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When St. Patrick's Day Revelry Overwhelms a Neighborhood

An influx of partygoers presents tricky logistical questions for enclaves that see their numbers swell.
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Around St. Patrick’s Day three years ago, the Clarendon neighborhood in Arlington County, Virginia—a 40-block swath of bars and apartments across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.—realized it had become a victim of its own success.

Revelers flocked in for a “Shamrock Crawl,” which drew an estimated 5,000 people to an area with a population of 8,700. While the reach of Facebook and Twitter has swelled the size of the crowds, one official says that Uber has also added to the chaos by bringing carloads of partiers to the area at a low price. “They come from Prince William County, Loudoun County, and Prince George’s County in Maryland, from 50 miles away,” says police Corporal Dimitrios Mastoras, who prepares for a St. Patrick’s-themed bar crawl each year as his department’s restaurant liaison officer. Merrymakers can now “get to Arlington for 15 to 20 bucks, whereas a cab was always $50 to $60,” he adds.