BALTIMORE — Crowds estimated by city police in the thousands rushed to the city’s entertainment districts as the clock wound down to the Ravens’ Super Bowl victory Sunday night.
Doors opened and houses emptied in Federal Hill and adjacent neighborhoods as revelers, some carrying sparklers, abandoned house parties and bars and made for the heart of the entertainment district, Cross Street, where police had closed intersections to allow for a street party.
Excited and shouting fans in purple jerseys filled at least two blocks of South Charles Street as police watched the joyous celebration from the edges, not bothering to interfere with minor transgressions, such as drinking in public.
Some fans climbed onto rowhouse rooftops or newspaper boxes while others stood on porch roofs to get a good view. Fireworks cracked over Light Street, one of the neighborhood’s main thoroughfares. Motorists who tried to maneuver found themselves stuck in gridlock and swarmed by crowds, though the horn blasts were of celebration rather than aggravation.
The Baltimore Sun reported that one vehicle was seen being driven away from the area with a smashed front windshield.
Baltimore police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said there were similar crowds near the Inner Harbor, around a nightclub area called Power Plant Live, as well as in the waterfront communities of Canton and Fells Point.
Police could not say how many arrests were made, but they reported few problems. In Federal Hill, Guglielmi said two news vans — belonging to Fox 45 and WBAL-TV — were damaged as people tried to clamber atop the vehicles. There were some other reports of people climbing on top of cars, and a few potted plants were overturned. But aside from what would be a mess of empty beer cans and food wrappers, there appeared to be little damage and few reports of trouble.
By midnight, police started to slowly disperse the crowds. Orders came from a low-flying police helicopter for revelers to clear streets in Federal Hill, and officers on horseback pushed through the crowd to force people back onto sidewalks.
Police also closed streets leading into the city, noting that after the game people were streaming into downtown to take part in the parties. Police diverted cars away from the entertainment areas, even closing the southbound Jones Falls Expressway well north of the Inner Harbor. Motorists trying to reach the waterfront found themselves turned around and back on a highway heading out of the city.