Post-concert open-air drug market in Williamsburg!

The Brooklyn Paper
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Concertgoers turned the northside of Williamsburg into an open-air “drug orgy” after Saturday night’s performance by Widespread Panic, wantonly consuming nitrous oxide from balloons in the streets around East River State Park.

One neighbor filmed dozens of roisterers loitering outside her N. Seventh Street stoop after the show, and threatened to call the cops amid what she called a “post-concert drug orgy mob nightmare” filled with a “hissing sound” that likely came from gas cannisters.

“You can’t hang out here, I’m calling the cops,” the woman, Susan Fensten, is heard on a tape recording of the incident. “You have to go.”

But drug users ignored her and kept inhaling “whip-its,” the street name for the gas, from large balloons.

“I had to run in my socks down to the lone cop who was directing traffic to please send help because a huge mob had grown around the balloon sellers,” the amateur videographer told the blog, New York Shitty. “It was total mayhem. It was a horror show and I was afraid for my safety while filming.”

Police found three empty nitrous oxide canisters near Kent Avenue and turned them over the Fire Department as “hazardous.”

Officers made no arrests, but said that they are inspecting the resident’s video to determine the identity of the seller.

Deputy Inspector Terence Hurson of the 94th Precinct said that this is the first instance of nitrous oxide abuse that his officers have discovered at the summer concert series, but residents have complained of similar incidents outside a show at nearby Brooklyn Bowl six months ago.

Residents say that drug use outside concerts at the state park is worrisome.

“This isn’t hot air balloons tied to ribbons,” said People’s Firehouse’s Kurt Hill. “The film shows them using laughing gas.”

Ironically, the band specifically warns audiences about the dangers of nitrous oxide on its website.

“After all the quality of life issues these concerts cause and assurances its organizers gave to be more dilligent, one would think this would be a red flag — but it wasn’t,” the blog, New York Shitty posted.

The concert’s organizer, Stephanie Thayer of the Open Space Alliance, said she was “appalled” by the behavior.

“This is not what we want to see in this community, certainly not near our concerts or parks,” said Thayer. “We will continue to work with the NYPD to prevent this ugly aberration from happening near our neighborhood parks again.”

State law prohibits the sale and use of nitrous oxide for “intoxicati­on, inebriation, excitement, stupefaction or the dulling of the brain or nervous system.”

The gas is used in medical and dentist offices, aerosol cans sold at supermarkets, and for carbonating seltzer; cannisters must be labeled as suitable only for those purposes.

Abusing the drug, which is sometimes called “laughing gas,” can lead to disorientiation, visual and auditorary hallucinations, asphyxiation. and even death.

Updated 5:26 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Jim from Cobble Hill says:
My goodness, drugs at concerts. Who would have thought... I can't wait for tomorrow's expose about the sky being blue.
Sept. 21, 2011, 7:15 am
me from here says:
Call 311. Call the cops. Call them again. Eventually they'll finish their donuts @ Kellogg's and show up.
Sept. 21, 2011, 7:25 am
Old Guy from Park Slope says:
OMG, people still doing nitrous oxide? I remember doing nitrous in the '70's. What is the next up & coming drug? Quaaludes?
Sept. 21, 2011, 7:35 am
Homie from Crooklyn says:
All this hysteria over some laughing gas...heh heh
Sept. 21, 2011, 7:42 am
Me from The Sandbox says:
"Canisters", not "Cannisters". Too much NO2 affecting your ability to spell?

And no one calls them whip-its...
Sept. 21, 2011, 8:23 am
egit from Boerum Hill says:
Heavens! There's no telling what those wild orgiastic concert-goers will do on NO2. They might... they might... sit down unsteadily and giggle at the sky for 20 seconds!
Sept. 21, 2011, 9:45 am
Zenster from North Williamsburg says:
OSA raises approx. 13k per concert for the state parks, the drug dealers raise approx. 100k! OSA, why don't you just set up a permanent beer concession in the park and sell your balloons to the kiddies!

OSA-GET OUT OF OUR STATE PARK! and take your hideous solar lights with you on the way out.
Sept. 21, 2011, 9:51 am
dirk from billyburg says:
What do you expect? It's Williamsburg. Most drug filled neighborhood in the city. Every bar and restaurant...go check out the bathroom...people doing lines of coke everywhere. I have no clue why people raising families move to Williamsburg, it is NOT child friendly.
Sept. 21, 2011, 9:53 am
Steve from PLG says:
They're called "whip-its," — plural — not "whip-it." You don't do just one of them. Geez. Widespread rules!
Sept. 21, 2011, 10:02 am
justin from sunnyside says:
For some context, the Voice did a feature on the nitrous sellers last summer. Talks about the Brooklyn Bowl show.
Sept. 21, 2011, 10:20 am
High on Life not drugs from the hood says:
Drug use leads to robberies, rape, burglary, muggings, death, accidents, addiction, mental breakdowns, divorce, child abuse, destruction of property, to name a few... When one of these adult children on laughing gas goes into cardiac arrest, should we just "laugh our asses off"? This is a neighborhood, like any other.
Mayor Bloomberg, would you like to buy a condo?
Sept. 21, 2011, 11:09 am
Please from Greenpoint says:
A couple of people doing whipits, what a nightmare drug orgy. Nice try with the hysterics though.
Sept. 21, 2011, 11:12 am
common sense from bay ridge says:
Lol, people doing lines of coke in every Willyb bar, everywhere!?! Hyperbole, much?

The real crime that night was non refundable drink tickets, and actors playing morons that supposedly didn't know how to tap a keg. Not to mention half the porto potties being locked, resulting in absurdly long waits for the remaining facilities. To then act shocked at hippie crack being sold after the show can only mean that the organizers are the dumbest promoters ever, or scam artists. I'm going with the latter.
Sept. 21, 2011, 11:17 am
eff from that says:
Williamsburg is gross. Ugly buildings, stupid people.
Sept. 21, 2011, 11:32 am
Jimmydean from Williamsburg says:
what drug orgy? N20 is run by the N20 Mafia not PANIC fans. Don't lump Phish fans into this. I recently attended the VT Flood benefit concert 12K ppl and 0 drug arrests or arrests in general.

it's not the music, the bands, or the fans. it's the N20 dealers who don't give a crap about the music.

this lady needs to go out and get laid, or move out of the Burg
Sept. 21, 2011, 11:40 am
krusty from springfield says:
A few people with balloons is a "horror show?" Are you afraid of clowns too?
Sept. 21, 2011, 11:40 am
Lindsay from Greenpoint says:
Lots of people are moving out of the Burg. Problem is, the people who are leaving are the ones who support the good restaurants and bars and the ones staying are the entitled yupster famlies who shop at Duane Reade and get their coffee at Starbucks. And then you have the thugs. Crime is way up in Williamsburg, no wonder people are leaving. Who wants to pay $2000 bucks for a studio to live in a declining neighborhood.
Sept. 21, 2011, 11:48 am
Sal from williamsburg says:

Because someone doesn't want drugs consumed outside of their home, they should move? Or need to get laid? YOU are exactly what is so vile about this neighborhood. Your attitude is rife with entitlement and the subject of much fodder about your lost generation.

Not wanting drugs in one's neighborhood is considered normal. Williamsburg has really become an unpleasant place to live these days, and unfortunately you have people who paid a lot of money for these condos and they will do anything to hold that value. Sadly, they didn't choose wisely because this neighborhood went from being an escape for artists to a place almost solely based on materialism, greed and drugs and alcohol. Didn't always used to be this way, I see it as something which has transpired in the last 10 or so years. Sad, really. I used to really like this place.
Sept. 21, 2011, 11:58 am
Eddie Mazz from Bay Ridge says:
What the hell! These hipsters can't afford Weed or something!?! LOW CLASS TRASH!!! with balloons.....
Sept. 21, 2011, 12:37 pm
smackthat from williamsburg says:
its a shame that williamsburg has come to this..there are MORE drugs in this neighborhood now than there were in the 80's. 94th precinct is BY FAR the WORST precinct ever. It should be shut down! They NEVER come for any 911 calls or complaints. These Nitrous oxide balloon sellers were outside on North 8th street til 5am, constantly refilling their balloons from a gas tank inside their drunk..they later brought 15-20 more people with them. There were tons of witnesses including myself. 911 was called 2 times along with a call to the 94th precinct..not 1 cop car came by in the 5 hours they were outside. They were SO LOUD and obnoxious, neighbors were woken up. In addition to all their drug dealing, they kept returning to urinate all over NITA NITAS trash cans and fence, and also on NITA NITAS next door neighbors flower garden. When residents asked them to move and use a bathroom to relieve themselves, they became viscious and started using profanities and were sending a physical invitation to fight. WOW, all of this happening between 1-5am INFRONT OF PEOPLES BEDROOMS..A SHAME!!!
Sept. 21, 2011, 12:52 pm
dee_snutz from snutzlevania says:
InHaLe all ThE BaLLooNs!!!
Sept. 21, 2011, 1:27 pm
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
Wow, that video is depressing. I can't believe these lowlifes are being so blatant. Shame on the 94th Precinct.
Sept. 21, 2011, 1:28 pm
bill from williamsburg says:
WATCH THAT VIDEO and then tell me why people would pay 3000 a month to rent in that building right there. This neighborhood has become a nightmare in every sense of the word. Sell your property while you can because it's only getting worse and worse. Drinking and drug use is THE NUMBER ONE goal of most of these kids in Williamsburg.
Sept. 21, 2011, 1:53 pm
Ben from Brooklyn Heights says:
And i hear that the subway train service is really bad to Willamsburg. I understand there are NO decent public schools or supermarkets. I am told that if you work in Great Neck and have a BMW to park in your glass towers basement garage Williamsburg is bearable with a large apartment and a pool in the building you never need to go out to the neighborhood which is the pits.
Sept. 21, 2011, 4:28 pm
Joe from Gamehendge says:
This lady has lived in NYC her entire life and the worst drug abuse she's seen is NO2? Ser? Stuff's only dangerous if you use it standing up. SMH @ the judgement & misinformation. Peace
Sept. 21, 2011, 7:04 pm
Perdo from FG says:
Instead of filming why not just pop the stupid balloons?
Sept. 21, 2011, 7:37 pm
LadyLove from williamsburg says:
Joe from Gamehendge- thats not the point, the point is that 6,000 plus inebriated people is not acceptable in a residential neighborhood. These are peoples homes, not bathrooms
Sept. 21, 2011, 7:52 pm
Neil from Coburg says:
Nitrous Oxide is so boring. You can buy it at the stupormarket and the effects last seconds. It's funny a couple of times at most unless you can't get enough of comedy deep voice. I just can't see a social problem. Maroons sucking on balloons - meh.
Sept. 21, 2011, 11:12 pm
Plezzzzzzzz from Greenpoint says:
Drug orgy?! Are you kidding me? Williamsburg has always been a drug den. Cokie's anyone? JFC!
You people need to get out more. I've never been to a show where the smell of weed didn't consume the air or hear lots of sniffling in the bathroom.

Ladylove - capacity is 1600 as was discussed at ALL the meetings about the shows. Get your facts straight & stop adding unnecessary drama to a seemingly innocuous situation or I'll release the video.
Sept. 22, 2011, 1:19 pm
ladylove from williamsburg says:
Plezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz- capacity at 1600???? are you on CRACK or nitrous??????? there are WAY more than 1600 tickets being sold to these events. Go ahead, make your threats and release whatever video you want pal. nobody is going to be bullied by your punk ass..I HAVE VIDEO SHOWING WAY MORE THAN 1600 PEOPLE BEING RELEASED FROM THE WATERFRONT PARK GATES DURING THOSE CONCERTS ALSO URINATING, DEFICATING, VOMITING, DOING DAMAGE TO PEOPLES HOMES, BIKES, CARS, FRONT GARDENS, HARASSING RESIDENTS, DRUGS, DRUG DEALING AND SCALPING SO BRING IT. I WELCOME YOU
Sept. 22, 2011, 5:52 pm
chinadoll from brooklyn says:
plezzz- the park is not a concert venue, so weed or any type of drugs should not be in or around the park where children and families play/go. also, why should residents have to deal with the aftermath when they dont attend these concerts?
Sept. 22, 2011, 6:15 pm
eddi from greenpoint says:
Chinadoll, Because the residents chose to live in a crappy neighborhood filled with drugs, alcoholics and hoodlums. That's why. Should have done some research before overspending on that crappy condo.
Sept. 22, 2011, 7:04 pm
chinadoll from brooklyn says:
eddi-why would you assume I live in a condo? I grew up in this neighborhood and am a long time resident, so are my relatives and neighbors. Not everyone who is complaining about these obnoxious concerts are "rich condo owners"..i wish i could afford that.
also, on "off concert days" the neighborhood isnt that bad at all. Its what happens on concert days on peacuful residential blocks that concern us.
Sept. 22, 2011, 8:17 pm
Ronald from Sunset Park says:
Nitrous Oxide is not a drug, and is harmless. It is legal to possess and use. You want to see real drugs, take a short walk over to Havemeyer & B'way. Heroin addicts doing the nod. It has been like this since the 60's.

That is not a park for children; it is an old abandoned rail yard. The recent home-buyers in this industrial area should have did some research. The place is loaded with hookers and junkies.

I think there is a lot of lies being created about the concert-goers defecating, damaging property...
Sept. 23, 2011, 4 am
Richard Grayson from Williamsburg says:
That's entertainment!
Sept. 23, 2011, 4:08 am
Gene from Williamsburg says:
Forget the concerts. Spend any night on Metropolitan Ave and Union Ave, near the L station. The drunken 7 night a week partiers are out there screaming at all hours. I am not concerned about my million dollar condo, I am a 3 generation resident. Yes we had gangs and drugs back in the day but that didn't infringe on the families who were just trying to make a living and raise families. I wish NYC could close it's borders to out of towners and I don't mean foreigners from other countries.
Sept. 23, 2011, 8:14 am
smack that from williamsburg says:
ronald- how can you say lies have been created about the concert goers damaging property when their is physical proof? pictures, video footage, police reports and evidence..what planet are you on? people dont just make things up like this..would u like to see the repair bills of the bikes and cars that have been vandalized and graffitied during and after the concerts?
Sept. 23, 2011, 12:05 pm
River from williamsburg/Conneticut says:
Ronald- I agree with smack that. Ive moved here only 8 months ago and live in an old factory on Kent. There is no lie about what damage takes place during these concerts. I am witness to them and so are many others..I too have actually filmed and taken pictures of what a mess the immediate area turns into during and right after concerts. My bike was totally mangled and saw the douchebags who did it. Blue concert wristbands, drunk and violent.
Sept. 23, 2011, 12:21 pm
looney from brooklyn says:
the problem here is not what drugs they did, it is the behavior pattern and the plain simple disrespect for the property of other people. in any given neighborhood people are entitled to have a good night of sleep. this reminds me of the 70's when crime and drugs were rampant in nyc. yes drugs are still here and probably more rampant then ever, but the rest of the population in ny has a way to enjoy life a little more nowadays by not being afraid to go out their house. i have to say where i live is not a perfect place but when there is an event the police is doing their job and are there to keep order. yes there are different kind of problems everywhere but this behavior is not acceptable.
as much as i remember DRUGS are still illegal and distroying proberty is also against the law.. no matter what color, what income level and were you live this should not be accepted as a way of living. sorry - to all the people of williamsburg.
Sept. 24, 2011, 11:05 am
Ronald from Sunset Park says:
@Smack That & @ River: I did not know things were that bad; I can't understand why you would video-tape somebody(s) smashing up your property. I would get confrontational. If this is a pattern, I would have planned ahead and got one of those super soaker water guns and filled it with kerosene(not gasoline--way too flammable) and blinded them. Let them go the Woodhull emergency room and explain that to a doctor.
Sept. 24, 2011, 11:24 am
kronic from boricquaville says:
weres the damage complaining old biotch, stfu and die move out of Crooklyn you cheatinf wall street fairey. I want to get liberel on your ass
Sept. 24, 2011, 12:14 pm
gimme from around says:
whippet good
Sept. 24, 2011, 2:34 pm
VoiceOfTruth from 11249 says:
What an overreaction. I own near the concert venue and the only problem I have seen were the dicknuts that decided to go swimming after the Fleet Foxes show. Gross olds and ——birds overreact to everything, everyone is gone by 11pm after these shows.
Sept. 27, 2011, 5:22 pm
sara from greenpoint says:

I wish this site let you rate the other comments.

reading through this, i think this one is the best:

eff from that says:
Williamsburg is gross. Ugly buildings, stupid people
Sept. 29, 2011, 11:30 am
WEMO from Southside says:
I've lived in the Southside going on 40 yrs and I know firsthand what drugs can do to a neighborhood.We thought that things would change and they have except now it's not crack, yeyo & perico. I guess it's not that you deal it's what you deal...The element you have now is no where nears what you had back in the 70's & 80's but I guess it is the price you pay for gentrification. Thanks for ruining what was once a great place to live.
Oct. 4, 2011, 6:24 am
Kiffer from The Moon says:
She looked real affraid out there sticking her camera in peoples faces. was the problem the people being on her street at 10 at night or the nitrous? If it's the nitrous thats just dumb. Has she ever been to the dentist? How many people after getting nitrous at the dentist commit rape, burglary, get divorced, and what ever else some inch worm said above. If they didn't have those evil balloons I wonder if she would've minded. Seems like the people who have a problem with it should have taken the fact that there is a concert venue right there into account before moving there. And if you lived there before it was there then it sucks to be you, move. I'd love to get the wal-mart, target, home-depot, lowes, mcdonalds, all shut down in my neighborhood for their crimes against humanity. Maybe Susan Fensten should focus her attention on things that matter rather then her own selfish reasons.

And to make what I know is a vast generalization, the people who have issues with this stuff are spoiled brats who have boughten into the world of indentured servitude for money hoarding and mass consumerism. Is the bigger crime living in one of those yuppie condos, making enough money to feed mass amounts of starving people and instead using it to buy —— that no one needs or using a mind altering stimulant. Granted neither is contributing to society as a whole very much but, if there is a hell I doubt drug use will land you there while the former may. Theses people are the ultimate form of selfishness, "I have 200 times more then anyone person needs to live, I rule!"

The problems with vandalism has little to do with drugs, large numbered gatherings are the cause do to the fact that some people are ——s weather they choose to use drugs or not.

I hope a group of people gather on her stoop, bring some nitrous tanks, and blast Porch Song.
Oct. 12, 2011, 7:29 am

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