I never thought I’d actually live that Sonic Youth lyric until, shortly before 2 a.m. this morning, I noticed a police-scanner alert that some 4,000 people had amassed outside of Webster Hall for what was supposed to be a pop-up Kanye West show.
The concert, announced after his Governors Ball set was rained out, ended up being canceled, but that didn’t stop thousands from swarming East 11th Street and chasing Kanye’s ride through the East Village.
When I arrived at Webster Hall around 2 a.m., Governors Ball refugees were packed shoulder-to-shoulder in front of the venue, turning stoops into viewing platforms and even standing on the hoods and roofs of cars as they awaited Ye’s arrival.
This guy was even up a tree.
A single police cruiser was laughably surrounded, and the air was thick with weed.
At one point, a roar went up. There were calls of “2 Chainz! 2 Chainz!” and a few dozen people followed the rapper, who had announced the show’s location in the first place, from an exit door to a van waiting on Third Avenue. A guy standing near the entrance said he had also seen Pusha T, West’s creative director Virgil Abloh, and ASAP Rocky, who is shown here trying to get through the mob.
ASAP Rocky trying to get into Webster Hall for Kanye show! pic.twitter.com/FpyXDnwG7H
— Sky Hi IG: ItsSkyHi (@Sky_Hi) June 6, 2016
Abloh eventually posted an announcement on Instagram that the concert had been “cancelled due to safety.”
Shortly before 2 a.m., Webster Hall also tweeted that the show wasn’t happening, sparking a flood of amusing memes. That didn’t stop Kanye himself from making a Pope-like appearance, surveying the crowd and shaking hands from a sunroof as his car rolled down Third Avenue.
KANYE ARRIVING AT WEBSTER HALL pic.twitter.com/NaC3l30DCN
— TeamKanyeDaily (@TeamKanyeDaily) June 6, 2016
Another kid brazenly tried to take a selfie with a cop who was moving him down the street and got shoved by the officer. “Let’s go! Clear it out! Keep it moving!” cops barked through bullhorns.
Around 2:10 a.m., after cops told everyone to disperse, a young man in an orange sweater slid down the windshield of a car and cracked it loudly, causing everyone within earshot to go oh shit. “This is why we can’t have nice things!” someone called out as the man made his escape.
Even as dozens of officers tried to get everyone off the block and started putting up barricades, few people budged and weed continued to float through the air. A couple of guys scampered up onto the roof of a mail truck parked outside of the post office. The sidewalks were littered with shattered glass and empty liquor bottles.
At some point, a crowd swarmed this SUV near the corner of Third Avenue and 11th Street:
The vehicle pulled away and several hundred people spilled onto the road and began chasing after it, either because they were convinced Kanye was inside or because they just wanted an excuse to run wild in the streets.
The car lost them, but the mob kept sprinting, walking, and then inexplicably sprinting again, crossing Astor Place, heading down St. Marks Place in the middle of the road, and then heading back up Second Avenue. “We’re making history!” a man announced.
“Kanye is eating sushi!” yelled another as he made a mock beeline for a sushi joint.
Back at Webster Hall, around 3:15 a.m., a woman in the back of a police car was pleading with officers: “But I don’t understand what I did.” According to a police spokesperson, one person was arrested for disorderly conduct.
By 3:30 a.m., dozens of cops were guarding the intersections around Webster Hall and the crowd had finally been cleared out.
Twitter rumors indicated that Kanye had moved on to a show at Trump Soho, and Guardian reporter Amber Jamieson photographed a crowd gathered outside of the hotel at 3:45 a.m.
Crowd outside Trump Soho at 3:45am after rumors of Kanye West pop up show pic.twitter.com/30HdlFvTnw
— Amber Jamieson (@ambiej) June 6, 2016
But video taken by Daily News reporter Nicole Hensley showed a hotel manager dispelling the rumor.
Hotel manager dispels rumors of Kanye stopping by Trump SOHO. pic.twitter.com/jx6xxIk0tt
— Nicole Hensley (@nkhensley) June 6, 2016
Kim Kardashian told fans that Kanye “tried so hard but it was just bigger– the cops just really wouldn’t allow it.”
Oh well, no more parties in New York.