Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Battle of the Bands

Early this past Sunday evening, during the concert in Tompkins Square Park, police of the 9th Precinct slapped the concert organizers with a fine of $1500 for "sound levels that were above the permit's stated allowable levels." The Slacktivists will be protesting this ticket next month.

But the punk rockers weren't the only ones making loud music that day.

While most of the 9th Precinct's cops were distracted in the park, a small, socially conscious clothing boutique a couple blocks up 7th Street launched an unannounced concert of their own to accompany their sidewalk fashion show.

A band complete with big amps, electric guitars, and drums, played 80s tunes (Duran Duran, Journey) and TV theme songs (The Jeffersons), attracting 100 or so listeners, who filled the sidewalk and spilled into the street. Traffic had trouble getting through and old ladies with canes and walkers were forced into the street. Neighbors slammed their windows shut on the breezy, temperate day.

I spoke to one frustrated neighbor on the block who had phoned the 9th Precinct multiple times to complain about the blaring music and crowding. The cops had come by, but the band was between sets then.

"They said they couldn't do anything about it," said the neighbor, "because they didn't actually see the band playing," even though a DJ was still blasting music and the instruments were all set up. "I'm calling the cops again," he said. Telling the police "there's a very loud concert on 7th Street" only made them think of Tompkins Square Park.

When I came back through once more, during the band's second or third set, a pair of cops appeared. They waved their arms, cutting off "Sweet Child O' Mine," and said, "You guys got a permit for this?"


"Well, ya sound good," said the cop, "And if I was off duty, I'd have a beer with ya, but without a permit, ya gotta go."

After two hours of illegal playing, the band obligingly packed up their instruments and beers and called it a day. No fines were handed out. The only concert organizers who got ticketed that day were the ones who had a permit for their event.

More pics


Anonymous said...

They were drinking beers on the sidewalk and the cops didn't say anything? I saw them make concertgoers in the park pour out their beers.

These people at least deserved a ticket for trying to cover "Sweet Child O' Mine."

Anonymous said...

I have Epoxied locks of such inconsiderate businesses with a note why it happened, and to make sure they never do it again.

It gives them an attitude adjustment better than any NYPD ticket.

Bet the cop wouldn't like it if it were going down on his suburban block.

Ken Mac said...

Its like hurling pee-filled baloons at cars blaring hip hop at 2 am...sorry, works better than calling the cops.

Anonymous said...

As I'm sure we all know from experience, young whites who look like they have money usually have diffculty getting arrested or ticketed, no matter how hard they try. Remember the "train parties"?
I myself have seen groups of yunnies and older groups walking around wealthy neighborhoods with open cups of alchoholic beverages. They never look too concerned about it, and I guess they're right not to be--because nothing happens to them. Heck, just the other day I passed a large yunnie giggle group around 14th and 6th ave with the most powerful smell of marijuana I've ever smelled, but they didn't seem very worried about discovery (and I'll bet no cops bothered them about it either).
Now, I know a band on the sidewalk may seem like pushing it to a normal person, but even this is fairly typical of yunnie behavior. I don't know if anyone here remembers the news reports that came out about two years ago about residents in the LES complaining because the new yunnie gentrifiers moving in do literally anyting they want out on the street at incredible hours, including taking intruments out and playing them loudly on the sidewalk, frequently after midnight (as well as lighting garbage-can fires and pissing on walls). The standard yunnie response, as a little hipster girl expressed it, was, "well, they knew the neighborhood was hip when they moved in!" I trust you can clearly see the perspective of this worldview.
I've always thought this obsession with dominating public space that the yunnie has must stem from a cry for the boundaries and consequences they never got while growing up. Like a way of shouting, "I'm really being bad now, dad! What are you gonna do about it?", and thus inviting the absent discipline that would have made them feel more secure of their parents' love. That's not to say they're consceious minds are appreciative of such discipline, since their usual reaction is self-righteous indignation and reverse criticism ("Dude, we're just playing! It's not YOUR sidewalk!", etc). I'm sure they all felt quite offended that "mean people" or "haters" had complained about their fabulous little fashion show, and that the police were oppressive enough to (eventually) put a stop to it.

And by the way, weren't those cops sweet to them? So nice and polite!

boweryboogie said...

just shows the backasswardness of the nypd. i think they have better things to do than worry about sound levels.

Anonymous said...

Those girls wearing the huge sunglasses and flip flops should be ticketed for single handedly destroying and ruining my city!

Anonymous said...

Cops don't like punk rock, and most of the people in those pics look like they're from cop neighborhoods anyhow. So I disagree with anon that they probably wouldn't care if it was happening on their suburban street...'cause that's exactly what this looks like.

Bob Arihood said...

Jeremiah I missed this one . Hadn't heard anything of it until reading of it here .
I was clearly in the neighborhood but so occupied with the concerts that smoething right under my nose slipped past without notice .
I'm surprised that it was allowed as long as it was . .
They were lucky , the cop in the picture is a good guy , very reasonable .

Anonymous said...

amps, monitors and a PA system.
nothing a spilled soda can't handle.

JakeGould said...

Joshua, so what you're saying—in my estimation—is yunnies are just looking for attention. Completely agreed.

And what's amazing about this, it's a perfect example of old NYC creativity versus new NYC creativity. In the past, artists would really make things with whatever they had. And frankly, most anyone who seeks out public attention can be accused of having "parenting issues". But ultimately artists actually make something and contribute to the community.

This insta-band added nothing to anyone but themselves. And whined like babies when they had to face reality.