By Rich Bockmann
Neighbors in southeast Queens have come to dread unruly house parties that take over their residential blocks during the summer months, and they are banding together to try to pull the plug before things get out of hand this year.
“A couple of years ago we realized that hundreds of people are coming onto blocks unannounced for these parties,” said Larry McClean, district manager for Community Board 13 in southeast Queens. “When these things get out of hand, people get hurt.”
Neighbors have described their initial confusion over seeing large, professional audio equipment rolled into a home during the afternoon, only to have it become perfectly clear what is going on when those speakers are booming at all hours of the night.
“If your neighbors can feel the vibrations … of your music speakers in their bedroom at 1 a.m., you’re causing a noise nuisance,” said City Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton), who was joined by members of his noise task force Tuesday to try to encourage others to be on the lookout for parties this summer.
“You’ll have someone having a ‘small gathering’ and they’ll post it on Facebook,” he said. “They may not have had posted it to really get 500 people there, but what happens is the information is going out to their friends and they’re sending it to their friends and now, before you know it, 100 people is multiplied by five.”
Promoted on fliers and on social media sites, southeast Queens’ warm-weather house parties have earned a reputation among neighbors not only as late-night nuisances but as downright dangerous.
This year marks the third anniversary of the summer of 2010, when at least three young men were killed at southeast Queens parties. Since then, the deaths of Kedrick Ali Morrow Jr., Dane Freeman and Robinson Lajeunesse have served as cautionary tales of what can happen when these parties go unchecked.
“You hear about these house parties; they’re being shot up,” Richards said. “We would rather not have that in this neighborhood.”
For the police it becomes extremely difficult to break up such large parties by the time they swell to hundreds of attendees, and they urge residents to call in when they see the signs of a large gathering being set up.
Richards said community members should also log noise complaints with 311 and their local community board so that repeat offenders can be identified.
He said he will be putting extra pressure on bars and lounges along Merrick Boulevard to make sure patrons clear out from the street after the last call.
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4574.