There are unconfirmed reports of violence and mayhem erupting at yesterday's July 4th BBQs in Morningside Park, but this much is certain: Harlem residents awoke this morning to find a "garbage-strewn disaster area," as one local put it. Some people are blaming recording artist and actor Teyana Taylor, who drew a huge crowd to a free cookout in the park, where the scene "descended into chaos late yesterday," the Post reports, "leaving one cop hurt and a reveler under arrest.."
The NYPD press office had no information about any of this when we called them, which isn't to say it isn't true, just that the Post appears to be the only one reporting it. According to the tabloid, "The mob first occupied the park, then moved to the West Side Highway and attempted to climb the fences of Riverbank State Park. A Housing sergeant injured his shoulder trying to quell the crowd, and a 14-year-old was arrested for firing a gun into the air."
We can confirm a heavy police presence and NYPD helicopters lighting up the park last night around 9 p.m. But all the FDNY could tell us was that they responded to one call to the park shortly before 8 p.m.—to assist a woman who was having an asthma attack. As for the park's conditions today, the Friends of Morningside Park are up in arms, calling the mess "UNACCEPTABLE" via Twitter and cc'ing Teyana Taylor on multiple tweets.
Taylor's mother/manager Nikki Taylor wrote a defiant explanation for the trash:
At this point, I feel the need to step in. (1). There were 1000 other cookouts that took place in Morningside Park yesterday, not only @TEYANATAYLOR 's (2) The section in which @TEYANATAYLOR 's cookout was in (which was right directly behind the huge tree in the middle) I'm sure the Parks Dept can agree was the cleanest of all other areas, because me personally, along with my people stayed behind for as long as we could to try and clean up the area we were in; however the cops forced us out of the Park and said it was not necessary for us to clean it up, the Parks Dept would handle that. That's why we left the rest of what we left where it was.
All those other filthy areas throughout the Park and surrounding the section, had absolutely NOTHING to do with @TEYANATAYLOR Therefore, if you're going to document something, please document that. She will not be held responsible for others who had BBQ's in the park, and didn't attempt to clean up behind themselves.
It did seem like a fun time until things went sour. At any rate, NYC Parks Department workers were out this morning cleaning up the mess.
— Tobias McGuigan (@tobiasmcg) July 5, 2013