Serenity returns to Roxborough business after months of tension with teenagers

These days, it’s quiet outside of Yoga on the Ridge in Roxborough. Owner Theresa Conroy couldn’t be more relieved.

“It’s great. It’s just like normal,” she said recently from her Conarroe Street yoga studio.

Conroy’s hard-won, but cautious sense of ease comes after a nearly year-long struggle with a group of teenagers that, she says, routinely terrorized her and her clients.

While hanging out behind a 7-Eleven feet from the studio’s front door, Conroy said the teens would often shout obscenities, make threats and vandalize the outside of the business. She said they were often drinking alcohol or smoking marijuana at the time.

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At one point, the teens allegedly set fire to a pile of studio schedules she’d left in a mounted box just outside the entrance. She’d often show up to work to find graffiti on the outside dumpsters and signs.

Initially, she would ask the kids to leave but as time wore on, her patience wore thin. 

A few weeks ago, after the situation reached a boiling point, Conroy created a Facebook page called “Dirtballs of Roxborough.” The idea: to raise awareness of the problem by posting pictures of the offending teenagers and their work.

“I was hoping I’d get support. I was hoping that maybe some of the parents would see the Facebook page and see what their kid was doing,” said Conroy in an earlier interview.

The page, posted in mid-April, did gain some support before Conroy took it down about a week later. That came shortly after a Roxborough resident created a page in opposition to Conroy’s called “Help Take a Stand Against this Dirtballs of Roxborough Page.”

Referencing that page, which remains online, Conroy said, “It was like I had a virtual 7-Eleven on Facebook. It was ugly.”

The reason for the group’s recent absence from the afternoon and evening haunt is not completely clear. But Conroy thinks it could be attributed to more vigilant police patrolling in the area.

Her husband, Don Russell (a.k.a. “Joe Sixpack,” a beer columnist for the Daily News), recently met with officers from the city’s 5th Police District to talk about the problems at his wife’s business. Conroy had called the station several times before to alert them to various incidents, but the teens always came back.

Lt. Lynn said the district has been increasing patrols in the area and giving some specific attention to Yoga on the Ridge.

From approximately the last week in April to the first in May, Lynn said officers issued more than 30 summary citations to teens for loitering, drinking underage and public intoxication at different locations throughout the district.

Some of those citations were handed out behind the 7-Eleven, said Lynn. He could not say how many.

Lynn believes the district’s upgraded attention is paying off.

“If you’re stopped and cited and given a fine and community service, it’s going to send a message out to the people who are doing it,” he said. 

The district held a temporary Nuisance Court on May 6 to process some of the citations officers wrote up, said Lynn.

Either way, Conroy is just happy that serenity has finally returned to her yoga studio. She doesn’t really want to worry about why.

“It’s one of those things where you don’t want to jinx it,” said Conroy.

This is a revised version of the original article. NewsWorks added more information about Conroy’s efforts to defuse the situation before posting her complaints online. 

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