Saturday, December 20, 2003

by Jessica Delfino

I went to a subway party last night. Were you there? It was fucking insane.

If you've never been to a subway party, I'm about to tell you all about it. I'd heard of a subway party but never been to one, though my friend and I tossed around the idea of having a comedy show on a subway car but I doubt that would have been even half as successful.

We met at Blarney Stone down near the World Trade Center at 10:30ish on Friday night. There was a huge crowd of people outside of the bar milling around waiting for instructions. That's one thing I love about instruction-based performance art in New York - people will actually follow the instructions. They will show up toting whatever was asked to be brought, if anything, and await further directions. A lot of the people who attend these type of events are either artists themselves or trustafarians, I think, though so that may or may not affect why they are so eager to be led.

Around 11 I guess, (I was pretty drunk having gone to two other parties between 7 and 10 pm so I wasn't sure of the time) the crowd started moving and I, too, followed along. We poured down into the 6 line and overflowed the subway platform. When the train came everyone started cheering and I'm not certain, but I bet we filled almost every car on the train with the amount of people who were there. The fun thing about the party was that there were regular people on the train who were just trying to get home, and then all of a sudden there was this party on top of in front of and all around them, complete with liquor and beer being recklessly chugged and pot being smoked like crazy. It was like what I imagine it is like to ride the subway on new year's eve around 1 am. Complete and utter fun mayhem.

We took the 6 to Union Square and transferred onto some other train. I think we lost a few people there. We took whatever train we got on to Brooklyn. I am not sure where we were headed - some people said Levins or something, but when Levins came everyone chanted, "Don't get off the train!" I think it was that stop. I should have written this stuff down because I am having a hard time remembering the details. The train kept going further into Brooklyn and at this point it was a full on party. Someone with a boom box started blasting music and there was also the Hungry Marching Band somewhere but I wasn't in the same car as them. Booze and pot and cigarettes were being consumed everywhere and people were crowd surfing and it was a pretty crazy party, needless to even mention the fact that it was on a subway car and many of us were totally breaking the law in public.

Unfortunately, when people break the law in public, sometimes they get arrested which is exactly what happened to one or two people once we reached Atlantic Avenue, I'm pretty sure it was Atlantic. The train stopped for a long time and we couldn't figure out whether we were supposed to get off or not. Finally, everyone started filing off and there right in front of us, a cop was cuffing some kid. Everyone started chanting, "Let him go!" The cop (who was black, by the way, arresting a white kid, just in case anyone was wondering) turned to face the crowd and pulled out a canister of mace, threatening to spray the people in the front. I started getting a little bit panic-y because I am sort of a pussy in those kind of situations and I was hanging out with Touching You who is a known instigator and scofflaw. I was afraid he was going to try to insite some kind of riot or try to verbally attack the cops, call them pigs or something. But he was surprisingly well-behaved and except for a few little practically innocent digs, he left the coppers alone.

We walked out of the platform and up to the sidewalk, and half the party had been misplaced. Maybe more than half, actually. They either went further into Brooklyn to the actual designated destination or they went home or they got lost, who knows. So the crowd that was left went to Hank's Saloon to regroup and drink. We only ended up sticking around for a few minutes. At that point it was late and the party just didn't have the same kind of energy and charm that it did when it was on rails.

If you ever hear anything again about a subway party, I strongly recommend you go. It's probably a little bit dangerous for all those drunk people to be running around on the subway platform and in-between subway cars and there's a small chance you might get arrested, but when was the last time you got arrested for having fun and being involved in a massive public art project? It's probably been awhile.

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