Free Kanye West Concert in NYC Draws Complaints

Some residents in Flatiron aren't happy about Kanye West's free concert set to take to place in their neighborhood Thursday night.

West, a notorious award-show disrupter -- including the recent brief stage-crashing at the Grammys -- is now disrupting the area where they live and work, neighbors in the area of Broadway and East 23rd Street complain. 

"I think it's ridiculous they would do it for him. If that's the case, they should close down when protesters walk around," said Michael Noonan, who works nearby. 

The 8 p.m. concert is being organized by Jay Z's company Roc Nation as part of the NBA All-Star Weekend Concert. Kevin Durant is also expected to make an appearance.

Mike Bass, the NBA's executive vice president of communications, said the NBA is not involved in the event.

Broadway and Fifth Avenue between 23rd and 26th streets will be shut down starting Thursday afternoon. Setup for the event begins at midnight Tuesday and load-out will conclude by 7 p.m. Friday, but the street closures for the actual concert will occur for three hours on February 12. 

Nick Athanail, the vice chair of Community Board 5, 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 Kanye fans are excited about the hip-hop star's free appearance. 

"I think it's great for the city of New York, and I think it will bring a lot of attention to the area," said Gramercy Park resident Jason Mishel.

Residents and people going to local businesses will be able to go to their destinations during the closures, officials with the Street Activity Permitting Office say.

The office has been working with and meeting the local community board and Business Improvement District for weeks, and has worked with the NYPD, FDNY and numerous transportation departments to devise a safety plan, officials said. 

Emil Lissauer, acting director of Citywide Events Coordination and Management, said in a statement: "The city is committed to ensuring safety at all events while minimizing traffic disruption and impact on local residents, and this event is no exception." 

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

The free tickets were being distributed by Roc Nation and the radio station Power 105. 

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