Gothamist has been reporting on a series of carefree pandemic parties happening all around New York City.
Multiple underground parties are taking place every weekend spread via WhatsApp chat groups and text chains with promoters asking people NOT to publicize the illicit events. One event, which took place at a lounge near Bryant Park last week, a promoter told partygoers they were allowing up to 90 people inside, adding,
“Don’t share this information on SOCIAL MEDIA! This is a private space and we are interested in no drama policy. PLEASE SHARE IT IN PRIVATE MSGS.”
Gothamist reviewed photos, videos and accounts of events that have happened or are planned at locations including The Williamsburg Hotel, Common Ground, Her Name Was Carmen, and more venues and bars in the city, as well as promoters including Nocturnal Radio Live. Each have featured young clientele and a complete lack of mask compliance and social distancing.
DJ and promoter Grier Newlin said about the parties,
“I don’t understand why people are still trying to do it.
We’re organizers, so we should be organizing protests, things like that. There’s plenty of stuff to do if we want to put our organizing energy behind things. These [parties] are really vain, I don’t know what what the point of them is.”
Below, you can see a few videos showing events that happened at The Williamsburg Hotel this month. According to their website, the hotel
“encourage[s] our guests to practice social distancing by standing 6 feet apart from groups not traveling together” and that “overall capacity of all of our venues including the rooftop has been reduced by 50% to ensure all lounge chairs, daybeds and seating is at least 6 feet apart.”
They do not specify whether it is required for people in the hotel to wear masks while in public spaces.
As one person wrote,
“I was at this event. The security guard at the door was asking everyone to wear their mask and was denying entry to those without. People were giving him a hard time.”
Kristina Alaniesse, who has become a conduit for people in NYC’s nightlife scene trying to vent about their frustrations, says
“It’s 1000% too early for parties.
I think it’s very important to spread the message to DJs, promoters, patrons and venues in general that now is not the time, and to be responsible and care about the future of New York.”
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Slightly disappointed to have to expose @wburghotel. I had a few fun nights there & their booking is great. That being said, it would break my heart if NYC had to shutdown again. Clearly no respect for the protocols in place for phase 3 (social distancing, masks etc). LET'S PLEASE DO IT RIGHT. This was on Thursday night. LET'S SAVE NYC ♥️ #covid19 #pandemic #newyorkcity #williamsburghotel
Osvaldo “OJ” Jimenez, 44, runs the HiLoveNewYork Instagram account, which has posted some of the videos of the recent ragers says,
“It’s not me outing these places, but the community as a whole.
These are average people into nightlife, people who work in it, and they’re like, this looks wild, and they’re sending me stuff.
All the promoters and owners I know are taking COVID serious, it comes as a shock to us that these venues that cater to out-of-towners are disregarding the rules that we need to abide by to get out of the pandemic together.”
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Since I can’t figure out WTF @wburghotel is doing. I’ma let @billnye the science guy explain how wild this is. . You see… no authentic New Yorker goes to parties like this. These are all usually European expats and Miami fit tea models that need to come to NY while their sugar daddies replace their hips. They rent airb&b’s and go to the local bodegas… where papi, who has to work or lose his green card, has to constantly explain exactly what a chopped cheese is. Then they ride a train because it’s “cool NY thing” with dozens of essential workers who need their health so THIS FUCKING CITY CAN SURVIVE… Now if this was a Logan’s Run utopia, where your selfish & plastic ass didn’t have to interact with the autoimmune or the elderly… then that’s cool… but if you gag on your mushroom or sneeze your cocaine out of your nose in the bodega… THEN PAPI IS FUCKED. . I can’t explain this enough… . Please stop. The drinks are cheaper in your house and you don’t have to beg a doorman to be let in, or annoy a overpaid button pusher for a song… Cc @arielpalitz 😷✌🏾
Prince Terrence, a DJ who runs the cultural magazine Cell.Vision, has a similar view of what’s been happening.
“All my friends are New York nightlife industry veterans, we were the people doing after hours events and illegal warehouses and stuff like that.
We realize this is a public health emergency, this isn’t a joke, and all of my peers are super on board with only having events if it’s safe and the proper precautions are being taken. But of course there’s going to be people and places that abuse that to make money—this has become more about making a dime than about providing a fun environment.”
I do believe there’s probably a little microcosm of responsible adults who could make this happen. But there’s one factor in all of it that could change everything: alcohol. Once people are drunk, all those rules go out the window. And now the clubs have to police and teach adults how to behave. And it isn’t working.”
Prince Terrence believes he contracted coronavirus in March at a nightclub.
“There’s no doubt thats how I got it.
I wasn’t able to get a coronavirus test, but I was able to get antibodies test when it was made available. It was obvious I got it from a club. You’re in a place where everyone’s screaming at the top of their lungs, that’s exactly how you get it.
When you’re in a club, you’re not really thinking about what’s going on outside, which I think is the goal. We all want to pretend this isn’t happening, but just because we’re not looking at it doesn’t mean it’s not happening.”
Of course, pandemic partying isn’t exclusive to NYC. The Wall Street Journal reports that there’s been a new outbreak in Tokyo, which included their city’s largest single-day increase since April. Out of those cases, three-quarters were among people in their 20s and 30s, “many connected with nightlife districts.”
There have also been reports of specific “COVID parties,” some more credulous than others, happening around the U.S. The NY Times reported that a 30-year-old man died after attending one of these gatherings in Texas recently. Dr. Jane Appleby, chief medical officer at Methodist Hospital in San Antonio, said that just before he died, the patient allegedly told his nurse,
“I think I made a mistake. I thought this was a hoax, but it’s not.”
Terrence the DJ said that
“… we don’t want our numbers to skyrocket so some people could go to parties and promoters could make some money. The thing that makes me most sad about it is how hard New Yorkers came together and worked to get the numbers where we are now—I don’t know why anyone would want to put that in jeopardy.”
“I love nightlife, but New York is my home.
Every time you leave one of these events, you could be carrying the virus into your community. Who cares about techno?”
Welp I guess nightlife is already on Phase 7 of reopening. At least according to the Common Ground folks. pic.twitter.com/EOTmBjxKM1— WhereToPartyNYC (@wheretopartyNYC) July 12, 2020
Nocturnal Radio Live on Instagram had been promoting these underground parties, but deleted all their posts. On commenter said,
“Deleting your feed to hide your blatant disrespect to the nightlife community’s safety in the middle of a pandemic. Laughable.”