Rubinoff, but somehow I was able to escape the college-kid ridden train station and emerge to chain-link fences and barking police officers, suddenly understanding all at once the connotation that comes with the term “Southie.”

I had arrived at my first Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade, an event that I have now realized deserves to star in its own reality TV show. As I walked down the parade route, iPhone in hand, on assignment to document the event, I could almost feel the crime rate in the other neighborhoods of Boston drop as a majority of the city’s finest cheers-ed green solo cups in the parking lot of the D Street Shell gas station. The display of partyers sporting body glitter and shamrock face tattoos could only be accurately described as ratchet, a term that quite literally pains the English major in me, and led inevitably to only 10 arrests, according to the Boston Globe.

In addition to the arrests, which included charges ranging from assault and battery to carrying a dangerous weapon, Boston and state authorities also issued 293 citations for, you guessed it, public consumption of alcohol.

Although the common scene of multiple passed-out 20-somethings being carried over green, muscle-tee clad shoulders begs to disagree, Boston Police Department Spokeswoman Rachael McGuire told The Globethat the BPD was “happy that people were able to celebrate responsibly this year.” Despite the inability to not reek of cigarette smoke and Bud Light after a walk along the parade route, this year’s celebration was actually tamer than previous parades with both numbers of arrests and citations significantly fewer.

Although I will most likely retract this thought upon walking through the Mods this weekend, I may have taken for granted the degree of class most Boston College students generally maintain, and if I am able to look past the general drunken display of the parade watchers, this celebration is an incredibly unifying tradition.

The sea of emerald that so overwhelmed me on Sunday afternoon was made up of Bostonians-drunk and decked out in aggressive flair-but the city’s people either way. Although it may be a result of the Guinness, the camaraderie along the parade route was definitely impressive and it was almost heartwarming that so many people of so many ages could get behind one celebration.

Babies wrapped in Aran wool blankets sat side-by-side with older women wearing shamrock bobble headbands and college students sporting “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” shirts. Everyone cheered together as floats passed, everyone stopped to pet the bulldog wearing a Patriots jersey, and everyone was wearing green.

The parade was very Boston—sometimes it wasn’t the prettiest, some people weren’t the most polite, and the atmosphere was frankly just a little much, but there was a definite underlying unison throughout the crowds. Irish or not, the Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade gave everyone an excuse to celebrate, a little excessively, together-and I look forward to joining the green adorned masses in 2015.

March 19, 2014