Turtleboy Investigates

Wonders Of The Woo: Skaters vs. Tracy Novick’s Junkie Army Fight For Control Of Back Alley In Canal District

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In today’s episode of Wonders of the Woo, Turtleboy Investigates went to a small crevice of the city that few have ventured towards. There is a little hidden gem located at the end of Washington Street, where it meets the CSX railroad tracks and McGrath Boulevard. To get there you have to drive by one of Worcester’s biggest eyesores – this random parking lot:

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It will bring you to a magical place that the locals call “Worcide.”

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So the only time you would’ve ever stumbled upon this place is if you went down to the Canal District and couldn’t find a place to park. It’s basically right behind the Union Tavern on Green Street, and it connects to Green Street via Plymouth Street, which empties out to the Lucky Dog Cafe. Worcester Magazine did a good expose on this place last year. Scratch that – it was actually great article and very informative. Awesome job by Josh Lyford.

For years it’s been a junkie haven. I mean, if you were looking for a place to shoot up with your hobo friends, you can’t find a much better spot. But local skateboarders have been trying to turn it into a skatepark, because apparently Worcester is lacking in that department. Thus it seemingly has become a battleground between Tracy Novick’s finest and local skaters.

Here’s what we know about the history of this place:

  • It was founded in 2007 by a couple local skaters who saw potential in a pile of trash and a bunch of junkies.
  • Local skaters began the work themselves by laying down concrete and putting up jersey barriers.
  • A local skater named Jamie Dube became the de facto organizer, helping to finance it by holding punk shows, art shows, and soliciting donations from local businesses.
  • Local businesses are happy about it because it helped to drive the junkie express away from their areas.
  • It’s been a constant battle between the skaters and the junkies, with Tracy Novick’s finest often stealing scrap metal used as part of the creation of the park, in addition to dropping their needles and trash everywhere. More than likely they poop there too.
  • The city doesn’t sanction this officially, but they kind of do. The Worcester Regional Environmental Council has helped provide resources for the clean up.
  • The cops are unofficially OK with it, since it means they don’t have to shoo away the junkies as much.
  • Who owns the land? Well, it’s kind of bizarre. The city claims that CSX owns it (it is abutted by train tracks), and CSX claims the city owns it. Consequently no one is responsible for cleaning it up. CSX could have easily taken over the land as they did with a lot of the land near Franklin Street, but they almost seem to encourage the unofficial skate park. They only have an easement on the land – they own the land above it, but the city owns the land below it.

The bottom line is, it has to belong to someone, and it’s ridiculous that they can’t figure out who. I mean, wars have been fought over land this small. We should be able to figure this out, or we could just say “fuck it.” Apparently the city has chosen the latter.

So who is winning the battle between the junkies and skaters? Let’s explore.

The first thing you’ll be greeted by as you enter Worcide are the rules:

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No rapers allowed. Well that’s a relief!!

While there are some ramps, it’s pretty clear that the skaters are fighting an uphill battle:

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“Kill cops.” I guess we found where RBG’s been sleeping.

As you can see there is a lot of artwork down at Worcide:

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But the artists works seems to be going to waste. That’s because the junkies like to add their own artwork to Worcide. For instance:

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Yea, sure. It’s the city that’s killing you. Not the shit you’re putting into your body. Definitely.

They also have some great life advice:

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“Make sure to jerk yourself off before AND after tagging.” That’s the junkie’s creed right there. Apparently these guys have been stockpiling 4 Lokos since before it became illegal too:

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We spoke with Jamie Dube today, and he tells us that it is in fact still a functioning, unofficial skate park. He says that he skated there earlier this week. But he admits that it is an uphill battle. Every time they go there they have to break down hobo encampments and clean up the needles. But it’s not like they go there every day. And this is what happens when it’s left alone for a few days. First they start boozing and pounding pills:

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Then they make their beds:

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Then they have their dinner time meal of 4 Lokos and rat poop, before settling in for some Bible study:

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When they wake up in the morning that’s when the fun starts!!! Typically they head over to Kelley Square for some early morning panhandling. Luckily they can continue to fuel their habits because School Committee member Tracy Novick filed a lawsuit against the city over its panhandling ordinance, and won in federal court. After they get enough money from dumbasses who think they’re fixing poverty and have alleviated themselves of their white privilege guilt, they go downtown and find Martinez, because everyone knows Martinez’ shit is the bomb!!

After that they lace up and get the day started. But they always remember to pick up their needles. LOL. Just kidding:

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If they have enough time in the day and they’re still functioning and able to stand, they might get down for some hot hobo love making. Be warned though:

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You are? I figured the crackhead under the railroad tracks would be clean as a whistle!! Boy was I wrong:

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Oops!!

The bottom line is that it’s clear that this land belongs to the city and they just don’t wanna deal with it. Sure, they could take the initiative, clean this crap up, and fence it off, but then they wouldn’t be able to give $300,000 a year to Mosaic for non-existent hypertension treatment. So this is what we get instead:

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Speaking with Jamie Dube, they’d love nothing more than to take this off of the city’s hands. The city already owns a skatepark at Green Hill, but from what we are told it’s poorly designed and rather craptacular. It seems like a simple solution – sell it to these skaters for dirt cheap and allow them to continue to finance it privately. Then the city can collect the minimum amount of property taxes annually that they would owe, which would still be more than Tracy Novick has ever paid in property taxes while living in Worcester. Local businesses win, the skaters get a cool park, the junkies will move to Webster, and Tracy Novick will lose reelection. Everyone’s a winner.

Of course we know this ain’t gonna happen as long as Joe Petty and Ed Augusts are running the show. They’ve had their chance and they let this issue persist. Vote for change in November. Vote the Turtleboy Ticket…

Mayor: Michael Gaffney

City Council: Gaffney, Rob Sargent, Konnie Lukes

District 1: Cindy Nguyen

District 4: Jackie Kostas

District 5: Gary Rosen

School Committee: Nicola D’Andrea, Donna Colorio, Brian O’Connell

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30 Comment(s)
  • Gayle
    October 26, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    Again thank you turtleboy for trying to keep this subject alive ,when it is actually City Administration i responsibility. What have they done?
    Below is a primer for basic understanding of the uninformed ,of what the skateboard kids (age 6-26 -I can ,respectfully call them kids because I’m much ,much older) want .
    The City of Worcester ,supposedly has a Parks Dept. But it is in name only even tho it gets to spend a lot of CSX ,mitigation fund and state and Federal funding called Open Space Plans , which is suppose to improve cities.

    http://www.skatepark.org/park-development/parkdesign/2010/11/types-of-skateparks/
    Skate Dot:
    Skate Spot
    Neighborhood Skatepark
    Regional Skatepark: 
    Skateparks by Style
    Skateable Art: 
    Street Plaza: 
    Halfpipes, Bowls and Pools (Transition): Transition parks 
    Hybrid Parks

  • Gayle
    October 26, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    Glad you wrote this article and also that a neighbor to Worcide ,AMC Demolition, wrote their support of Worcide.
    The problem is that if the City wasn’t allowed ( by its residents ) to get away repeatingly with run around tactics ,that the City uses in its Administration, this City would have benefits for all instead of a few. Blend Worcide with the kids skateboarding on the common( Bill Coleman brought up again recently to City Council) and repeated requests from Tatnuck residents ( Bill Eddy did a motion a few years back ) and you can see that skateboarding is going the same route as “dog issues” . The City takes the divide and conquer approach ,while spending millions on Parks that only serve the “in crowd”.

  • BobnMic
    October 23, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    The Red Sox AAA (PawSox becoming WoSox) team could fix the problem down there in a huge way. That whole area could be parking for a stadium built on the old Morgan (whatever it’s called) lot!

    • Wabbitt
      wabbitt
      October 23, 2015 at 11:46 pm

      Wyman-Gordon.

      • BobnMic
        October 24, 2015 at 1:02 am

        Thank you Wabbit. A bit of a brain fart my good man.

  • Fire
    October 23, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    That last “needle” is actually nasal narcan. Distributed to junkies now so they can make sure to get as high as possible, be on the brink of death, but have a junkie friend bring them back to continue their mission of ruining this city.

  • Nanny
    October 23, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    I’m a “mind your business, live and let live” guy.

    I’m appalled that people live like this in my hometown. Just awful.

  • October 23, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    https://instagram.com/p/9E5NwPJnDL/ be sure to come down and support or hate in person whatever you want.

  • Geoff
    October 23, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    You should of seen this place in 2007. Some official recognition and support is overdue.

  • danny
    October 23, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    Do u think Petty sends a shuttle bus by on election day

    • Wabbitt
      wabbitt
      October 23, 2015 at 11:44 pm

      Kevin Ksen will swing by with the rape van.

    • StupidIsAsStupidDoes
      October 24, 2015 at 4:42 pm

      It definitely goes to Plumley.

    • Fillet o fish
      October 25, 2015 at 5:13 pm

      No they vote by absentee ballot. Not funny because it’s true.

  • Publius
    October 23, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    It is unfortunate that more are not allowed to just pass. resources that could be spent on the truly needy are wasted.

    • mousy
      October 23, 2015 at 3:58 pm

      I don’t disagree with your sentiment. The moral choice is not always the easy choice, though. Mad respect for the first responders who have to see this every day.

  • AMC Demolition
    October 23, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    Being Worcide’s neighbor We have a front row seat to this battle and while we’d love to see the skaters win and be given the site, it’s not that easy. Even if they owned the site I don’t know how much better they could secure it. When we first moved here, after our complaints, the city put up a chain link fence which lasted about a week before the junkies cut through it and eventually tore it down. Short of occupying the site 24/7 I don’t know how they can protect it. But on the positive side as bad as your pictures look it was 100 times worse before the Worcide Crew started. On the negative side at least twice this summer there were EMT crews there responding to overdoses and both times the paramedics told me the person was basically dead but they gave them a few shots of Narcan and brought them back to life. When I asked how much each dose cost and how did the “victim” pay for it the Paramedics just laughed.

    • Jdubya
      October 24, 2015 at 8:31 am

      The cost of Narcan is $42 per kit (i’m relying on Google references here). The EMT’s (and of course the exorbitant equipment costs) I can’t put a number on.

  • mousy
    October 23, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    sk8, don’t h8

  • Wabbitt
    wabbitt
    October 23, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    Umm… no. Webster is already full up on junkies. But Southbridge is welcome to them.

    • Skeptical
      October 23, 2015 at 3:49 pm

      The Sun looks like it might be a good location instead.

    • Jules
      October 23, 2015 at 5:48 pm

      Took the words right out of my mouth.

  • Publius
    October 23, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    Tracy Novick did this and Petty allows it

  • Small Town Internet Lawyer
    October 23, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    If my small town Internet law is still good… They should just annex this land from the city. And then be like Tracy Novick and refuse to pay property tax.

    Simple… I’ll draw up some paperwork tomorrow

  • RSoxGuy
    October 23, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    The “artwork” down there is actually pretty impressive.

    I say let the skaters and junkies fight it out down there. Skaters win every time.

    Burn the hobo beds and trash and they wont come back. Wat a disgusting mess of needles and drugs. Thanks Tracey!!!!

  • MS
    October 23, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    if you go by there on a cold night you can see the camp fires burning

  • matt
    October 23, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    alert(“test”);

  • Coffee Turtle
    October 23, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    And yet the skaters and junkies are still shredding it up on the common.

    • Fillet o fish
      October 25, 2015 at 5:10 pm

      Why would a member of the School Committee file a lawsuit to have panhandling continue? 1) its not within her purview 2) she’s making Worcester LESS safe for school children!

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