#LoveRiot: A Classic "Had To Be There" NYC Moment


What often makes a night out rile beyond simply 'memorable' are those fleeting spectacles that, in hindsight, are incredible and rare and leave you with a bold sureness that you’ll never have this experience again. In New York City, where these hybrid moments are at an influx the later one stays out, it's  comparable to a clear night sky illuminating with an unscheduled series of shooting stars.

It was a warm Wednesday night, in the ever magical Lower East Side, bystanders found themselves surrounding a band of musicians.

You'll see panhandlers throughout New York playing their guitars or strange foreign instruments in the subway or on a park bench, but rarely does it become a true happening that enlightens an entire mass of people.

These particular musicians carried big brass instruments including a tuba, alto sax, tambourine, and harmonaboard and they were hot straight from a gig at the Rockwood Music Hall.

From New Orleans, their leader is the accomplished Jonathan Batiste, who had finished his set with fellow bandmembers Ibanda Ruhumbika, Eddie Barbash, and Joe Saylor. The impromptu moment sparked as the band was standing around socializing with their fans who began to chant, “One more song! One more song!”

Now it was about a quarter to Midnight and Batiste’s crew picked up their instruments and picked right back up, a zenith of energy that stayed with them from the show that ended just minutes prior. As with great music, Batise, his band, and the public began to move. For several blocks, they marched and danced.

According to Batiste, the crowd had grew to about 200 people and, “the energy was tremendous. When we hit the pizza parlor, you couldn’t even hear the sound of your own voice.”

The crowd marched for several blocks until the police showed up to break up the party, but not before the internet got wind of the spectacle.

“In New Orleans,” Batiste tells Joonbug, “people are very free spirits. Amazing things can occur when you have a place with so many free spirits around each other.”

While studying at Julliard, Batiste has encountered many “had to be there” moments, and says this was not his first “#loveriot” which is something New York City is always on the look out for.