So, last night, the typically quiet and touristy South Street Seaport basically went insane when the gimp kid from Degrassi showed up to play a free show. There was a riot, mace was fired, some chairs got thrown, and the show was cancelled. It’s the first riot New York City’s had in a while! And if there’s something this city does well, it’s getting belligerent and breaking shit. So how does The Drake Riot rank up among New York’s classic riots?
1863: New York Draft Riots.
So, basically, a bunch of New Yorkers were told they were going to be drafted into the Civil War. And a bunch of New Yorkers were like, um, no.
Result: 120 people got killed, US soldiers shut everyone down, but at least Martin Scorsese put it in Gangs of New York.
Better Riot Than Drake’s? Meh, about on par, dead people aside.
1943 Harlem Riots
So, basically, a white cop arrests a woman at a fancy hotel for causing some kind of ruckus. Whatever, you know it was bullshit. So did some soldier who saw it go down. He tries to explain to the officer that what he’s doing is bullshit, and the officer shoots him in the arm.
Result: 6,600 cops, 8,000 state guardsmen, and 1,500 civilians are needed to put everyone on ice, but not before six black guys were killed.
Better Riot Than Drake’s? Obvi.
1969: The Stonewall Riots.
So, basically, on Saturday, June 28, 1969 around 1AM, a bunch of gay New Yorkers were at The Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village — which was a gay hangout owned by the mafia — when four cops walked in and shut the place down and started taking all the booze and arresting people. This did not go well. It ended with cops trapped inside a bar, and The Village Voice reporting a chorus line breaking out: “A stagnant situation there brought on some gay tomfoolery in the form of a chorus line facing the line of helmeted and club-carrying cops. Just as the line got into a full kick routine, the TPF advanced again and cleared the crowd of screaming gay power[-]ites down Christopher to Seventh Avenue.”
Result: New Yorkers learned that gay people aren’t sissies, and are not to be fucked with.
Better Riot Than Drake’s? Hell yeah. Drake might be a good rapper, but he wishes he could convince New York that he’s not a pansy.
1991: The Crown Heights Hasid Throwdown.
So, basically, Jewish dudes tragically run over black kid with motorcade. Black dudes understandably flip their shit, which results in tragic killing of Jewish dudes. Riots ensue. At the end, 1,800 cops are in Crown Heights trying to get the Jewish dudes and the Black dudes to chill the fuck out. 152 cops and 38 civilians were injured, 27 vehicles were destroyed, and countless New York Ethnic Foodstuffs likely fell victim to the proceedings without being accounted for.
Result: Jews and Blacks end up pissed at each other, which is too bad, because they’ve both had histories of being fucked with throughout history. Everyone’s accused of either being a racist or an Anti-Semite, which is too bad, because only, like, 40% of them actually are. Oh, The Jews called their lawyers and sued the shit out of the city, and get money. Why didn’t The Black Guys think of that? The Black Guys didn’t get shit, and get shafted even more. But people who live in Manhattan finally know where Crown Heights is. Kinda.
Better Riot Than Drake’s? Not really. Nothing was accomplished and people died and most Manhattanites still can’t point out Crown Heights on a subway map. They probably know what a Drake is, though.
2004: Republican National Convention.
So, basically, someone decides it’s a good idea to have the RNC in New York. What kind of asshole would think having the RNC in New York City would be a good idea? Bloomberg, but you knew that, and it doesn’t matter, because you know Giuliani would’ve done that, too. Our mayor denies protest permits and busts out the riot gear and spies on a bunch of Adbusters-reading hipsters like they’ve got the Kremlin circa 1962 on speed dial, which they don’t. Someone inflates a giant pink penis, and in retaliation, New York’s Finest go all Animal Farm on us.
Result: Everyone who isn’t a cop gets their asses kicked. It’s later revealed that cops made a bunch of shit up which helped them make New Yorkers go away.
Better Riot Than Drake’s? Hell no. George W. Bush gets elected to a second term, and Bloomberg gets elected to a third term a few years later. They didn’t even fuck up any cops. It was a riot that only existed on one side. They can shut down the Drizzy’s show, but they can’t shut down his shine.