2003-03-08 / Front Page

Underage Drinking Mars St. Pat’s Day

By Howard Schwach
Underage Drinking Mars St. Pat’s Day

Underage Drinking Mars St. Pat’s Day

By Howard Schwach

Despite warnings from police officers from the 100 Precinct that they would be closely monitoring all of the after-parade activity following the St. Patrick’s Day Parade last Saturday, the Rockaway Rugby Club-house, located at 113-06 Rockaway Beach Boulevard was cleared of revelers due to numerous violations at about 7 p.m. that evening.

According to police, it was the second year in a row that the clubhouse was closed for alcohol and drug violations.

Working together, undercover officers from the 100 Precinct, accompanied by officers from the Queens Vice Squad, reportedly entered the clubhouse at about 7 p.m. on Saturday night, only hours after the Rockaway parade ended.

"There were about 1,000 people packed into the clubhouse and a tent that had been erected in the backyard," police told The Wave. "There were at least 40 or 50 underage kids drinking. There were people smoking marijuana."

In addition, there was a fight outside the clubhouse that led to the arrest of four people.

The 100 Precinct officers on the scene gave all the underage drinkers summonses and cleared the location.

Officials of the club, however, disagree with the police report.

"It’s true that a couple of young people jumped the fence and were there when the cops came in, but there were no summonses that I know about given in the club," John McCann, the clubhouse’s manager told The Wave. "There were no drugs and there were no fights associated with the club."

"Everybody in Rockaway is drinking after the parade," McCann added. "There was underage drinking and fights in every bar in Rockaway on Saturday."

Robert Johnson, the club’s president, agreed.

"We have two days a year that we can use to fundraise so that young kids have a place to play the game," Johnson said. "St. Patrick’s Day is a rowdy day all over Rockaway. There were a couple of incidents that night, but we are open all year and there have been no other incidents." Johnson added that his organization was a non-profit that benefited the youth in the community, and that he wanted to "apologize for any problems that occurred after the parade."

One young man, who was being issued a summons for underage drinking, was heard to tell the police, "You closed us down much later last year. This year, you didn’t give us enough time to drink."

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