Yesterday New York City got its first Tomato Battle, and even though the heatwave hadn't lifted yet thousands not only traveled to Floyd Bennett Field for it, but many from out of state. At least one carload from Connecticut told us they had heard about the event through a Skrillex mailing list. Of course. We're told the crowd grew to about 5,000 people all in all (though we're still waiting for confirmation on that number)... and photographer Nate Dorr was in the thick of it—he braved the tomatoes for us and headed out there to shoot the mess, he reports back:
"It went well.. Despite being a complete mess of inexplicable sponsors (photo ops with the Nesquick Rabbit), despite the promised live music being actually just a DJ spinning Aerosmith, despite the baffling $50 price tag (offset, at least, by a Groupon)—despite all of this, it turns out that people are so entirely into throwing tomatoes. They drove hours from out of state, constructed elaborate costumes, and showed absolutely no qualms whatsoever about being pelted with actually-not-especially-soft vegetables until the entire parking lot was inches deep in thick and steaming tomato soup. Which, perhaps not yet having been entirely coated, many chose to lie down in."
Dorr adds that it was "inconceivable that anyone within 100 yards could have failed to be adequately tomato-covered. Within moments of entering the fray, I'd already had my safety goggles knocked sideways off my face and lost a glasses pane... seconds later I could feel tomato sauce soaking through every part of my clothing." Click through to see the food fight from the inside, where some of Dorr's photos "became abstract compositions in red pulp as my lens was covered over faster than I could clean it."
The good news: no one was seriously injured, though there were multiple minor incidents including a heat related illness. The bad news? The tomatoes certainly did seem ripe, firm, and edible. So the organizers will have some answering to do about wasting perfectly good food on a corporate-sponsored tomato fight. (We have already contacted them this morning, and will update if we hear back.) Previously, they said "All of the tomatoes used during the exhibition will have been previously marked for disposal," calling the tomatoes "inedible waste."