It was inevitable that the city of New York would begin to crack down on the plethora of free, sometimes anarchic summer shows around the five boroughs after Tuesday’s Drake concert degenerated into a near riot. Now we have the first official summer casualty: a secret free Jay-Z performance slated for Monday. The rapper had planned to stage a surprise show on top of the marquee at the Ed Sullivan Theater, pegged to a performance on Letterman that night. But, as the New York Post is reporting, after “weeks of planning and negotiations,” the permits for the show were suddenly pulled. “There was discussion of a concert, and ultimately it was decided there would be no permit,” said a spokeswoman for Bloomberg’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting.
No wonder that the city is gun-shy right now. That said, they let Paul McCartney play on the same marquee last year, and Phish and Audioslave before that. Jay’s show is being cancelled, sources told the Post, because word of the concert began to leak out. “Many permits are granted on the condition that the event is not made public beforehand for capacity and security reasons,” the city spokeswoman said. “This event was made public.” Let’s pray, though, that that’s the only reason they intervened here: there is something icky about the first victim of the South Street Seaport debacle being another rapper. We can only hope the city chooses to show Ke$ha the same skepticism.