Last year’s mischief leaves St. Theresa’s Feast in limbo
BY STEVEN GOODSTEIN
The future of a traditional neighborhood
event that has taken place
every year for more than two decades
The St. Theresa Feast, an almost
week-long festival which started in
1997, is now in jeoparardy after last
year’s feast resulted in multiple incidents
involving rowdy teenagers.
The marauding swarms of teens
damaged vehicles, stores and
other property on Crosby Avenue,
Westchester Avenue as well as on
some local streets near the feast.
What’s even worse, the ‘wilding’
was videoed and shared thousands
of times on various social media outlets.
These videos brought an uproar
from the community and were probably
partially responsible for the
Community Board 10 rejection of
this year’s St. Theresa Church permit.
“Last week, we voted against approving
the permit for the feast -
but there is still time for Mayor Bill
de Blasio to approve their permit
through the Street Activity Permit
Office,” said Community Board 10
district manager Matt Cruz.
The final decision would be made
sometime in the late spring, according
Another factor that didn’t bode
Screenshot of a video shot during a riot involving teenagers near the Buhre Avenue subway station.
Photo/video courtesy of Michael Ingrasci
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well for the Pelham Bay parish and
school was the absence of representatives
of the church at CB 10’s full
board meeting on Thursday, January
“There needs to be a solution to
this problem - and if there’s no solution
then there will be no feast,”
said local advocate Dotti Poggi, who
started a petition as well as a Facebook
page along with other CB10
residents called ‘The Future of St.
Theresa’s Feast Pelham Bay NY’ in
attempts to discuss safety solutions
to prevent the same scenario at this
year’s event, should it take place.
Specific incidents included girls
fighting, a child beaten while a
crowd cheered, cars being vandalized
and broken into, and a woman
who incurred a hand injury while
locking the door of her laundromat
during the escalating riots.
Another Pelham Bay resident,
a single mother with two children,
had to dish out $2,500 to repair the
damage her car sustained from the
out-of -control teens.
Most of the problems occurred
blocks away from the actual feast.
Hundreds of youngsters flooded
into the streets on the outskirts of
the feast and overwhelmed the small
number of assigned police officers.
Many believe the teenage troublemakers
came to the feast looking to
If the feast was to go on several
safety precautions were suggested:
increase the police presence, set-up
baracades for crowd control outside
feast area, assign Guardian Angels
on inbound and outbound #6 IRT
trains, and using only one subway
station for those attending the feast
(Crosby Avenue is a proposed location).
As of press time, a total of 316
residents have signed the online petition
which will be sent to Councilman
Mark Gjonaj once it has 500
Some Pelham Bayites blamed the
incidents on the fact that the feast
was advertised outside the community,
in locations such as Parkchester
and Jerome Avenue, attracting ‘outsiders’
to the festival.
The annual St. Theresa Feast is a
five-day festival which includes carnival
rides, game stations, music,
cuisine, vendors and raffle prizes.
The final day of the feast includes
the procession through the streets
with the St. Theresa statue.
The feast was recently moved to
the second-to-last week in June to
improve its attendance.
The school relies heavily on the
feast’s profits to keep the school affordable
to its middle class families.
The Bronx Times attempted to
contact the church pastor, Father
Thomas Derivan, but he did not reply
by press time.