HOBOKEN – It’s never too early to plan for St. Patrick’s Day.
With the annual Hoboken parade moved to a Wednesday in 2012 (date yet to be determined), the city still plans heavy enforcement and a zero-tolerance policy for quality-of-life violations the first Saturday in March – which used to be the traditional date of the Hoboken St. Patrick’s Day parade and celebration until last year's rowdiness sparked protests.
They will also gear up for the actual date of St. Patrick's Day, which falls on a Saturday this year -- March 17, 2012.
Mayor Dawn Zimmer announced in March that she would only approve a parade for a weekday in 2012, rather than a weekend, citing “significant public safety concerns.” Thousands of residents and visitors often turn Hoboken into a citywide party before and after the parade lining up at bars and heading to house parties starting in the morning.
Even if people plan to come party in Hoboken on the first Saturday of March without the parade, extra police are likely to be on duty.
“We’re certainly preparing for increased enforcement on both March 3 and 17,” said city spokesperson Juan Melli. “Both dates are ‘blacked out,’ meaning all police are subject to being called to duty. House parties will be monitored and checked on by the Fire Department for occupancy violations and by the Police Department for violations of underage drinking/disorderly conduct/noise/etc.”
A total of 296 citations were issued during the parade in 2011, which was a dramatic decrease from 555 in 2010. The police also made 34 arrests on the 2011 parade day, which was up from 25 in 2010. However, two rape allegations and stories of firefighters under siege clouded the day of celebration.
The Hoboken parade, which has a 25-year storied history in the mile square city, is organized by a group of residents known as the Hoboken St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee.
The parade was traditionally held on the first Saturday in March so more bands would be able to attend, and so that Hoboken was not competing with larger parades such as the one in nearby New York City.
Bill Coughlin, the media contact for the parade committee, said that a date has not been decided on yet. Coughlin said the committee received a letter from the mayor, which will soon be posted on their website here.
Do you think people will still party on the first Saturday of March without the parade? Will you? Comment below. - Ray Smith