So last night Paper Magazine threw a fun party for the city of New York, invited ostensibly popular hip-hop star Drake to perform for the nice people on the day his new record saw release, and to round out the bill, they added former teenager-boppers turned vehemently defended practitioners of Midwestern blue-eyed soul Hanson and Brooklyn electro-rappers Ninjasonik. That was nice of Paper Magazine, trying to bring musical worlds together like that. Unfortunately, the thousands of people who showed up at the South Street Seaport—more than twice the amount expected—didn’t exactly get along.
The Village Voice’s Zach Baron (who predicted this whole thing!) was on the scene for the inevitable riot that broke out, which he now reports was sparked when some couple—their passions inflamed by the intangible electricity that comes from standing around waiting for things—began “simulating sex in the middle of the crowd.” Most onlookers were apparently “into it,” so when a plainclothes policeman moved in to intervene, a civilian began accosting him, provoking a uniformed cop to respond. Things only got worse from there, with the crowd climbing over every available kiosk to find safety (or more likely, a proper vantage point to watch the shitstorm)—eventually even breaking the mixing board, according to Hanson. Ninjasonik, which had almost managed to play a full song, was then charged with telling everyone the concert was canceled. Unsurprisingly, the audience wasn’t exactly thrilled, and they soon turned on each other, as Baron describes:
The primary theater of battle? The northern side of the Seaport, where fans standing on the balcony in front of shops and restaurants began raining bottles down on the crowd below, who promptly returned fire. As things escalated, the bottles turned from plastic to glass. Then, at the peak of the fight, kids on the upper level began tossing steel chairs off the balcony. That was when people really started to run. It was also about at that moment that the police finally broke through the crowd and stormed the second level, where they too were momentarily pelted with bottles. We watched a few kids on the deck attempt to shove or otherwise assault the cops who were trying desperately to clear them out. In turn, more than one officer took out her baton, though the police had the situation in hand relatively quickly.
After that, it was mostly crowd dispersal, and stray fights. Helicopters buzzed overhead. Standing across from the Seaport, we watched as hundreds of kids suddenly went scrambling away from the stage area in terror. We asked one why he was running. "Mace," he said.
And since this is 2010, seemingly one out of every five attendees caught the whole thing on video. Here’s some footage of the “theater of battle” Baron is talking about featuring those aforementioned steel chairs being launched from the balcony. In the words of one onlooker, "Yoooooo [the humanity]."
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