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UAlbany Students Celebrate Labor Day in Pine Hills

Machine spills bubbles onto the backyard scene of a student Labor Day party. (Photo Credit: Calvin Dimmig / The ASP)

By Calvin Dimmig with reporting from Wyatt Gorman | September 13, 2021

Walking towards Hudson Ave., near Pine Hills market, music could be heard from a distance outside various parties. Black telephone wires criss-crossed above the street overhead. A pair of white shoes were tied together and left to hang on the wires, swaying in the end of summer air. No clouds shielded us from the beating sun. It was Labor Day on a Monday. Students were ready to hit midtown to celebrate.

These streets in the weekends prior were a scene of chaos. Thousands of people packed the streets of Hudson Ave., their drunken steps carrying them from party to party. Fights broke out in the streets. People climbed on top of cars, on-lookers cheering them on. Students hopped off the roofs of houses, crashing their bodies onto folding tables. Many students and locals alike were ticketed or arrested for disorderly conduct. Videos and pictures circulated social media showing four policemen atop horses on the intersection of Hudson and Quail. Floodlights created ample lighting. But on this afternoon, the streets of Hudson Ave. were slightly quieter. Drunken students were sparse in the streets, occupying the occasional backyard, enjoying the festivities.

Red cups stuck out like sore thumbs on slightly overgrown lawns. Garbage and recycling cans in the alleys between residences were overflowing, bulbous black bags piled on top of each other. A fraternity brother on a balcony overseeing the street yelled something undecipherable to the street below, his words dying as they traveled while looking directly at me.

It was 3p.m.; no police were to be found.

Further down the street, at a house across from 212 Market, a student with symmetrical streaks of red, white, and blue face paint on his cheeks was posted on the porch. The hum of music from inside slightly shook the floorboards of the home. Door duty: he has control over who is allowed inside. He refused to give us a name or talk too in depth about police activity. He briefly mentioned that, “it’s annoying that the cops are on us for just trynna have a good time.”

We circled back to Pine Hills where we encountered a group of girls dressed in American flag themed attire. The majority of them were seniors, one a freshman. To them, the police were not a matter worth getting in the way of their fun. One of the girls supposedly asked an officer if she could pet his horse, referring to the Clydesdale horses that strutted up and down Pine Hills the night before, assisting officers with surveying the scene. She said that her request was declined by the officer.

Further along, we reached a driveway giving us a view into a backyard party (darty, if you will). A bubble machine rested on the house’s second story, raining clumps of bubbles down on the not-so-crowded backyard of students. The bubble machine seemed to be malfunctioning: the fan was clogged with sad half-blown bubbles. The students didn’t seem to care, however, and as the backyard filled with clumps of bubbles, they continued to celebrate the holiday.

There was a man and a boy sitting on their porch across from 212 Market. The man, probably somewhere in his late twenties, was smoking a cigarette and as he surreptitiously watched students.

Both seemed unfazed by the police presence from the weekends prior, mentioning that police are only present for the student’s safety. The boy gave a brief story on a group of students trashing his step-dad’s car. He claimed the students smashed a window and proceeded to dance on the roof and hood.

The man casually said that students will be students. He was a long-time resident, he remembered the parties and parades during St. Patrick’s Day, a time where students are now sent home. After two weekends filled with scenes reminiscent of the destructive 2011 Kegs and Eggs incident, today’s scene was that of a piece of normalcy.


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