New York police stop subway break dancers in their tracks

Wed Apr 30, 2014 4:34pm EDT
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By Lindsay Dunsmuir

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City police are cracking down on break-dancing subway performers as part of a quality of life campaign on behalf of the city's 5.5 million daily passengers.

So far this year 46 subway dancers have been arrested and charged with reckless endangerment, an NYPD spokesman said on Wednesday.

The spokesman, Officer George Tsourovakas, declined to provide similar year-to-date figures for 2013. NBC New York reported on Tuesday that only two break dancers were charged with reckless endangerment last year.

Arrests of subway panhandlers have also skyrocketed, with 371 arrests so far this year compared with 100 at this time last year, Tsourovakas said.

The break dancers are usually a group of young men who crank up the music on a portable stereo and perform acrobatics using all available space in a subway car, including the subway bars above riders' heads. They make money from tips they get from riders.

The dance routines, originally referred to as b-boying or break-boying, originated in New York City in the 1970s and have since taken off worldwide.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said city subway riders deserve "to expect a ride that's hassle-free," NBC New York reported on Tuesday. "Those activities create a sense of fear, or that we're not paying attention to disorder. We are paying attention to disorder."

Earlier this year the New York City Transit Authority began forwarding subway riders' emailed complaints directly to the NYPD, which has been dispatching officers to investigate in real time.   Continued...