A Hundred Boomboxes Will Rove the Streets of New York City in January


Newmindspace, the brains behind street pillow fights and epic light saber battles in the park, has a new event in the works, in conjunction with Tom and Gary of Decentralized Dance Party. This event requires something slightly unusual: As many boomboxes as possible. Kevin Bracken of Newmindspace tells us they need “about 100 boomboxes” — they have 10 so far, though one, impressively, created by Anthony D’Onofrio, is the size of a bicycle — for an FM-transmitter party bringing together hundreds of pirate radios through one FM transmitter, which acts like a mobile radio station. He says, “We get hundreds of boomboxes and tune them to that signal, so instead of a giant speaker there are 100 different sources of sound, creating one large sound.”

The event is scheduled for January 21, which, Bracken points out, will be unseasonably cold for a Newmindspace event. “But we think New Yorkers are hardy people, not the complainers,” he says. They’re hoping to get at least a thousand to come out, which is about a quarter of the people who participate in the annual pillow fight in Union Square. “Gary from Decentralized Dance Party has this rig that not only plays music but also has a mic and a radio mixer, all in a backpack,” says Bracken. “It can be used to broadcast instructions, direct people to move to the next destination, or choreograph.”

The official route for the “roving experience/social happening” — Bracken says this is in no way a flash mob — has yet to be confirmed, though he tells us they’ll likely start outside and end up indoors, and will probably be in Manhattan. He recommends that anyone who wants to participate invest in wool socks.

Is this legal? Well…not exactly. In terms of noise, “New York City prohibits amplified sound without a permit,” says Bracken. (Occupy Wall Street protesters use the “human mic” to get around this rule.) Of course, 100 roving boomboxes on the run from the law only makes it sound more enticing. The theme of the event is “Strictly Business”: a/k/a, cheesy ’80s suits, bad mustaches, and sunglasses.

If you happen to have a spare boombox lying around, or know where to source one, email kevin (at) newmindspace (dot) com with the word “boombox” in the subject line.