Cityfox may have screwed the pooch for all NYC pop-up parties… good job, guys!
If you haven’t heard (and I am sure you have), Cityfox’s Halloween Spectacle turned into a helluva debacle with the city. Somehow, the promoters managed to rent out a Nu Hart Plastics Factory, which is listed and very well known as a Superfund site in Greenpoint. Just out of curiosity, how does one miss a monumental detail such as that?
A Gothamist article quoted community activist Mike Schade a member of the board of directors for local environment advocacy organization Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAG), “Cityfox clearly did not do a minimum of research which would have quickly revealed a well-documented history of environmental contamination at this toxic spot,” I have previously written a review on the Cityfox closing event over the summer, that showed my concerns in regards to patron safety at their events.
This incident has now started a domino effect that can lead to the demise of the NYC pop-up party culture. Last year, Time Warp, a notorious German techno festival had come to NYC, but due to permit issues lost their intended venue last minute and had to make quick arrangements to spare the two-day event. Whether that event raised any issues in the NYC council, it is unclear since all other events in NYC in the year following have gone on just fine.
This year’s Time Warp potentially faces being shut down as well and it's starting to feel as if more pop-up parties will face similar scrutiny. Residents of Crown Heights have been expressing their concern for the event that is due to take place at the Bedford-Union Armory. Siting issues such as "parking" and having an event in a "residential community" have sparked a debate. Although residents continue to lobby for the event to be shut down, Time Warp reps have insisted that they have obtained all the necessary permits and documentation to carry on. "All procedures thus far have been properly handled ... We are underway for a seamless event at Bedford Union Armory," Time Warp said.
With just two weeks to the two-day event on Nov. 20 & 21, this doesn’t instill a lot of confidence in attendees traveling.
However, the trouble does not stop there. The following I am about to reveal is a letter from New York State Assemblyman Joe Lentol to New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, requesting an investigation of pop-up parties in New York City that are able to operate with little oversight and quick permitting processes.
“I write to you to call upon your office to investigate the pop-up party industry in New York City…Cityfox, a corporation extremely difficult to track, applied for and received approval for various permits for a large scale party to be held at a location that is well-known to be a State Superfund site, the former NuHart Plastic Manufacturing Site located at 49 Dupont Street in Brooklyn... The circumstances surrounding this pop-up party raises serious questions of how the New York City Department of Buildings and New York State Liquor Authority permits were issued in just days for an event of several thousand people, and whether Cityfox, submitted accurate information to the state and city permit issuing agencies…There were more immediate dangers, namely that the permitted event was for 3,500 people yet the promoters sold significantly more tickets than the Temporary Public Assembly permit allowed.”
He closed off the letter with, “I urge your office to conduct an investigation into the permitting process for pop-up parties and how organizers are held accountable. Specifically, I urge you to investigate how Cityfox was able to acquire, in just a few days, the necessary permits for a party of this size, let alone on a State Superfund site Additionally, my staff attempted to contact the Cityfox organizers and was unsuccessful in reaching anyone, which leads me to believe this organization operates behind the scenes with little accountability.”
When a government official cannot find a way to contact you directly… that's not a good look. Now watch the villagers light their torches and let the Witch Hunt begin!