The multiple brawls, shootings and more that spread in Midtown on Easter night into Monday morning were dubbed "wilding" by Mayor Bloomberg, "The mayhem in Midtown appears to be a bunch of gang members wilding. There’s a bunch of people that think it’s cute to go out and to run around and to cause chaos, and we loaded the area up with police, but they can’t be everywhere." Know what else some of these people may think is cute? To give the bird to a Daily News photographer after being arrested!
Bloomberg also said, "This is just a bunch of people who shouldn't be on the streets if they behave this way, and we're not going to stand for it." Four people were shot—three by guns and one by a BB gun—and suffered non-life-threatening injuries. One of the victims, Keanu Griffin, who was shot in the thigh when she was heading to a subway, said, "It came out of nowhere. I just saw people running and I got hit."
Thirty-three people were arrested for offenses like gang assault and disorderly conduct; another 23 received summonses. Police say that Easter night violence has become an unwelcome tradition of sorts, but Griffin's father said, "If it's a regular routine on Easter, they should have had enough cops up there to stop whatever it is going on...She just got hurt from going to have a good time. On 42nd St. On Easter!"
A business owner on West 40th Street told the Post, "I was shocked. I've been here 25 years and I can't believe anything like this can happen in Times Square. I don't like to use the word scared, but this is very unhealthy for the city." On the other hand, Angus McIndoe, owner of Angus McIndoe's restaurant, said, "You know it's the cost of doing business. It's not the first time there has been nutty activity in Times Square." The NY Times offered some history of Easter night violence:
Police officials say they first noticed the unruly crowds in 2003, believing it to be an outgrowth of revelers spilling out from the International Auto Show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center at 11th Avenue and 34th Street. Its first weekend, and one of its busiest, typically falls at Easter.
The next year, the police added extra patrols, including antigang units, to Times Square and the area around the convention center. Arrests usually numbered in the high teens or low 20s. In 2006, a teenager was stabbed; the next year, a teenager was slashed in the arm. Last year, there were 27 arrests, the most until this year.
This year, the participants seemed to have mostly skipped the auto show. Chris Sams, a spokesman for the show who has worked there the last 12 years, said that while the police had said there were gang colors at the show in the past, that was not the case on Sunday.
“Our crowd was very family oriented,” he said. “Lots of strollers.”
The Times also noted that the violence "was enough that when Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg sought a word to describe the chaos, he chose 'wilding,' a term that first became popular in 1989 in connection with the infamous Central Park jogger rape case, a time when crime in the city was at its highest." The Post says the term is "loaded" and "strikes fear into New Yorkers who remember the bad old days when packs of marauding youths roamed the streets." Bloomberg and the NYPD are dealing with a spike in crime based on numbers from 2010 relative to last year.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said yesterday, "New Yorkers are on edge, and for good reason: with shootings up 19 percent over the same time last year and murders up 22 percent, everyone should be on heightened alert. One thing is becoming increasingly clear - the city cannot withstand the draconian cuts proposed by the state to our budget. If there was ever a prime example that we need more resources to combat crime, this is it. We need Albany to do the right thing and pass a budget that won’t place New Yorkers in harm’s way. "