Bensonhurst native Alexander Shlaferman is a multi-millionaire teenage business whiz-kid, responsible for operating the admittedly cool Vante Toys. According to a New York Post report, Shlaferman, a.k.a. Alex Xander, threw a huge hipster fest on the Manhattan Bridge over the weekend, which ultimately led to his arrest.
The free party, dubbed ‘Xandernation,’ was launched at 9:00 p.m. this past Saturday night and drew a crowd of 600 party-goers to the middle of the pedestrian walkway on the Manhattan Bridge. Shlaferman summed up his inspiration for the party to the Post.
“I can go to a New York City club and spend $3,000 on a table, and have fun for three or four friends. Or I can spend that money and make a thousand people happy,” Shlaferman said.
While the party raged with techno music for a few hours, the Post described how it eventually ended with Shlaferman’s arrest:
At about 12:30 a.m., cops from the 84th Precinct in Downtown Brooklyn arrived and took the organizer into custody, along with DJs Brendon Risano, 23, and Giacomo Nacci, 20.
“The sergeant said he’s never seen anything like that in 15 years,” said Shlaferman. “I told him, ‘Thank you.’ ”
The three men were taken to the station house for four hours. They were given desk-appearance tickets for reckless endangerment and other charges — and bonded with the officers.
Shlaferman, who runs a multi-million dollar toy company, said the cops talked to them in the cell, gave them water, and let them keep their equipment.
“We love all the guys there,” he said. “We showed respect to the police, and they showed respect back to us.”
While Shlaferman’s event was all in good fun, after the event, police were told to increase their security presence around the city’s bridges. CBS reported that the party represented something of an embarrassment for the NYPD:
And while Xander told CBSNewYork.com the event was a great success and the arrests were worth it, some experts were not so amused by it all.
“Anything that happens on the bridge with huge amounts of people that isn’t under the control of police is a terrible security risk,” said terrorism expert Micah Halpern.
Halpern noted that the party was promoted on social media for days – a blow to the NYPD.
It was the fourth bridge security lapse in as many months.
Among them was an event on Memorial Day weekend, when an abandoned vehicle on the Brooklyn Bridge rattled nerves. Then on July 4, a “Spider-Man” wannabe rappelled down the landmark.
It begs the question: who is watching for more sinister behavior?
“These bridges are essential targets to the terrorist mindset, because they say to the terrorist world, ‘We’ve hit the heart of our target,’” Halpern said.
I get that the bridges represent a vulnerable point in the city’s security but I also miss the more innocent days that united city dwellers in spontaneous revelry. Are the days when people used to be able to rush the field when their favorite baseball team won the pennant truly over? Are we so afraid of terrorism that we aren’t allowed to celebrate happiness in our great city? Kind of sad.