BOSTON (AP) – Authorities in Boston closed streets, towed parked cars and restricted alcohol sales in some parts of the city Sunday evening in an effort to ensure Super Bowl revelry remained controlled and safe.

The measures were particularly strict in the Kenmore Square area, a frequent party spot crowded with bars, restaurants and students from nearby Boston University, Northeastern University and other schools.

Still, New England Patriots fans said they were ready to embrace a history: The Patriots would be the first team to finish 19-0 if they defeat the New York Giants at the Super Bowl in Arizona.

“People are very confident. They’re already planning on them winning,” said Sharon O’Driscoll, general manager of the Stadium Sports Bar and Grill in Boston, which was filled to capacity by brunch time. O’Driscoll called in extra bartenders, wait staff, security, and kitchen workers for Sunday.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino announced plans last week to restrict alcohol sales in some parts of downtown Boston toward the end of the game. Police were doing walkthroughs of bars to monitor for alcohol and crowd violations.

“We are all very excited that the New England Patriots are playing in Super Bowl XLII and battling for an unprecedented 19-0 season, but public safety remains our No. 1 priority,” Menino said.

Cars parked in the Kenmore Square area were towed and streets closed to traffic earlier Sunday. Police took similar measures when the Red Sox won the World Series in October.

Pointed warnings were issued to students at universities across the state.

On the flagship campus of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, local and state police were on call. University authorities warned students last week of the consequences – including expulsion – for unruly behavior.

They also were monitoring areas where students are prone to gather in big crowds, notably the southwest “tower area” where a large plaza tends to draw groups of celebrants.

Massachusetts is particularly sensitive to fan safety after two people were killed in recent years in post-game celebrations.

James Grabowski, 21, a Northeastern student, was killed during Patriots Super Bowl victory celebrations in 2004 when a drunken driver plowed through a crowd of revelers who had poured into the streets.

Victoria Snelgrove, 21, a student at Emerson College, died after the Red Sox came from behind against the New York Yankees to win the American League championship in October 2004. She was struck in the head by a pepper pellet fired by police during crowd-control effort.

An independent investigation into her death faulted the police for poor planning and serious errors of judgment.

Boston city officials have coordinated with the State Police, university police and law enforcement agencies throughout the region to ensure a coordinated public safety plan.

AP-ES-02-03-08 1901EST


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