A Halloween rave scheduled to take place inside of the NuHart Plastics Factory—a notorious Greenpoint warehouse partially designated as a Superfund site—was shut down by the fire department shortly after midnight on Saturday.
The rave was organized by CityFox New York, the local branch of a Zurich-based electronic music label of the same name.
"The event was shut down due to flammable chemicals being hidden behind flammable curtains," said DOB Spokesman Ben Colombo in a statement. "Additionally [CityFox] sold 6,000 tickets but the space was only cleared for 3,500."
The rave was scheduled to take place at 20 Clay Street, a section of the acre-long warehouse that was deemed uncontaminated in September 2013 by Ecosystems Strategies.
According to the same study, large swaths of the building stand over two noxious plumes, one of which contains TCE, a dry-cleaning solvent associated with face numbness and liver cancer.
CityFox's caterer, Reynard Productions, applied for a permit from the New York State Liquor Authority on Thursday the 29th, and received State approval on the 31st.
"They [CityFox] literally received clearance a day before the event," said Mike Schade, a spokesman for Neighbors Allied for Good Growth, a North Brooklyn environmental advocacy group. "They didn't inform their guests that they were holding a party on a hazardous waste site associated with cancer and birth defects."
The NuHart Plume, via Ecosystems Strategies (Greenpointers)
"On All Hallow's Eve, we present a slate of scary good artists at an incredible new venue in Greenpoint where production is underway for what should be a sinister Saturday night," reads an online listing for the 21+ party. Tickets ranged from $50 to $80, and 4,570 guests RSVP'd through the online ticket platform Resident Advisor.
Local Councilmember Steve Levin lives a few blocks from the site, and stopped by around midnight in response to complaints from locals. By that point, a line was snaking around the perimeter of the building, according to a spokesman for his office. Greenpointers reports that guests were turned away from the line, before they were able to enter the venue.
New York Shitty embedded an e-mail from Councilmember Levin just before 12:30, assuring a few locals that the party was shutting down. "I'm just leaving the scene," he wrote. "Show's over and won't be starting back up."
"Dear all—the FDNY has informed us that the party will not go on as planned, it is cancelled," said the organizers on Facebook, shortly after midnight. "We know how profoundly disappointing this is, and we know how angry you may be. We will be issuing full refunds to anyone who purchased a ticket."
Ready for Halloween this weekend? In addition to an incredible lineup playing on crystalline sound, we can't wait for Projektil to unveil some new projection mapping visuals to complement the ride. Tickets will sell out, get them while you can: bit.ly/CityfoxHalloween Photo by Christopher Soltis
A photo posted by Cityfox (@cityfoxexperience) on
Harte & Co., which occupied the 1930s-era building for over 20 years and vacated in 2004, reportedly manufactured vinyl siding and stored tanks of toxic chemicals underground which leaked into the soil and groundwater.
Williamsburg-based Dupont Street Developers LLC purchased the site for $23.25 million last May, and announced plans to clean it up and build 400 market-rate and affordable housing units. Many Greenpoint neighbors and environmental advocates are incredulous about the cleanup plan, which the Brooklyn Eagle reports will cost just under $10 million.
The planned rave did little to improve community relations. "We think it's a real slap in the face to the community for the developer to have a party of this size, especially when [they] said that they want to develop something that's family friendly," said Schade.
Responding to concerned neighbors via e-mail on Saturday night, Councilmember Levin's environmental advisor Lisa Bloodgood expressed frustration that the Halloween party had materialized without City intervention. According to Bloodgood, the NYPD was not informed of the rave until the Thursday before Halloween, when the liquor permit was submitted.
"The current owner seems to have legal right to do this... but this is not a good exercise in trust building. I am really surprised by their lack of foresight," she wrote.
Superfund status aside, some neighbors were primarily concerned with noise levels and the public display of indulgence that tends to accompany a rave.
"It’s unbelievable," one neighbor told New York Shitty. "A resident’s decimeter hit 9.... There’s a fire engine parked in the middle of Dupont St. ... cop cars around on Franklin & Clay, not that it’s stopping the crowd from smoking weed on the line."
Tonight at 6:30, NAG and Councilmember Levin are will host a community-wide meeting on the NuHart site. Representatives from Environmental Stewardship Concepts are scheduled to provide an update on the developer's efforts to clean up the site. The State's Department of Environmental Conservation will be on hand, as well as the City's Department of Health, and representatives from the site developer.
"I would ask that we don't take too much of the meeting to talk about the party," said Bloodgood in her e-mail to neighbors early Sunday morning. "I don't want to squander the opportunity we have to... understand the scope of the contamination.
We have reached out to the City, the FDNY, and CityFox for comment on Saturday's shutdown, and will update with any additional information.