Who knew Queens would make such an amazing stage for an epic Roman battle? Last night museums from all over the city converged on the mock battleground, fighting with baguettes, watermelon and tomatoes (smooshy and rotten, of course). The artist behind the madness was Duke Riley, who told NY1, "We're recreating a roman naumachia, which is when the emperor would flood an arena like the coliseum or Circus Maximus and create a mock naval battle where they would send condemned prisoners to fight on boats to the finish."
Our photographer Jason Andra braved the scene, getting there a little bit early while the finishing touches were still being placed on the war vessels (and plenty of imbibing was going on from other types of vessels). The battle itself began after 8 p.m., but not before spectators were amongst the first to toss the tomatoes sitting out around the pool; Andra tells us, "I managed to escape with only a tomato to the backpack, but it got a little crazy. Lots of people jumped in the pool, everyone was hucking tomatoes, and it was quite a scene. The announcer told everyone to 'get the fuck out of the pool' about thirty times." Since this wasn't necessarily a reenactment, we suppose it's okay that he didn't use a Latin profanity.
So who won? The Queens Museum... though according to the Brooklyn Museum, they cheated and tried to drown other team's members! But don't worry Brooklyn, even if they were victorious, the Queens folk are still left with clean-up duty today.