In New York the urge to party is stronger than COVID restrictions

New York just shut down public schools again because of a rise in the positivity rate. But it’s not the schools that are creating the problem. Today New York Magazine published a lengthy piece about the underground party scene in New York City, where ever weekend groups of young people gather to dance and drink with no masks and no social distancing as if the pandemic never happened.

By late July, when positivity rates lingered around 1.5 percent and the orders were eased to allow gatherings of up to 50 people, the underground party scene was as rich and varied as the aboveground one used to be. There were boat parties, pool parties, karaoke parties, sex parties, silent-disco parties, park parties, house parties, warehouse parties, and roof parties. There were Meatpacking table-service affairs that required shelling out a few grand for a couple of seats and hotel parties in Long Island City that mandated a dubious COVID test for entry…

In July and August, a small park under the Kosciuszko Bridge became infamous for its giant parties, one of which was billed as a Black Lives Matter fund-raiser, according to Gothamist

In October, 28 people faced charges after two warehouses were shut down for hosting costumed Halloween raves, one with 400 people in Brooklyn and the other with 550 in the Bronx. After that weekend, the New York Times wrote, “It was not clear if organizers failed to understand or simply ignored the dangers of large indoor gatherings.”

Just yesterday Gov. Cuomo was expressing his displeasure over word of a large Jewish wedding in Brooklyn. “If it turns out that because we stopped that wedding the reaction was, ‘Well we’ll have a secret wedding,’ that would be really shocking and totally deceitful,” he said. Why New York’s leaders are so fixated on Jewish people is anyone’s guess but the magazine piece makes it very clear that large underground parties have been taking place regularly in the city. Here was Ben Shapiro’s reaction to the story:

The author tries to frame this, at least briefly, as the triumph of libertarianism over progressive wisdom, but after a paragraph he gives up and admits people aren’t really thinking about it that deeply:

Like many people I spoke with, Samuel thinks the parties need to happen so the people can just have some goddamn fun in this achingly depressing year. He calls DJ-ing an “art people need,” not unlike “dance or musical theater.” Despite his professed liberal beliefs, he doesn’t see a lot of irony in the scenario taking place around us: young, seemingly lefty people like him who believe in COVID but also possess a libertarian-tinged belief that partying is their constitutional privilege. It’s a collapse of the political spectrum. Bushwick kids and Ole Miss frat boys aren’t that different if their activities are isolated to the wee hours of the weekend.

The politics of partying is something no one here really wants to discuss. Ignoring reality is part of the premise. The 20-somethings sharing spit particles on the dance floor seem to have a generational nihilistic streak, born as they were into a dying world, addled by a bunch of bad shit left to them by their elders. And now, the pandemic. Not to mention that so many young people, despite the virus’s horrifying impact, never forgot those early days of being told they were less at risk. Eight months in, their sense of invincibility has just grown stronger.

Asked whether other people at the party believe in the virus, Samuel says, “That’s a funny question.”

There have really been two standards set up for public gatherings since at least the end of May. Any time religious people (Jewish or Christian) or conservative Trump supporters want to gather it’s a big problem worthy of attention and condemnation from the media and the left. But if a bunch of left-wing protesters want to march or ostensibly left-wing kids in NYC want to party, that all warrants a pass and a litany of excuses, i.e. they were outside, they wore masks.

What the New York Magazine piece really clarifies is just how much of a pass a lot of people have been getting from the Karens in the media. And there’s no indication the latest clampdown in New York will matter to the party people any more than the previous ones did. An event promoter tells the author she thinks closing everything earlier will only make the illicit party scene bigger:

Even as U.S. cases skyrocket, nervousness about the virus’s spread, she says, doesn’t factor into the party planning. Indeed, the same weekend in mid-November that Governor Cuomo reduced gym, bar, and restaurant capacity and closed bars an hour earlier — which Alaniesse thinks will only encourage illicit partying — the sheriff’s office shut down a 200-person party in Manhattan, a 200-person party in Brooklyn, and a fight club in the Bronx.

Maybe the Mayor and the Governor can stop focusing all of their attention on orthodox Jews and school children and spare a little of it for the party circuit that seems to be operating relatively unhindered under their noses.

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