Northeast Times

It's a 'half-block party' for Orthodox Street

— Shots fired after a June 23 block party on a nearby street put the Ju­ly 4th party on Or­tho­dox Street in per­il. But a com­prom­ise was reached.

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It had looked like the party was go­ing to be over be­fore it began.

That’s the way it seemed for neigh­bors who had planned a Ju­ly Fourth block party on the 1600 block of Or­tho­dox St.

But there will be kind of a com­prom­ise “half-block party” on In­de­pend­ence Day.

Why even that much al­most didn’t hap­pen is, well, com­plic­ated.

.A late-night shoot­ing dur­ing an­oth­er party at a cross street on June 23 had res­ul­ted in re­voc­a­tion of the Or­tho­dox Street party’s city per­mit.

Wanda Jones, ad­min­is­trat­or of the Phil­adelphia More Beau­ti­ful Com­mit­tee, said shots rang out on her street, the 4600 block of Lesh­er, after she and her fam­ily had words with people who had kept the street closed off hours after the city’s 8:30 p.m. dead­line.

Some­body threw beer at her in her car when she re­turned to Lesh­er Street after 11 p.m., she told mem­bers of the North­east EPIC Stake­hold­ers dur­ing their June 28 ses­sion at Camp­bell AME Church.

She said she and her fam­ily got onto their street, parked their car and went back to the corner and then some­body star­ted fir­ing a gun. Nobody was hit, she said.

Po­lice said the shoot­ing oc­curred at 11:35 p.m.

Jason Dawkins, an aide to City Coun­cil­wo­man Maria Quinones-Sanc­hez (D-7th dist.), said streets can be closed off for block parties with city per­mits, but they must be re­opened by 8:30 p.m.

In­cid­ents oc­cur at such parties, said Dawkins, who also lives on Lesh­er, but trouble al­ways seems to start after the parties are sup­posed to be over.

The Lesh­er Street shoot­ing af­fected plans for the Ju­ly 4 Or­tho­dox Street block party be­cause Lesh­er “T-in­ter­sects” with Or­tho­dox in the middle of the 1600 block. Clos­ing that whole block of east­bound Or­tho­dox for a party also meant north­bound Lesh­er would be blocked off, Dawkins said.

Since there was a vi­ol­ent in­cid­ent on Lesh­er, it can’t be blocked off for a party, Dawkins said, so the per­mit for the Or­tho­dox Street party was put in jeop­ardy.

On Monday, Dawkins said a  com­prom­ise was reached. He said he’s sug­ges­ted that only half of Or­tho­dox, east of Lesh­er, would be closed off. That way, Lesh­er won’t be blocked.

He said the Or­tho­dox Street party had to be scaled back and parts of it will be can­celed be­cause of the smal­ler space.

“We are try­ing to pre­vent vi­ol­ence,”  Capt. Frank Bach­may­er, com­mand­er of the 15th Po­lice Dis­trict, said Monday. That doesn’t mean po­lice don’t want people to have some good times, he ad­ded, but when vi­ol­ence oc­curs in a neigh­bor­hood, po­lice are con­cerned it might lead to more and want to be cau­tious.

“All block parties have ups and downs and some rough­ness,” Dawkins said. “It’s part of the char­ac­ter of the com­munity that you’re go­ing to have a little bit of trouble. … You have to be real­ist­ic about the po­ten­tial of things hap­pen­ing.” ••

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You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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