Before Canadian rapper Drake could even perform at a free concert at the South Street Seaport tonight, the NYPD shut down the event because of an unruly crowd. According to MyFoxNY, the "evening ended with chairs being thrown into the crowd, mace being sprayed, and reports of table being tossed from a second floor balcony." Also: Stampeding, pushing, shoving, throwing plants, and breaking the mixing board (according to Hanson, who was also on the bill!).
The concert was put together by Paper Magazine, and 10,000 people were expected...but estimates say 25,000 people showed up—fans had started gathering at 3 p.m. for the 6 p.m. show. A South Street Seaport spokesman, John Reilly, said, "While the South Street Seaport and Paper Magazine were looking forward to a great kick-off concert for the summer season, our primary concern is always the safety of our guests. Unfortunately, by the announced showtime, both the Seaport management and NYPD estimated that the onsite crowd had greatly exceeded this safe capacity, was still rising, and the show could no longer be presented in a safe atmosphere."
According to Sound of the City, "the primary theater of battle" was the "northern side of the Seaport, where fans standing on the balcony in front of shops and restaurants began raining bottles down on the crowd below, who promptly returned fire."
As things escalated, the bottles turned from plastic to glass. Then, at the peak of the fight, kids on the upper level began tossing steel chairs off the balcony. That was when people really started to run. It was also about at that moment that the police finally broke through the crowd and stormed the second level, where they too were momentarily pelted with bottles. We watched a few kids on the deck attempt to shove or otherwise assault the cops who were trying desperately to clear them out. In turn, more than one officer took out her baton, though the police had the situation in hand relatively quickly.
After that, it was mostly crowd dispersal, and stray fights. Helicopters buzzed overhead. Standing across from the Seaport, we watched hundreds of kids suddenly went scrambling away from the stage area in terror. We asked one why he was running. "Mace," he said.
Through a spokesperson, Drake told the Daily News, "I am humbled by the crowd that showed up in support of my performance. Unfortunately, the show was canceled by the NYPD due to overcrowding, leaving me without the chance to give my fans a real show." In fact, Brooklyn Vegan says that the only live music the crowd heard was Hanson's sound check and less than one song from Ninjasonik. Here are some videos of the scene: