Safety dance: Fire Dept shuts down rave at Greenpoint Superfund site

Have a Harte: Firefighters said it was too dangerous to hold a giant rave at the former NuHart factory on Halloween — not because of the toxic waste lurking beneath it, but because of fire hazards.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

They took the fun out of this Superfund site.

The fire department pulled the plug on a massive all-night rave at a toxic Greenpoint factory on Saturday night after neighbors learned about the bash earlier that day and alerted authorities.

Fire fighters reportedly shut down a Halloween dance party at the old NuHart Plastics factory because it was a fire hazard. But locals say they first raised the alarm over worries the party at the Dupont Street building — which the state declared a Superfund cleanup site in 2010 due to dangerous chemicals lurking beneath the ground — would bother a neighboring old folks’ home with noise pollution and poison ravers with regular pollution.

“There are 80 older people living in the senior center down the street, there are babies living on the street,” said neighbor Dafna Naphtali, one of many residents who inundated 311 with complaints after learning party promoter CityFox was planning the shindig and had already sold more than 4,500 tickets.

CityFox — which ran a giant open-air nightclub in Bushwick all summer — obtained the proper permits for the party from the Department of Buildings, according to a staffer for Councilman Stephen Levin (D–Greenpoint), who found out about the party on Thursday and came down to survey the scene on Saturday night.

But the fire department never looked over the building or gave the planners a green light to groove, and when it came to visit ahead of the disco, it declared the site was too dangerous for the party, Levin’s rep said.

Only part of the NuHart property is contaminated, and building owner Dupont Street Developers had assured the councilman’s office the dance would not venture into the toxic section of the sprawling site.

But locals remain skeptical organizers could have ever kept thousands of ravers in one place, and say the Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Conservation should have had stricter measures in place to ensure the toxic plots under their jurisdiction don’t become dance floors in the first place.

“If you can have a rave with 8,000 people on top of a state Superfund site, there’s something really screwed up with your communication,” said life-long Greenpoint resident Lauran Hoffman, who distributed flyers urging neighbors to complain to officials the day of the party.

Meanwhile, party-goers — who paid up to $80 for a ticket and lined up down the street before being turned away at the door — are also stark raving mad that their Halloween festivities were cut short.

“This is the CityFox experience — stand in a long freezing line, waiting to get into a toxic swamp only to find out it got shut down,” wrote Arthur Vee on the event’s Facebook page, one of hundreds who left disgruntled messages after the night was a bust.

Dupont Street Developers, which bought the former polyvinyl chloride plant for more than $23 million last year, plans on turning the property into 400 condominiums once the state has finished its cleanup.

The Department of Environmental Conservation and CityFox did not return requests for comment.

Dupont Street Developers could not be reached for comment.

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at ahobbs@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8312.

More from Around New York

>