Illegal parties continue to rage in New York in violation of COVID-19 restrictions – CBS New York

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – For months we have been told to avoid large gatherings to slow the spread of COVID-19, but there have been dozens of illegal parties in New York City since the start of the pandemic.
The video posted to Instagram shows more than 100 people in Queens trapped together, dancing and drinking with no masks in sight.

This is just one of hundreds of what appear to be illegal parties taking place in the city during the pandemic.

There was a scene similar to Halloween with revelers crowded in, dressed in costumes.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

The New York Sheriff’s Office has put an end to at least 45 illegal parties since March, including one at a Prince Street penthouse in SoHo.

“Every Thursday and Friday night there is a bouncer. He takes money here, the kids go upstairs, no masks, ”said James Bruni, a resident of SoHo.

In Queens, a Corona resident says crowds are gathering in a tent in the yard near his home.

“There was a lot of music,” he says. “From around 6 p.m. until sometimes 6, 7, 8 in the morning, it’s incessant.”

New York sheriffs have halted several New Years parties in violation of social distancing orders. (Credit: @ NYCSheriff / Twitter)

Kristina Alaniesse is a veteran club promoter in Manhattan. She says underground parties take place in every borough, sometimes with hundreds of people.

She has no doubt that the parties are contributing to the spread of COVID.

“People I know who go don’t care,” she told CBS2’s Kiran Dhillon. “They just want to party.”

MORE: New York Sheriffs Interrupt Several Illegal New Years Eve Parties

How do people find out about the holidays? It all comes down to social media and who you know.

A quick online search brings up dozens of listings.

“There are a lot of WhatsApp groups, so group chats with revelers,” Alaniesse said. “Instagram and SMS and mailing lists. ”

The locations are kept secret until they happen.

The New York Sheriff’s Office said it destroyed an illegal bottle club with more than 75 people inside on Thanksgiving eve in Queens. (Credit: New York Sheriff’s Office)

The videos show how developers get creative, using warehouses, penthouses, basements and even office buildings.

Alaniesse says the owners play ball because many are in financial trouble.

MORE: Sheriff closes illegal party in Queens with over 160 people in attendance

But for everyone who attended, there are plenty of long-time industry insiders coming forward, like DJ Lauren Flax. She was invited to play the raves and declined.

Flax says a lot of the people throwing parties right now are new to the scene and looking to cash in on them.

“I can’t believe people can be so casual about human life just for a night out,” she says.

CBS2 spoke off camera with several people involved in the illegal party scene who want to remain anonymous. They say their livelihoods have been reduced due to COVID and until more government assistance is available the parties will continue.

Those who have violated COVID-19 guidelines may face civil and criminal summons.

MORE: An illegal party with nearly 400 people in attendance in Manhattan

The New York City Sheriff’s Office is primarily responsible for enforcement. When CBS2 asked why so many people are not being policed, the mayor’s and sheriff’s offices said the city’s resources are currently scattered.

New York Sheriff officials continue to crack down on parties, such as the one where more than 200 people were found in a West 26th Street garage on November 14, 2020 (Credit: @NYC Sheriff / Twitter)

Many New Yorkers are not happy with this reasoning. They want more repression and tougher penalties, adding that the current fines have not been a deterrent.

Until that happens, they worry the parties and the rapid spread of COVID will continue.

When asked about its role in law enforcement, the NYPD said its goal was not to issue citations but to encourage social distancing. In the meantime, the governor’s office did not respond to our request for comment.

Kiran Dhillon contributed to this report.

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