As we lurked in the barren northern reaches of Greenpoint on Halloween night, a stranger stopped us in the shadows and told us, “The big party is going to be over on Clay and Franklin. It’s $80 to get in.” Intrigued, we walked over and couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw security barriers being set up outside of the former NuHart & Co. plastics factory. Weren’t we just talking about the possibility of toxic plumes at that site?
A worker on hand explained that she was setting up for the latest edition of Cityfox, a roving series of massive parties at “secret” locations.
We happened to be on our way to a canoe ride down putrid Newton Creek, and a rave at another one of the neighborhood’s industrial sore-spots seemed like just the after-party. The ticketing page, where 4,570 people had signed up, promised “four rooms of music, lounges, plenty of seating for rest during the dance marathon, cocktail bars,” and lighting installations that would highlight “some incredible (and creepy) features of the space.” So we resolved to come back.
Trouble is, the banger at the colossal 1930s Arte Moderne complex, which is destined for a residential conversion, never happened: The Cityfox Halloween Experience was cancelled before it even kicked off, and hundreds who had lined up down the block were turned away. Shortly after midnight, Cityfox posted a message on Facebook explaining that “the FDNY has informed us that the party will not go on as planned, it is cancelled.”
The fire department hasn’t yet explained to us why, exactly, it prevented the party from going forward, but Council Member Stephen Levin, who was on site, told us the following over email today: “My understanding (and this is not the official record, which should be available from FDNY) is that the party was shut down by FDNY before anyone was admitted due to fire safety issues, including insufficient methods of egress and insufficient (possibly inoperable) sprinkler system, and possibly other issues.”
Earlier that night, at 10:16 p.m., Cityfox had announced on Facebook that “at the request of authorities,” it was changing the location of the party’s entrance, causing a delay in the opening. In the end, the doors never opened, and ticket buyers were promised a full refund and further explanation. As of this afternoon, Cityfox still hasn’t come forward with that explanation, nor have they responded to our requests for comment or the myriad complaints on their Facebook page (see some choice ones below).
Before the party, Laura Hoffman, a longtime Greenpoint environmental activist, circulated a flyer informing neighbors of the rave: “This is a state Superfund site,” she wrote. “That means it is contaminated with chemicals. We have concerns about how safe it will be. If you experience loud noise or concerned about safety call 311 and make a complaint!” Hoffman later shot a video, posted by New York Shitty, of rejected ravers leaving the area.
Actually, according to Greenpointers, the party was being thrown in a portion of the factory parcel where “no contamination was found” during a remedial investigation. (Elsewhere in the facility, underground storage tanks left behind when Nuhart closed in 2004 created a chemical “smear zone” 11 feet underground.)
Greenpointers also notes that a community meeting about remediation efforts at the site, hosted by Levin and Neighbors Allied For Good Growth, will take place tonight at 6:30 p.m.
Jon Bonk, a VJ who got access to the venue, tweeted these photos of what might have been.
— VJon Bonk (@jonbonkvj) November 1, 2015
— VJon Bonk (@jonbonkvj) November 2, 2015
And here’s a sampling of Twitter and Facebook comments from people who didn’t get a look inside.
“This is some suburban fox bullshit.”
“The line was around 2 blocks long.. Now it’s closed, this costume?? Where do I go now?”
“I had to suck a dick for these tickets. You can refund money, but you can’t unsuck a cock.”
“I have an ounce of k strapped to my thigh with electrical tape, what am I supposed to do with it now.”
— Erin Smith (@gfreefun) November 1, 2015