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18th Avenue Feast Causes Problems for Some Bensonhurst Residents

Italian-American event brings garbage, trashy teens to neighborhood, residents complain

Brooklyn Daily
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Drunken teens attending the resurrected Santa Rosalia Festival left 18th Avenue in shambles, according to residents who hope the once-cancelled end-of-summer tradition doesn’t return to the neighborhood.

Thousands cheered the return of the 11-day festival — which organizers cancelled last year during a permit dispute with the city — but those who live closest to the action say the 18th Avenue Feast was marred by drunken brawls, garbage, and parking nightmares.

“I never saw so many kids drinking underage,” said Richard Morena, who claimed that the police did nothing to stop the youths. “Then after it gets dark, they sit on my stoop and get into fights.”

Neighbors said several fights and illegal activity witnessed at the 18th Avenue Feast bled out onto the side streets before it came to a close on Sept. 2, leaving residents with sights they would have rather not seen.

“I saw people urinating in the street on Thursday night,” said Joanella Bells, who lives just off the festival, which stretched from 68th to 75th streets. “It’s filthy and the organizers don’t pick up a broom till it’s over.”

Bells wants next year’s 18th Avenue Feast cancelled, but most of her neighbors say they didn’t want the yearly Italian-American tradition abolished — just abridged.

“I wouldn’t mind it if it wasn’t as long,” Morena said. “Eleven days is just too much.”

Others complained about fistfights, rowdy behavior, and loud noises, but said it was all part of living near 18th Avenue.

“There’s fights over here, and they’re screaming and yelling at night,” said resident Laura Tiezeman. “I felt kind of lost last year without it.”

Community Board 11 officials said they have not received any official complaints about the 18th Avenue Feast, and that the 62nd Precinct had not respond to any disturbances.

“Everything went smoothly,” CB11 District Manager Marnee Elias-Pavia said.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at (718) 260–4507 or e-mail him at wbredderman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/WillBredderman
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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