Reporting by Stacie Joy
The fallout from Saturday's hardcore matinee in Tompkins Square Park continues.
Gothamist reported yesterday that the Parks Department has revoked permits for seven upcoming events that were organized by East Village resident Chris Flash, who had applied for the permit for the Saturday show. (Two of the events had already received city approval.)
According to PIX11 and Gothamist, reps from the Parks Department said that Saturday's free all-ages show was billed as a "September 11 Memorial" on the permit application, a point that made headlines at both outlets and drew outrage from readers for its brazenness. Each outlet said that the Parks Department had provided them with a copy of the permit.
In an interview with EVG's Stacie Joy on Monday, Flash, who has organized concerts in Tompkins Square Park since 2006, said that the permit he filed for on April 24 did not mention 9/11.
"Nowhere did it say anything about September 11. We did apply for a September 11 memorial event, but it was for September," Flash said. "Why would we apply for a September 11 memorial in April?"
As proof, he shared a copy of the approved permit (submitted last Nov. 2 and OK'd on March 23 — we blocked out his address and contact information) that the Parks Department had previously shared with him for the date.
The permit shows the event name titled "rally/concert." (click on the image for more details) ...
"I think the spokesperson entered my name and all the permits came up — there are eight of them, seven left — and she gave them one random application," Flash told Stacie last night. "I wanted May Day — it has social and political implications. They refused to give us May Day. They offered us April 24, which I accepted."
He also has concerns about the Parks Department "violating his confidentiality" by releasing the permits to reporters.
"And in addition to violating my confidentiality, [the Parks Department] gave out the wrong information," Flash said.
Elsewhere on the permit, there's a mention of "amplified sound from 2-6 p.m. with proper sound device permit from NYPD."
The attendance is listed on the permit as 100, and estimates put Saturday's crowd size at 2,000 during the late-afternoon sets by bands with large followings — Bloodclot, Murphy's Law and Madball.
At the time of this filing this past November, Flash said they didn't know who was going to play on that date. The show, which also served as a fundraiser for the New York Firefighters Burn Center Foundation, was first announced by Black N' Blue Productions on April 8.
According to Gothamist, "the alleged misrepresentations" on the permit along with the crowd size (outdoor events in New York are capped at 500) and the lack of masks and social distancing prompted the Parks Department to revoke the permits for Flash for the remainder of the year. (Flash previously said that they followed the city's three pages of COVID-related requirements.)
The large number of maskless attendees during a pandemic drew the ire of people on social media as well as some residents who were in the park on Saturday afternoon. Local Assemblymember Harvey Epstein referred to the show as a "super spreader event" in a tweet.
In a message with Stacie yesterday, he wrote: "I was in the park on Saturday and saw the overwhelming crowd. They violated their permit, and [the Parks Department] withdrew all future permits. I agree with that decision. It was not safe."
Meanwhile, Flash said that he has not heard from anyone at the Parks Department.
"All I know so far is that the Parks Department said they are going to review everything. I applied for eight shows, so seven are coming up," he said. "It remains to be seen what their next move is. They have no legitimate grounds to refuse us permits for any future events. I do not know the requirements for a rescinded permit, but I have not been contacted."
"Regardless of what happens, I will be discussing this with my lawyer. I have a 15-year clean track record of being conscientious and following all the rules and regulations. Wouldn't it be more appropriate to issue a warning?"
Flash described this all as "a momentary media frenzy."
"They will move on and find something new to have a frenzy over," he said. "In short, I am not worried in the least. I welcome a good fight."
Updated 2 p.m.
Flash confirmed the following: "The Parks Department emailed us a two-page letter informing us of their intention to revoke all subsequent permits in TSP." No word on the next steps.