Friday Night in Prospect Park: Outside the Calle 13 Show at Celebrate Brooklyn!
Having seen at 6:15 p.m. a pic on Twitter/Instagram of tons of people lined up for the Calle 13 show -- with Ritmo Macine and Ana Tijoux, a Celebrate Brooklyn! event, part of the Bud Light Latin Music Series, also presented with this week's Latin Alternative Music Conference (LMAC) -- when we left Williamsburg at 7:30 p.m., we knew we'd never get in but thought it would be interesting to see the hordes who also wouldn't get in, we headed to Prospect Park anyway.
It was the longest line we'd seen since Okay Africa! in 2010 (when we also couldn't get in) and Blonde Redhead in 2009 (when we did get in).
Today's New York Times estimated Wednesday's New York Philharmonic concert crowd at 20,000, but of course then people just plopped their blankets down on the Long Meadow and Celebrate Brooklyn! is in the Bandshell, a delineated and somewhat confined space that can hold only so many people.
We followed the line as it moved forward in spurts,
meandering around the curves of the paths of Prospect Park, thinking we'd never come to the end.
But we did.
Then suddenly the line started moving very fast. We knew this was not the good sign some people in the back seemed to think it was; it meant they'd closed the venue down and were telling everyone on line that they wouldn't get in.
Nevertheless, people still milled in front of the gates under the flashing lights of police cars and the sound of a loudspeaker voice telling people they definitely would not get in, as in the pics at the top of this post.
Smarter people milled about in places where they knew they'd never get in but maybe could plunk down or stand up and enjoy themselves anyway. (Others frantically tried to contact people they were meeting there, or they tried to make other plans for the evening.)
Having listened to many non-free concerts in East River State Park perfectly clearly from the nearby Bushwick Inlet Park and having heard other expensive (to us) shows for free outside the McCarren Pool or Central Park's paid locales, we knew we could have a great time listening to the music, starting with Ritmo Machine,
standing outside in back of the stage by the fence, or later, just sitting on a bench at the Harmony Playground.
And the bonus was this: Usually the men's bathroom outside the Bandshell area gets so disgusting so fast, we often end up going to the Barnes & Noble men's room after a Celebrate Brooklyn! event. But tonight, because no one could leave the show and get back in, the toilets were pristine
-- and we could still hear Ana Tijoux rapping and people shouting while we were in there.
There's always something to be grateful for. And Residente, Visitante and Ileana Cabra Joglar sounded great, even if we had to imagine what they looked like onstage (shirts on or off).
Sort of what like everyone listening on NPR did, huh? Anyway, it was a great show.
Someday, inshallah, we'll cross the border and get inside to see Calle 13.