Volume 23, Number 6 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | June 18 - 24, 2010
Downtown Express photo by John Bayles
Fans mulled around the Seaport on Tues. even after the riot.
Free Concert turns into nightmare for fans
BY John Bayles
Only 5,000 fans were expected on Tuesday for a free concert by the up-and- coming Canadian rapper Drake at the South Street Seaport. Instead, an estimated 20,000 people showed up and when the organizers decided to shut down the show, a riot broke out.
“By the time we got through the crowd there were all of these fights going on,” said 20-year-old, Fulton Street resident Carly Catalama. “I saw people pushing each other and shoving each other. People were telling us to leave because a riot was going to break out.”
There were three acts scheduled to perform, including an opening set by DJ Ninjasonic.
“I was meeting friends there and they had said the DJ was getting the crowd riled up and everybody was having a good time,” said Catalma.
However DJ Ninjasonic only got through one song before the plug was pulled and fans that had gathered on the balcony of UNO Chicago Grill began throwing chairs, potted plants and bottles down into the crowd.
The sponsor of the concert, Paper Magazine, said in a statement via Twitter, “the crowd was much larger than we anticipated,” adding “we will make it up to you guys!”
Isaac Miller, 20, arrived at the concert early to try and get close to the stage so he could see.
“The DJ on the stage was playing a Drake song around 6 p.m.,” said Miller. “Things were getting crowded and 15 minutes later a whole group of people started pushing pretty violently forward. That was kind of scary because we were packed in and the only thing you could do was go with it and people were being pushed up against the barriers.”
Miller said that continued for about and hour and fans began getting angry. Many fans had climbed on top of the information booths and kiosks surrounding the stage. He said the organizers told them to get down or the show was going to be cancelled.
“Someone in front of UNO started swinging from the awning,” said Miller. “I couldn’t see what was going on stage but they weren’t telling us anything. Then I heard mumblings that people were starting a fight up front.”
Miller said he was lucky, He managed to get out of the crowd and across South Street before things got worse.
Catalama said she had been to numerous shows at the Seaport but had never witnessed such a crowd or a riot.
I hate big crowds and there haven’t been many situations in the city where I thought something really bad could happen,” she said. “But because of where the show was located, there was basically only one way in and one way out.”
The stage was set up on the east side of the Seaport right beside the river.
“If they would have put it in the middle of the Seaport, it would have been more accessible.”
Two people were arrested, one for disorderly conduct and another for interfering in the arrest, police said. Six people were hurt, including a police officer who went to help a concertgoer who had climbed on the top of a vendor’s kiosk, police said. “After consultation with the event organizers, a joint decision was made to cancel the rest if the concert,” police said. The disappointed crowd, mostly teenagers, milled around the Seaport for about two hours after the cancellation.