The NYPD fun patrol has been on a real power-trip this week. Last Saturday, Brooklyn venue Coco66, a massive converted warehouse that can fit hundreds of revelers at a time (and that probably does economic wonders for the often-deserted Greenpoint backstreets where it's located) was shut down because of…well, no one really knows why exactly, or when it'll re-open. In an unintentional nod to Casablanca, the police even stormed the place mid-set.
And a couple nights ago, Santos Party House, downtown hipster magnet and project of musician and renowned libertarian philosopher Andrew WK, was "shut down for some reason" (that reason being "drugs," according to early reports). Beloved New York independent music producer Todd Patrick, whose main stage was closed by the cops earlier this year, had a perfect 140-character take on why the NYPD's ability to arbitrarily shutter any party or music venue they want to is actually a huge problem:
WTF City of NY? We're in this economy & closing clubs is yr priority??
Places like Studio B, The Shank, Market Hotel, Coco66, and the Santos—all of which have been closed over the past few years—are among the few bright spots in "this economy." They provide hours of cheap entertainment, employ dozens of people, and draw New Yorkers with expendable income to parts of the city they would otherwise have little reason to visit. Live independent music was a growth industry in New York even during the recession's bleakest period: airplane hanger-sized Brooklyn Bowl opened in July of 2009, while remotely-located Gowanus venue The Bell House started hosting shows during the depression-like fall of 2008. Alt capitalism, a phenomenon explored in this 1997 Reason cover story, is alive and well in New York. But the Santos raid, which targeted a venue partially owned by a semi-celebrity, could have a chilling effect on one of the city's enduring cultural and economic highlights.