• Choking Victim - Tompkins Square Park 8-5-18



    Tompkins Square Park, located in the East Village in Manhattan, has long been a sight the locals associate with politics and activism. There were anti-war protests there in the sixties, and in the eighties it became a de facto homeless camp and was ripe with drug problems. In 1988, the cops came in and tried to oust the homeless that were living there. This resulted in a now fairly infamous riot, clips of which did wind up on newscasts around the New York City area. When it was all said and done, between the evening of August 6th and the morning of August 7th, thirty-eight people – homeless and random bystanders alike – were injured in altercations with the NYPD and no police officers were charged with any wrongdoing.

    Since that event, free concerts have been put on in the park to commemorate the event and raise awareness. This year, the concert was spread out of two days and featured not just bands, but activists and speakers as well. Hardcore band Breakdown headlined on Saturday, while on Sunday that duty was given to Choking Victim (performing as Chokn Victim).

    I got there in time to catch most of Team Spider’s set and all of the Choking Victim set. What’s interesting about shows that are put on for free in pubic spaces is that the park remains just that – a public space. As such, anyone can show up and join in, or continue to use the park for whatever they might want. This makes a show like this an interesting people watching experience and explains why in the photos below you’ll see some older ladies chilling out with a game of ping pong at a table located near the concert space and other Lower Manhattan anomalies.

    At any rate, the show was fun. At one point someone tried to burn a flag but the flag was plastic so that didn’t really work so well. Half way through the set someone started throwing cauliflower around the mosh pit, some of which ended up on stage. When they played Crack Rock Steady the band was joined by Joey Steel (of Joey Steel And The Attitude Adjusters and a few other local projects) as well as a guy named Popeye (who I’m fairly certain is a resident of C-Squat a few blocks away) to liven things up a bit. Bass player Shayne Webb played the set sitting down due to an injury but Scott Sturgeon (aka STZA aka STZA Crack) was in fine form, noting that there was – somewhat unusually – no visible police presence in the vicinity… something he almost seemed to take offense to, noting that maybe the NYPD didn’t care about him anymore!

    A few pictures both the Team Spider and Choking Victim sets and a few other shots of randomness from the afternoon.