With photo gallery & video: Weather tames notorious Greenwood Avenue block party
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Cigarette in one hand, tall can of Four Loko in the other, a 21-year-old University of Michigan junior named Kurt alternates drags and sips as he scans Ann Arbor's Greenwood Avenue on Friday night. Kurt’s wide smile is not indicative of how he feels about what he called the lamest Greenwood block party he’s ever been to.
As Kurt’s ash crept closer and closer to his filter, his 20-year-old blond friend, Ashley -- also a junior at Michigan -- has had enough to drink to be unabashed about her thoughts on the quiet night before bragging about her home's indoor and outdoor beer pong tables.
“It’s (crappy) because it’s rainy, you know?... And cold,” Ashley said, with a wide smile.
It's a simple, yet complex observation.
It wasn’t the stabbing that occurred at last spring’s bash that tamed the block party notorious for escalating out of hand quickly.
It’s not the steady stream of minor in possession and open intoxicant tickets written at block parties on the fifth-of-a-mile stretch between East University Avenue and Packard Street that kept curious underclassmen under control this time around.
The new keg laws that went into effect in November that increase accountability for distributing to minors may have kept a few houses from offering free beer to anyone strong enough to hold a red Solo cup on their porches, but the only thing that actually kept Greenwood from its usual rowdiness the Friday before the last week of exams, was a slight drizzle and sub-40 degree temperatures.
In other words, the block party was crappy, because it was rainy, you know?
Chris Asadian | AnnArbor.com
Jacobs and his friends had plenty of room on the empty sidewalk to get running starts and jump for the shoes. In year’s past, they might have opted for the roof of a car to reach the sneakers.
That’s the environment they yearned for.
“You could usually get maybe an hour of solid partying before the cops rolled through. Now with the rain, it’s not even going to get that big,” Jacobs said at about 11:45 p.m.,
By then, people had just started arriving in somewhat of masses. It's typically later than the party even lasts.
Ann Arbor police rolled through the narrow one-way street for the first time that night at 12:23 a.m., warning occupants that tear gas would be utilized rather quickly should the block party escalate to the levels it did last spring.
The fact that a single officer in a patrol vehicle with no siren was issuing the warning was a testament to the likelihood of that happening.
The officer had to get out of his car at the largest house party on the block at 935 Greenwood as a theft occurred.
But the officer didn’t get out of his car because the theft happened. The theft happened because he got out of his car. As the officer approached the house to issue the tear gas warning, the music stopped, standard operating procedure when a cop comes to the door.
When the officer left and someone went to turn the music back on, the iPhone that had been hooked up to the stereo system was gone.
“A cop was there, so with the music off no one was paying attention to why. Just figured someone had turned it down for him,” said senior-to-be Andrew Khoury. “It was that perfect intermediary for a person to take (the iPhone).”
With the weather dipping into the low 30s and the rain coming down slowly, but non-stop, most partygoers didn’t venture far from an indoor heat source as oppose to the traditional spilling into the streets.
Friday night on Greenwood wasn’t as much one big block party as it was a block full of separate parties.
Khoury saw a silver lining to the low-key night, even with the theft of his friend’s phone.
“I’m used to it being a sea of two, three, four thousand people. You can’t move. (This year’s) a lot different, but it’s also a good thing because it allows the party to keep going on without getting broken up,” Khoury said.
By 1 a.m., the outdoor beer pong table Ashley was rightfully proud of had long since sat unused on the porch at 911 Greenwood, but there was no reason to call 9-1-1 on Greenwood.
Porches down the street had just a few scattered smokers and by 1:50, a police patrol car started to turn to go down the street, before stopping, backing up, then continuing down East University instead.
There was nothing to see. Nothing to break up. Nothing to tear gas.
Because the block party was crappy, because it was rainy, you know?