If you were you will know what I’m talking about. Simply put is was not good. I went out late to see how things were working out. It was unlike any other First Friday I’ve ever been to. Here are the bullet points.
- There were 1/2 dozen police cars parked on both sides of Broad sitting with their lights flashing.
- The sidewalks were crammed with people. At choke points people again were spilling out onto the streets.
- There were loudspeakers everywhere.
- The Skyline Lounge
- Harlem Cafe
- A hip hop performance at Adams and Broad
- Christian street preachers added to the din.
- Talk of the Town was quiet, at least while I was there, so was Turnstyle.
Large groups marched down the sidewalk like they owned it. All in all there was a bad vibe in the air that is hard to describe, but you know it when you feel it. It’s usually good to pay attention to those feelings. I ducked into one gallery just to shed some paranoia. The gallery owner was quite unhappy. One of her vendors almost wound up underneath a street fight. She’s about 5′ tall and weighs about 100 lbs. I spent most of my time helping them pack up their gear and get out in one piece.
As the evening got later it didn’t improve. Here’s a bit of what I saw on the walk home. A flash mob of sorts formed outside Harlem Cafe when someone started some street rap. The small crowd of 50 or so was broken up quickly. It would have mushroomed had the police not intervened. At the Empire Theatre a cruiser was blasting its pulse siren at full volume to clear the sidewalk so all patrons could get to their cars.
I’ve got a lot to say on this particular subject, but I’m not going to. I want to hear what you think, what you saw? I’ll only say that this was my worst First Friday experience ever and it pains me to say so. I hope this was a one time aberration, I really really do.