Local Students Sound Off on New Kids
Some Grade-Schoolers Are Confused by Heroes' Bad Behavior
QUINCY, MA--Standing across the street from St. Joseph's Church in Quincy Point, ten-year-old Elizabeth Mancuso was confused about her favorite music group--New Kids on the Block.
Elizabeth, along with scores of her classmates--the boys dressed in navy blue pants and light blue shirts, the girls wearing green, blue and yellow plaid skirts and gold shirts--had just filed out of St. Joseph's School, a local parochial school in the heart of New Kids country.
A fifth-grader, Elizabeth said she often goes to her friend Alicia Bertrand's house to watch the band's videos. Freckle-faced with straight auburn hair, Elizabeth said she now has some doubts about the New Kids.
"You hear all these things about them. I watched this video about them and they said they didn't do anything wrong. Now I don't know what to think," Elizabeth said.
Reports of ill-tempered behavior on the part of the teenage group have been rife throughout the summer. Just down the road from the school, at a bar called the Tent, there was said to be a scuffle between New Kid Joe McIntyre, his brother and a local man. Several weeks later, two of Donnie Wahlberg's brothers were arrested at a party in Braintree, minutes away from St. Joe's.
And most recently, a Harvard junior accused Wahlberg of assaulting him after a dispute over an airplane seat.
The schoolchildren, gathered across the street waiting for their parents to meet them, said they learned of these reports both from the news and from word of mouth.
Ten-year old Alicia Bertrand said she felt sorry for Donnie, but said her idol should keep himself out of trouble.
"He shouldn't just start a fight at five o'clock in the morning," she said. "He was probably tired and cranky, but he shouldn't just start a fight."
When the schoolkids learned that an interview about the New Kids was taking place, many rushed to give a reporter their opinion, forming a circle pulsating with youthful energy and emotion.
"They're no good 'cause Donny flies up on a rope," said seven-year old Joe Mancuso, referring to an act during the New Kids tour that simulates flying. Mancuso, his black hair cut in a crew-cut, was disappointed because he could tell that Wahlberg wasn't really flying.
Nicole Trabucco, 11, wore a blue St. Joe's jacket and said she had another opinion about the New Kids: "I absolutely hate them."
Nicole said she prefers such rap artists as M.C. Hammer and the controversial Public Enemy.
But, she said, she did not want to criticize the New Kids that much. "I'm not going to say that much bad stuff about Donnie, because my niece is in love with him."
Bespectacled 13-year old Kevin Dwyer, who hopes to attend the elite parochial Boston College High School, said he also did not like the New Kids. "They present a stereotype about how boys should be."
Alicia's mother, Donna, said she thought Donnie was arrogant.
"We're upset with Donnie because we asked him for his autograph and he was very rude to us," she said. Bertrand said she was driving one day down Dorchester Avenue near the Fields Corner section of Dorchester, when she spotted Wahlberg talking to a group of girls.
She stopped the car and the children ran out to get his autograph.
"All he wrote was a big D," she said.
While Mrs. Bertrand was upset by the New Kids' egos, her daughter had something different on her mind.
Alicia was excited to attend a "baby shower" across the street from Wahlberg's Braintree home yesterday. She said she planned to babysit a small child there, and push the baby in a stroller "up and down the street."
And she had one final message to the Dorchester homeboy music group: "Joe McIntyre, I love you!" she squealed.