Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

The Drake And Hanson Riot At South Street Seaport

PEOPLE SHOULD 'THANK HIM LATER' BECAUSE THIS CROWD WAS 'OVER' WAITING 'FOREVER' FOR THE 'SUCCESSFUL' SHOW TO START BECAUSE THEY WERE WAITING FOR AN EXPERIENCE THAT WOULD RIVAL 'THE BEST THEY'VE EVER HAD'Around 2 or 3 p.m. yesterday, a large group of teens started congregating around the South Street Seaport. They were milling around waiting for the start of a free concert by the rapper Drake (whose album came out/"dropped" yesterday). Unfortunately for them, and the rest of us that showed up, that concert never happened, and what did ensue was a weird riot-type thing that resulted in metal chairs and tables being thrown off balconies and police having to eventually spray the crowd with mace.

It all started out harmless enough, normal overcrowding issues with just just too many people in the Seaport area. Which, in retrospect, sort of makes sense: when you consider the fact that there was a line of people at midnight at the Best Buy in Union Square waiting for a chance to pay money to buy Drake's album, presumably a lot more people would show up for the chance to see a free concert held by said Drake on a nice Tuesday afternoon.

The concert started at 6 p.m. and Drake was scheduled to go on at 7:45-after opening acts Ninja Sonik and Hanson (yes THAT Hanson, the ones who sang "Mmmbop") were supposed to have their own little sets. Around 6:15, Ninja Sonik ended up doing about 2 minutes and then stopping, and Hanson, according to people backstage, looked out at the mob scene outside with limited security and didn't feel comfortable going on.

RECIPE FOR DISASTERAround 7 p.m., as everyone was jostling for a better view of the stage, some people started to climb up and sit on those rooftop sort of things of the little kiosks at South Street Seaport. Police started yelling at those (mostly) teens to get off the roof, and that's when everything started to get a little wackadoo.

The authorities then thought it better to start to clear people out. But the thing is, if you're a kid whose been waiting for three to four hours to see rap superstar Drake, you're not looking to get told that you have to leave the same area that you've been perched upon after having to have heard a two minute set by Ninja Sonik. People started shouting and general unrest turned into crazy mob mode. The Heartland Brewery Restaurant and Pub across the street locked its doors (with patrons inside) because they saw what was happening outside.

If you've never been to the South Street Seaport, it's sort of like an outdoor strip mall on the water with two levels of stores. The top level also has a little terrace with outdoor furniture and other outdoor mall type things. As people started getting angrier, they started to throw trash from the ground floor of the terrace up to the second floor. This quickly escalated to glass bottles, and then the sort of pièce de résistance, the aforementioned outdoor furniture. The next thing you knew, there were chairs, tables, and plants being thrown from the top level onto the bottom level.

Things started to settle down, but as people were still holding out to see the free Drake concert that they were promised, no one was really evacuating the area. Police went up to get the people who were throwing the lawn furniture and took them out, but still people were still holding court wherever they had been waiting for hours.

Finally the police started to tell people to clear out and that the show was canceled. As I'm sure you can imagine, the crowd did not take this news particularly well. As the officers walked through and out of the crowd with the people they had arrested from the balcony, there was a swarm that just surrounded them-lots of them taking pictures. At that point, it got even more intense and the police started to spray mace through the crowd, with the obvious result that 200 to 300 people began dispersing as quickly as they could. It was like those times when a kid runs through a group of pigeons and they all fly away in a big mob, running into each other, making this big mass of feathers, only instead of pigeons it was kids wearing fitted New Era hats and Air Jordans.

After the mace incident, people seemed to understand that Drake wasn't going on, and things started to, relatively, calm down. Eventually Drake released a statement to the website Rap Radar:

I am humbled by the crowd that showed up in support of my performance and the release of Thank Me Later. I love performing for my fans but unfortunately the show was canceled by the NYPD due to over crowding, leaving me without the chance to give my fans a real show. I'm thankful for the support that the fans have been giving me… I thank you now.

So at least that's good.

Photo and video via Rap Radar; second photo by Ben Detrick.

48 Comments / Post A Comment

saythatscool (#101)

"At that point, it got even more intense and the police started to spray mace through the crowd, with the obvious result that 200 to 300 people began dispersing as quickly as they could. It was like those times when a kid runs through a group of pigeons and they all fly away in a big mob, running into each other, making this big mass of feathers, only instead of pigeons it was kids wearing fitted New Era hats and Air Jordans."

Cho, that sentence alone makes you a gottdamned poet.


deepomega (#1,720)

What's the difference between a pigeon and a kid at a Drake concert?

I would not, as a lawyer, recommend killing every pigeon.

Matt Wilstein (#4,163)

Hear/download Drake feat. Jay-Z and Lil' Wayne – Light Up (Rikers remix) // Weezy adds a verse to Drake's "Light Up" from over the phone at Riker's Island:

cherrispryte (#444)

Well this puts everything in context. I could not, for the life of me, figure out why the hell teenagers were rioting over Hanson.

Also, as someone who gets uncomfortable in unorganized crowds, this is one of my nightmares, right here.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

I could not, for the life of me, figure out why the hell teenagers were rioting over Hanson.
exactly. It occurred to me that those particular teenagers should've grown up by now.

djfreshie (#875)

It's mental. I was Hanson's guitar tech for a Toronto show a couple years ago. Girls were lined up around the block overnight. Not old girls…tweens and teenagers (and their moms, who would probably have been older than the generation marketed to during the mmmbop days) They wanted me to give them their sweat rags and guitar picks after the show. It was creepy; These guys were popular when I was in high school, and were a joke. That was eons ago. They still play the same songs. The music has not changed, and I feel like until they get gray beards, they will have a fanbase.

"Not old girls…" LOL

djfreshie (#875)

You got Oxymoron'd!

keisertroll (#1,117)

I actually met self-proclaimed Hanson "BAND-AIDS". They were helping my college paper one week, and kept on asking who Woodward and Bernstein were, and what "A Streetcar Named Desire" was.

Miles Klee (#3,657)

this was nothing, you should have seen the shootout at the pains of being pure at heart show last summer.

Matt (#26)

Hiring the Hells Angels for security at the Pepsi Maxxx Chillwave Big Chill Out festival was a poor choice, in hindsight.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

that's the fuckin' worst
that's the fuckin' worst
that's the fuckin' worst
that's the fuckin' worst,
worst i ever saw,
worst i ever saw,
worst i ever saw,
worst i ever saw

Dave Bry (#422)

I know way too many people are throwing chairs right now/That weren't throwing chairs last year.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

(again: NSFL.)

David Cho (#3)


garge (#736)

@AY: wow, all the good URLs really ARE taken!

Art Yucko (#1,321)

@garge: dubdubdub dot OOF dot com slash donttryitagain.

ericdeamer (#945)

THAT VIDEO IS HILARIOUS BUT IS NSF ANYWHERE ON THE FUCKING PLANET! (or possibly to view at all, regardless of location).

ericdeamer (#945)

Also, maybe "What am I doin'? What am I doin'?/Oh yeah that's right I'm throwin' chairs"?

kneetoe (#1,881)

Thank you, Cho, for recognizing that glass bottles are recyclable and not "trash."

Art Yucko (#1,321)

also, in depressing observations: the only place left to actually "buy" a flesh-and-plastic album anymore is fucking Best Buy.

Or Starbucks!

Screen Name (#2,416)

Nice eyewitness account. Also, factor in the weather, which was great, the Water Taxi Beach behind Pier 17, which this year has attracted a significant after-work crowd, and the Puma City World Cup takeover on the Seaport Strip Mall that has proved to be a very large tourist draw and it was the perfect storm for an over-capacity crowd, Drake notwithstanding.

I live a couple blocks from the Seaport and go to most of the concerts there. I was headed to this one about 7:30, having told everyone I was going to see Drake even though everyone knew I was really going to see Hanson. I could tell walking from the Brooklyn Bridge subway that something weird had happened. Seeing the video, that crowd is far and away the largest crowd I've ever seen down there for a show. The only other crowd that even came close was maybe a few years ago when The National played.

It's too bad, but I think it had far more to do with too many simultaneous events in such a small space rather than anything directly related to the fact Drake was supposed to play. Still, like most Hanson fans, I holed up in the Irish pub down the street just to be on the safe side.

David Cho (#3)

The other things were obviously happening and didn't help, but based on this picture yesterday afternoon early on, I think the HUGE HUGE HUGE number of people being there was a Drake thing -

zidaane (#373)

Issac: (looks out at crowd)
Taylor: "What do you think?"
Issac: "Drake can go fuck himself."

Screen Name (#2,416)

@dc "a Drake thing"… and just like that, a new release from a Canadian rapper has been named.

mickeyitaliano (#2,202)

Would rather listen to Nick Drake or Drake Sather (both R.I.P.) while eating Drakes Cakes than to be around this bullshite…

I'd rather be operated on by Dr. Drake Ramoray.

I was there also. Shit was bananas. Some pensees: Luckily, I was protected from the riff-raff by the Paper magazine tent. But I knew things were going to go sideways when local terrestrial radio promoters started mingling. I am sort of an urban anthropologist and immediately knew that something was amiss. No offense intended, but a large number of the people who listen to the repetitive dreck they play on terrestrial goddam radio were precisely the ones who were jumping on rooftops, threatening "security," and generally raining glass bottles on the crowd. The shit was already well-promoted online virally, but to add the terretrial radio crowd — to a fucking FREE concert by the BIGGEST act in hip-hop — was madness. Madness. The shit was waa-a-y overpromoted; and, yes, PR people, there is such a thing. Kudos to Paper magazine's staff, who saved by delicate-Ugandan bones from the devilry.

Worst of all, I brought a date and she was so distraught by the whole chaos that I didn't get MmBop last night. Fuck you very much, Drake and Hanson!

deepomega (#1,720)

Hanson is basically aural lube. One song and the ladies are ready.

atlasfugged (#4,481)

@deepomega: Funny. Whenever I cruise around Jersey, blasting "Mmmbop" out the windows of my tri-tone Dodge Sportsman, it seems to have the opposite effect.

Where was that Jesus striking lightening when we needed it?

Uglatto (#938)

Light a candle for the poor German tourists who were trapped in the middle of that unfortunate mess.

LolCait (#460)

I just don't understand all these hip-hop fans dying to see a Canadian rapper who used to be on Degrassi. I mean, A CANADIAN RAPPER. It just boggles the mind.

Hanson still rocks.

garge (#736)

ZOMG. I am out of the loop when it comes to contemporary music, but Degrassi?! Now you are speaking my language! (He was the last one I imagined to traverse to a successful career in the performing arts).

keisertroll (#1,117)

You, my friend, have never experienced the greatness that is Snow.

HiredGoons (#603)

Yes, this also is where I get lost.

The projects of Toronto just doesn't have the same panache.

Slava (#216)

Especially since Drake is actually from affluent suburbs around here

atlasfugged (#4,481)

@keiser: What this world really needs are more licky, boom, boom, downs.

Aileen Gallagher (#4,450)

I'm so old and stupid that when I heard about this on the radio this morning I assumed the riot was about Hanson.

migraineheadache (#1,866)

I'm sort of disappointed no one threw a pizza off the terrace.

I need that thing for which I didn't pay a dime and didn't even know about 24 hours ago! And I'm not leaving until I get it!!!

City_Dater (#2,500)

And this is why I cross the street/change subway cars/sit on the furthest park bench whenever I see more than four teenagers together.
Lord of the Flies was a documentary…

SeaBassTian (#281)

Now I have that image of pigeons wearing fitted New Eras and Air Jordans seared into my frontal lobe. I should Photo-shop that icon and create a new avatar.

SeaBassTian (#281)

DAHNK-uh shoon! Now the melee has some lasting merit.

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