Wild video shows people flooding Astoria’s Steinway Street without masks
Large crowds of maskless revelers are packing the streets in Astoria and partying like there’s no pandemic.
A video shot Friday night shows hundreds of partiers packing Steinway Street as an NYPD cruiser tries to get by and police tell people to “get out of the street.”
The crowd cheers as the car moves on, then fills the street again, plastic cups in hand. They stood in front of bars and restaurants, some of which had tables out for dining.
Later, a group of officers can be seen standing on a corner looking on as crowds walk by.
Another video posted to Twitter early Saturday morning shows people dancing and jumping up and down on Steinway Street.
And Twitter user @vodkapond posted a video that appeared to show alcohol being sold out of the back of cars and asked, “Anyone going to do anything about this?” tagging Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio.
The NYPD said it responded to the area around 12:30 a.m. Saturday after receiving a traffic complaint and that “officers issued multiple verbal orders for the crowd to disperse. The crowd cleared out without incident.”
The NYPD said it issued 20 summonses for double parking and bus stop violations — but no social distancing violations.
John Zorbas, who owns the Brik restaurant on Steinway Street, where crowds have amassed outside, said he did not know why the area has become a party zone.
“Maybe they feel comfortable because no one’s telling them to do anything. I don’t know what they’re thinking. I’m just trying to run a business,” Zorbas said.
He said the area needed help.
“We can’t control what hundreds of people are doing,” he said. “Yeah, we need some help. Where it’s going to come from? I don’t know.”
The maskless parties have been going on for two weeks, claims resident Michelle Mouquin, who lives across the street from Brik.
Mouquin recorded videos of the street revelers, many of whom rev their engines as they party in the wee hours between 1 a.m. and 5:30 a.m., filling the street with exhaust, according to Storyful.
The partygoers “block traffic and cause roadblocks. They park dozens of motorcycles and quads on the sidewalk and set up a hookah on the sidewalk,” Mouquin told Storyful. “This has become a very unsafe area due to the large crowds during this COVID-19 pandemic.
What pandemic? Hundreds pack St. Marks Place to drink, party
A State Liquor Authority spokesman said the agency was aware of the videos on social media and “we will take all action necessary to protect New Yorkers during this public health emergency.”
“The main responsibility for enforcing social distancing lies with the local government — in this case New York City — and they must ensure activity like this that risks transmission of COVID-19 are not allowed to take place,” said spokesman William Crowley.
“Enough is enough,” said furious City Council Member Costa Constantinides, who represents the area.
“We are in complete chaos and one drunken fight away from a powder keg exploding,” Constantinides said.
De Blasio called the situation “unacceptable” in a tweet Saturday afternoon.
“We’ll be out in Astoria and across the city tonight to make sure restaurants are doing their part to keep their diners and their workers safe,” he tweeted.
The Astoria scenes recall the partiers who jammed St. Mark’s Place in the East Village in June during Phase One of the city’s reopening plan when outdoor dining was not allowed.
The city is expected to move to Phase 4 Monday and Cuomo warned on Thursday that bars and restaurants failing to comply with state rules will have a “three strikes and you’re closed” mandate. He required that food be sold along with alcohol and banned walk-up bar service.