Stanley Cup party rolls into Pittsburgh streets, but remains in check
Fans celebrate at Shale's Cafe on Fifth Avenue as the Penguins win the Stanley Cup, beating the Red Wings 2-1 in Detroit.
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Dozens of tinfoil and inflatable Stanley Cup trophies bobbed up and down East Carson Street last night, hoisted in the air by rowdy revelers who paraded down the street in celebration of the real thing.
South Side was Penguins Party Central, as thousands of fans packed the bars and later took to the streets, but the revelry was mostly nonviolent.
The streets filled with happy Penguins fans, some of them shirtless, some waving flags and towels. Squad cars, motorcycles and horses moved down the streets to part the crowds and barking police dogs pushed people to the sidewalks.
Police made several arrests, leading some of the more boisterous revelers away in handcuffs, but the number of arrests was not known.
"We have a few arrests. For the most part people are being orderly but we've got a few people who don't want to leave," said Commander George Trotsky of the Zone 2 police station.
As the game ended dramatically with the Penguins holding on for a 2-1 victory against the Detroit Red Wings in Game 7, fans inside the bars roared and cheered. Outside, Pittsburgh police and Allegheny County sheriff's office vehicles crawled down Carson in search of out-of-hand party-goers.
When the game ended and the crowds moved into the streets around 10:45 p.m., some officers with dogs tried to push them back onto the sidewalks. But the crowd soon swelled and pushed onto the streets, where they remained for about an hour.
"Its awesome!" shouted Dan Jacobs, 23, of Baldwin, who was back on the South Side after four years of college in Boise, Idaho. He joined up with friends at a party on 17th Street. He paused to show off his Jordan Staal jersey -- "because he's so hot" -- before rushing off with friend Renee Amendola to find a rest room.
"I would say it's controlled chaos," said Zack Kasper, of New Brighton. "I have never seen anything like this."
Farther down on 21st and Jane streets, housemates Adam Sirianni and William Lorton, both 23, stretched a bedsheet on the side of their row house and projected the game for the neighborhood to see. Friends and family gathered under a palm-tree shaped "8-man beer bong" and cheered as cars slowed and honked.
Police had planned to keep all city streets open during the celebrations, although the South Side revelry forced police to shut down parts of East Carson Street.
Eventually, a SWAT team closed off East Carson Street at 20th Street about 11:45 p.m., and officers with bullhorns told the crowds to disperse move out of the roadway. Police on horseback eventually joined them, and together they pushed fans back onto the sidewalks and cleared Carson.
Things were somewhat less chaotic in Oakland, where several hundred fans gathered near the corner of Forbes Avenue and South Bouquet Street and chanted "Let's go Pens!"
University of Pittsburgh police and city police, many armed with batons and wearing riot gear, kept the fans off the streets so that traffic could get through Oakland.
Jon Welsh, 22, a Pitt senior studying industrial engineering, "They've got this under control. They're keeping the students off the streets."
He said he was "right in the middle of things during the Super Bowl celebrations in February, and there were thousands, a much bigger crowd."
Police said there were no major incidents in Oakland. At least two couches were torched on Meyran Avenue.
Mike Dejulio, 24, of Bridgeville, wearing a blue Penguins jersey, said he drove into Oakland just to be a part of the scene and join in the celebrations.
"Only in Pittsburgh," he said. "It's awesome."
First Published June 13, 2009 1:17 am