Thousands Shiver, Sing Along at Free Kanye West Concert in NYC - NBC New York

Thousands Shiver, Sing Along at Free Kanye West Concert in NYC

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    Thousands Shiver, Sing Along at Free Kanye West Concert in NYC

    Despite the brutal cold and complaints from unhappy neighbors earlier in the week, thousands of people showed up to watch Kanye West perform in a free New York City concert that went off without a hitch. News 4's Brynn Gingras reports. (Published Friday, Feb. 13, 2015)

    Despite the brutal cold and complaints from unhappy neighbors earlier in the week, thousands of people showed up to watch Kanye West perform in a free New York City concert that went off without a hitch.

    The rapper's fans shivered in Flatiron for more than an hour before the show began, with temperatures dropping rapidly in the evening as an arctic snap crept in.

    "Kanye is all over the news and I work with a magazine so it's fun," said Janey Byun of Washington Heights.

    Andre Gantt of Dallas said he was coping with the cold just fine in his coat.

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    (Published Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015)

    Then there were those in the area who weren't thrilled about the disruption that the outdoor production, organized by Jay Z's company Roc Nation as part of the basketball All-Star Weekend, was bringing to the neighborhood.

    Crews had been working on building the stage since Tuesday, and on Thursday, the entrance to Madison Square Park closed early.

    Community Board 5 had complained about the street closures before the event, and Vice Chair Nick Athanail wrote a letter to the mayor voicing the board's opposition. 

    "These spaces were designed as a public amenity," he said. "They weren't designed to serve corporate events like this."

    But neighbor Joe Graham took it in stride Thursday. "The fact that I have to walk all the way around is annoying, but it could be worse."

    Residents and people going to local businesses were able to go to their destinations during the day. The Street Activity Permitting Office said it had worked with the community board and local businesses for months before the concert to devise traffic and safety plans. 

    Street closures caused come backups in the area into the evening, while barricades kept thousands of concertgoers packed tightly into the concert space. Heavy police presence was visible for several blocks. 

    "This is what New York City is about," said Sue Boyle of Midtown. "This is the way it should be in the streets. Everybody's calm and having fun."

    Andrew Deendill of Ozone Park, Queens, said "the cold is worth it. Kanye West, why not?" 

    The stage is expected to be taken down Friday as the All-Star Weekend goes into full swing. The concert, like other similar events planned around the city this weekend, is not affiliated with the NBA. 

    NYC & Company, the city's marketing and tourism agency, expects the economic impact of All-Star Weekend to be nearly $200 million. 


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