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 Follow him on Twitter at
Updated 5:13 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reader feedback

Joe S from Bensonhurst says:
It's disgusting; from my window I saw a guy urinating near a box of bread that was sitting on the street.
Sept. 5, 2012, 8:01 am
Chris from Bensonhurst says:
So you should have picked up the phone and called the cops.
Sept. 5, 2012, 1:37 pm
Liz Marciano from Former Dyker resident....Now reside in Staten Island says:
When I heard that the 18th ave feast was coming back I thought it was just a rumor. Couldn't believe w/ all the past troubles they would bring it back. So my husband and I decided to go the first weekend. We wanted to see if it changed because we had planned on taking our 2 grandchildren. Sad to say it hadn't changed a was filthy too over crowded . People do not know how to walk when there is a street festival. We saw fights break out right in front of us as we were trying to navigate through the crowd . All because somebody bumped into somebody else. We decided not to come back with the grandchildren. I really miss the OLD 18th ave feast. It will never be the same. People just have no common sense or regard for each other. No respect either. As far as I am concerned we will never go back to the Feast. And I think they need to just put an end to it. Before a tragedy happens ( AGAIN )
Sept. 5, 2012, 3:01 pm
Scooter from Bath Beach says:
Funny....they urinate in our streets here in Bath Beach and we've complained and we are told there is nothing that can be done about it. The streets in Bensonhurst and Bath Beach and disgusting. There are no trash cans along 18th Avenue on a normal day. The trash receptacles that were put on 18th Ave for the feast were a joke as they are not emptied and most people just dump the garbage in the street. I lived on 70th Street off of 18th Ave and moved many years ago as there were rats running down my street because of the feast and all the garbage that was on the ground. The vendors do not keep in clean.
Sept. 5, 2012, 3:04 pm

Glad i missed it, was in florida and i'll miss year and the year after and after and after. This from a life long bensonhurster.
Sept. 5, 2012, 6:56 pm
Jennifer from Bendonhurst says:
I thought the feast this year was pretty quiet. I live on 75th btwn 17 and 18 ave, right by the action. This was the first year there were no parking wars on our block and no people trying to block mine and my neighbors driveways. There werent really any soda bottles or excess garbage in my steer or sidewalk. And I thought the actual feast wasn't crowded at all. There ate a lot of young teenagers this year for sure but no problems by us. We heard of one fight btwn girls that was broken up and I know for a fact there were a ton of undercover cops all over. Glad the tradition was back this year. If its like this every year I have no problem. Even walked threw with my 6 month old son and took a pic on the giant chair.
Sept. 6, 2012, 7:03 pm
Darlene Caruso from Bay Ridge says:
I was brought up right around the corner from the feast and could not wait until the feast came every year. Even though I moved out of the neighborhood in my 20's I still went every year as alot of my family still does live in Bensonhurst. I was extremely upset that they cancelled it last year.

The fact that is was brought back this year thrilled me. I went twice this year and on both occassions while I was there, I have not observed any fights nor drunken teenagers. There were police officers all over the feast. It was a joy to bring my nieces and nephew and share the stories of our years at the feast and so nice to see old friends that also visit the feast. Yes the garbage was overspilling the trash receptacles but that has been like that for 40 years.

I hope that they will continue the tradition of the Santa Rosalia/18th Avenue Feast as it is a lil of what we have left of the old neighborhood.
Sept. 7, 2012, 12:08 pm
Gary from Bensonhurst says:
I'm an out of towner, so I don't know what the "original" feast was like, but this "feast" had expensive food, rowdy kids, and the place was an absolute DUMP. I was hoping that it would feature "feast" like foods, or booths with foods that showcased particular ethnicities ...Instead it was more like a circus or a fair.
Oct. 14, 2012, 2:34 am
lucy from bensonhurst says:
The games are too expensive, The prizes are cheap stuffed animals. Years ago they had beautiful dolls. Nice toys basket, Something useful. They would more people playing games.
Aug. 11, 2013, 8:38 am

Comments closed.

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