Busted On The Way To The Dead Show

About ten minutes later I see my brother talking to an undercover outside the van. He said, “I heard that my brother is in that van there and he has my tickets for the show.” “How do you know that?” grunted the cop. “I just heard.” he replied. After being identified by my brother, the cop reached into my pocket and pulled out the two tickets. The cop snickered, “Have fun because your brother certainly aint gonna have any tonight.” Looking directly at me, the cop asked one last time how my brother knew where I was. I replied, “He is a really savvy guy.”

I asked the police officer up front what was in store for us.  He replied, “A long night of processing and a Desk Appearance Ticket. You show up to court in a month and get a six month probation. You stay out of trouble and the charges will be dropped. This is what we police officers call ‘catch and release.’” With relief in my voice I elate “That’s it?!?” Despite being in a shitty situation it was a sigh of relief knowing my life wasn’t ruined.

After sitting in the back of the van for two hours we pulled away for the local precinct. At this point I can’t feel my left hand. The clock inside the precinct read nine o’clock as we were searched thoroughly. The seven men were penned in a cell and the girls were cuffed to the rail on a bench.

For the next three hours, they took our fingerprints and mug shots, which were sent to Albany to identify any warrants. Waiting for Albany to respond was unbearable. A couple of the prisoners asked for a copy of their rap sheet as a souvenir. One mentioned this was going to be his new facebook photo. Another was particularly pissed since he had been looking forward to the concert since he got laid off two months ago and could have paid some of his bills with the money from selling the tickets.

They started releasing us at two in the morning. The cops told a teenager that his mom was there and instructed him, “You look remorseful out there, she has been here for three hours and you show remorse or we are going to throw you back in here.” It cracked me up because the kid asked me if I was telling my parents and I said “No, that’s the luxury of being an adult.”

On my way out they gave me a piece of paper with the details about my court desk appearance. I went to a bar for a couple of beers before headed home. The bartender bought me a couple of beers out of pity. On the subway I fell asleep and woke up without my wallet. It was the icing on the cake and the salt in my wounds. Overall, I can say this was one of the worst days of my life but I am a wiser man for it.

I learned some valuable lessons that night.

  • 1) Never smoke weed on a New York City street while headed to a concert or in the general vicinity of a concert. The police are now targeting venues like MSG, Roseland Ballroom, Terminal 5, Nokia Theater and Highline Ballroom for drinking and drug offenders.
  • 2) Possession of small amounts of marijuana in New York is decriminalized as long as you aren’t selling, and you don’t have a prior record.
  • 3) Always eat your roach if you’re getting in trouble. It may save your night.
  • 4) Don’t fall a sleep on the subway with your wallet in your jacket pocket.

Thank you for reading my story. It’s no backseat ridiculousness with Vermont State Troopers but it was my own experience. If this prevents one of you reading from getting caught like me then I consider this story a success. If not, I would like to quote George W. Bush “Fool me once, shame on, shame on you. You fool me you can’t get fooled again.”


-Alan Silver

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18 Responses

  1. Bummer man! But, what do you expect open smoking a joint outside MSG and Penn Station, probably one of the most surveilled locations in the country? Next time I’d roll with a ceramic cigarette on the streets. And not to rub even more salt in the wounds, but I was inside MSG and the security was totally chill all night. No problems with anything at all. Live and learn…

  2. Orchard Street is right. On the LES, and other “nightlife” areas the Quality of Life Patrol busts people on weekends they ordinarily might let go on weekedays!

  3. zappa…its not about having better things to do, its about making money off the public. Its too easy to write up tickets for idiots smoking weed outside a venue…which is why they camp out undercover.

    All ya gotta do is hold out till u get inside…common sense.

  4. what? ser? i can’t believe peeps are bustin on Alan Silver for puffin in NYC> HT’ers, Please!


    what’s the big deal?

    decriminalized-is decriminalized.

    this is a cautionary tale but I, for one, will not be the “i told you so” dude.

    I’ve gone to shows for years in the city and puffed at free will with no fallout.

    pity dude. thanx for the tale.

  5. Dude – I have empathy for you, as plenty of us have engaged in similar “victimless crimes” – with many of those happening on dim lit streets in NYC – but you can’t blame the cops for your own actions. Not to mention, you got let off with a measly fine for smoking pot in public. Consider yourself warned and lucky.

    This reminds of a good Patton Oswalt skit where he talks about the delusions of free-love hippies living in Austin and venturing out past the city lines. “You mean in the real world you can’t elect a hacky sack mayor?”

  6. 1) Never smoke weed on a New York City street while headed to a concert or in the general vicinity of a concert. The police are now targeting venues like MSG, Roseland Ballroom, Terminal 5, Nokia Theater and Highline Ballroom for drinking and drug offenders.
    puffing nitrous on the other hand seems to be encouraged..

  7. JG_> Last week after a Ratatat concert there were baloons everwhere on the corner of the Terminal 5 venue. It was ridiculous.

  8. Though your situation sounds like a real bummer, I have personally had a positive experience with the NYPD. In 2004 I was driving to a Raq show in Chelsea. I was just outside the city (can’t remember now if I was on the LIE or the Cross-Bronx) when suddenly a car came flying out of an acceleration lane, straight into me. The impact sent me right into the side of a third car. Fortunately no one was hurt, but I was pretty freaked out. My car appeared to be totaled, and while we were waiting for the cops to show up, I searched frantically for my registration and proof of insurance. It had always been in my glove box, where the heck was it now? Since nothing like this had ever happened to me, and I was pretty young at the time, I had no idea what would happen. I was completely freaked out. When the cops finally arrived, they were so relieved to see no one was hurt. They had just come from a shooting in the Bronx. They told me it would be no big deal to just fax a copy of my registration and insurance later. One of the officers actually called my mom to tell her I was ok, and then they let me follow them to the exit I needed to get to my hotel. A month later, when I received the actual ticket, I faxed them the info they needed, and the ticket was dropped immediately. I used to also get really frustrated by cops at shows, but this situation made me so grateful for their work when I really needed them. They’re just doing their job the best they can. If I’m not breaking the law, they’re on my side.

  9. this happened to my buddy on 47th and 9th ave a couple months ago. i went and talked to the cops and asked why he wasnt getting a ticket and let go. they said the rule is, if they find weed on you then you get a ticket. if you are actually smoking they take you in and process and let you go. same deal, hes on probation but its for a year.
    what sucked for him is that we were at a bar so he’d been drinking and the cops took about 2 hours to take him to the precinct and he had to try not to piss the whole time… while stoned around cops. he said they drove around and got food and were making fun of people on the streets and making racist comments the whole time. then they couldnt get the printer to work for about an hour because it was out of paper so he didnt get out til 2am also.

    live and learn. always eat the roach.

  10. My oh my , how times have changed. There was a time when sparking up around the garden before a show was a ritualistic gathering of the tribes. As long as we didn’t get out of control, we never got hassled. It sounds like, now, the cops are trying to generate revenue rather than protect the citizenry. And delaying the entire process just to piss you off/cost you money/make you miss the show, is just plain childish. When I lived in NY (up till 1978) I had police officer friends who always had the best bud. The entire “process” consisted of scaring the stoner with a threat of jail time, cinfiscating the weed and sending the offender off with a warning. then, the cops were free to bake at their convenience. Also childish, bullying behavior, but let’s face it, we’d all probably give up a baggie or two to stay out of stir. Regardless, I feel for you Alan. You missed one helluva show, thanks to Officer Opie.

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