Are free outdoor events that attract crowds too dangerous? City Room reports that the 161st Street Business Improvement District's plans for a free screening of the USA-Ghana World Cup match at Lou Gehrig Plaza in the Bronx were shut down by the city: "On Thursday morning, 48 hours before the game, officials with the city’s Street Activity Permit Office informed the group sponsoring the event that the request for a permit had been denied." A city spokeswoman said, "Based on expected attendance, the police, the D.O.T. and the parks department determined that it would not be possible to accommodate a safe event at that location."
However, 161st Street BID executive director Cary Goodman wondered, "Is anybody really saying that in this Bronx neighborhood, where 45,000 people come for a baseball game, that the police cannot safely and successfully ensure a community event like watching TV?" Goodman, who said the group sunk $5,000 into supplies (projector, portable toilets, chairs) and other preparations, admitted that he went ahead with advertising and organizing the event even though he didn't have the okay from the city, "I’ve done about half a dozen events there — sometimes I get the paperwork, sometimes I don’t, sometimes I get it after the event. If you had to wait for the paperwork, it would be absolutely impossible to produce the event."
The area has a large Ghanian population; Goodman lamented, "Here we are trying to counteract an image of the Bronx being a dangerous or a dirty place. We hire people to scrub it up and make it sparkle. We rent the highest technology to show the World Cup, and minutes before, the plug gets pulled." No doubt the community is disappointed—the scene at one Bronx barbershop had fans gathered for the camaraderie, rather than haircuts.