Shortly after 2015 became official in New York City, a dance party popped up on the Lower East Side. A bicycle rigged with a mobile sound system provided beats while three dozen or so revelers boogied and partied on Ludlow Street, literally, as the middle of the street was treated like a dance floor.
In an attempt to keep this “dance floor” motorist free, someone threw some trash bags into the street, blocking traffic. About twenty minutes later, the NYPD showed up. Cops immediately walked over to the DJ-cyclist and told him to kill the music. “Turn it off, demanded one uniformed officer. “Turn that shit off,” he repeated.
That didn’t go over well with the crowd. “No justice, no peace. Fuck the police,” chanted one group of people as the atmosphere started to feel more like a protest. The officers then proceeded to clear the street, but it was quickly reoccupied as the defiant congregation adopted a simpler mantra and shouted: “Fuck the pigs. Fuck the pigs. Fuck the pigs…”
While documenting this spectacle, a woman who was dancing with her middle fingers outstretched to police lashed out. “Don’t fucking take pictures nigga, that’s how people get arrested,” she snarled at me and then swatted my camera. She kept threatening to break my camera, so I quickly moved away from her. Things devolved from there.
Moments later, a plainclothes officer in a North Face jacket — who didn’t identify himself at first — began arguing with a dancing partygoer in the street. The aforementioned woman tried to intervene and he forcefully shoved her back. Officer North Face then confronted the trio of men he was arguing with again. “Why the fuck did she have to touch me?” he shouted back at them. “I think you’ll like jail you fucking faggot.”
“All I want for Christmas are two dead pigs, two dead pigs,” sung one sad man with glasses and a goatee. He refused to move out of the street and was politely arrested.
The surreal scene continued to escalate, slowly, as the police milled about and waited for even more police to arrive. Over the next 10 minutes or so, there were lots of people standing around and shouting, followed by sporadic confrontations each time an arrest was made. When it finally looked like the police were going to leave, a drunk woman started dancing in front of the squad car. Several cops swooped in to arrest her and others.
Forty minutes after police showed up, the dance party was over and the street was cleared. I tallied five arrests.
(Video/Photos: Aymann Ismail/ANIMALNewYork)