If you’ve ever been to the South Street Seaport during the summer, you’re surely acquainted with the giant amoeba of tourists enveloping the pier; the bodies, circulating slowly but never going anywhere. Feel your chest tighten yet? Now imagine going to the port at the same time as a 7,000-person flash mob gets on its hands and knees and starts following you around in total silence. I’d probably start crying, like a confused toddler. Good thing I wasn’t there when 7,000 people descended on South Street Seaport July 14 for the 10th Annual MP3 Experiment hosted by Improv Everywhere, a New York-based “prank collective.”
Weeks beforehand, Improv Everywhere circulated a 45-minute MP3 for upload onto mobile devices. Participants were told to dress like tourists (as if gaslighting innocent bystanders weren’t punishment enough). Headphones in, all 7,000 participants obey the instructions on the MP3.
The film of the event hit the web yesterday. The mayhem is hard to describe–thousands of participants randomly giving out singles, hundreds of (mostly) sporting onlookers, and rubberneckers on the FDR highway combine to make a wacky scene.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 23, 2013