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Meghan Keneally

Meghan Keneally

Posted: March 4, 2011 03:13 PM

Hoboken's Older Drinkers Prepare for St. Patrick's Day


As preparations are made for this Saturday's St. Patrick's Day parade in Hoboken, a new generation of revelers will be donning their green t-shirts while some will be retiring their leprechaun hats.

Even though St. Patty's Day is arguably a holiday with no age cut-off, there is a societal expiration date for public booze-fests. How old is too old for early morning beer drinking and day-long public intoxication?

The line is, appropriately, fuzzy.

Former Hoboken resident Lauren Politi, 32, found herself stepping out of the game in her late twenties.

"I stopped the all-day, early morning stuff about four years ago when I realized I wasn't 23 anymore, my body didn't recover from days like that very easily and I was still feeling the effects at work on Monday" Politi said.

Greg Day, 31, had his first taste of the parade when he moved to the area.

Now, seven years and a wife later, Day still sticks to his youthful drinking habits.

"We work hard, we play hard. That's life in a city. I think a Sunday 'Funday' is always something we're going to enjoy and well why not do it once a year with a hundred thousand of our closest Irish brethren?"

The less socially-elite social calendar in New York is filled with events based around bar hops and day drinking, with SantaCon bringing in the yuletide season in December and The Fox Hills Hunt in October joining the list. Such events cater to an understandably young crowd, filled largely with 20-somethings who equate the theme street parties with fraternity and sorority costume parties they attended in their collegiate years. Now, however, factors like full time employment, families, decreasing alcohol tolerance and increasing maturity pose threats to their mayhem.

Peter Nevins McBride, 27, attended his first SantaCon this December and thinks that it may already be time to hang up his day-long boozing cap.

"I think if I want to continue day drinking at my age I have to either become a professional Santa and get a flask and a seasonal job at a mall, or to pretend to be alumni of a school with a good football team and get a good mobile tailgating grill. Beyond that, I feel it becomes somewhat socially unacceptable," McBride said.

New Jersey police repeatedly announced a zero-tolerance policy towards open container violations at Saturday's event, and will be issuing $2,000 fines to those they find. Over 500 summonses were issued at last year's parade, with open container, public urination and disorderly conduct topping the list of charges.

Supporters of the parade think that the revenue generated from the fines and the increased businesses for bars, which open at 9:00 a.m., provide enough incentive for the city, many complain about the disruption that comes with drinking revelers.

Local blogger Perry Klaussen sees both sides of the issue, and does his best to warn people of the increased police diligence throughout the event to avoid arrests. With this year's event likely to bring crowds of over 13,000 attendees, Klaussen is looking to the weather for a silver lining.

"Thank God it's going to rain the next day because hopefully then the public defecation and vomit will be washed away," he said.