I know I’m a month late, and several bucks short, on this one, but I wanted to share some thoughts on the House of Yes raid last month. The House of Yes, as many of you know, was that popular underground performance and event space in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick that was home to aerialists, burlesque shows, sideshow performers, clowns and many a dance party. The space was already slated to close at the end of last month, as the landlord had doubled the rent on the performers that were living there and they, not being able to afford it, opted to pack their bags and seek another such space elsewhere.
But a strange thing happened a few days in advance of the venue’s clothing. The space got raided on August 16, when a plain-clothed police officer had entered the very popular Vitamin B party there on a Friday night and saw alcohol being sold without a license, among other transgressions. A few of my friends got taken to jail and spent anywhere from a few hours to a day there. Not fun, I imagine.
Us journalists are always taught to ask “why now?” on any given story. So, yes, why now? (Or “Why then?” rather), when Vitamin B and many other dance parties had been held at this venue for years and the place was about to close in a few days anyway. The New York Times ran this story, about the closing, and the raid, a few days later. To the untrained eye, it may have seemed like the raid led to the closing, but that wasn’t the case at all.
The venue has been having parties there (and selling alcohol) for years. I’ve been to many of these parties. I actually now live close to where the House of Yes used to be, so I’ll no longer be able to so easily wander over there at midnight or at seven in the morning (as I once did) to join in on the fun. (I know, boo hoo, woe is me, #firstworldproblems)
But anyway, back to why now? One of my friends, who spent 20 hours in jail in association with the raid, said that one of the officers in central booking told him, in confidence, that the police has better things to do than bust these parties. He was under the impression that this was some local politician’s ruse to gain more favor from his constituency, being that it was staged so close to election season.
One of the other people that got taken in also had a sizeable amount of drugs in his bag, as far as I heard (I don’t know what it was, but I’d imagine it was Molly, what the cool kids call MDMA, or the supposedly pure form of ecstasy these days. It’s the most common party drug). But the officers only charged him with possession, not intent (to sell, that is). That was nice of them, I suppose.
Another officer told my friend, in confidence, to not make these parties public. Obviously these events and underground spaces are still going to be there, if New York has any chance of remaining fun or relevant. The problem is that everything’s splattered all over Facebook and other social media outlets these days, making them easily findable. (The fact that I’m writing this probably doesn’t help, huh?).
I (fortunately or unfortunately) didn’t make it to that fateful Vitamin B party or get to properly bid farewell to the House of Yes. But despite the loss of this venue, the party will certainly go on. The next one is on a boat, good luck raiding that.