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New York party boat owners arrested following illegal, non-socially distanced, event

Over 170 people boarded the party on the Liberty Belle on Sunday morning, which was shut down by police 

An unlicensed boat party on New York’s Lower East Side was shut down in the early hours of Sunday morning, 2nd August. 

Shortly after 1 AM on Sunday morning the Liberty Belle party boat set off from its dock at Pier 36 in Lower Manhattan. Over 170 guests are estimated to have been aboard the boat, which can normally hold up to 600. 

The boat’s owners, Ronny Vargas and Alex Suazo, were arrested for violating New York’s ban on large crowds and for running a bar without a license. Gale A. Brewer, the Manhattan borough president, alerted authorities after receiving a complaint about the party from local residents. “I want the business in New York to do well,” she told the New York Times. “But you have to follow the rules in terms of safety and health.”

The boat party happened on the same weekend as an illegal rave under the Kosciuszko Bridge in Brooklyn. Hosted by Renegade promoters, the event drew hundreds of attendees and has faced considerable criticism for its lack of social distancing measures in place. One DJ who played the event, Pictureplane, said it wasn’t "worth the risk looking back on it now" and that he "definitely wont be going to any events like that again while covid is still happening".

The Chainsmokers also held a “drive-in” event in the Hamptons last week, which attracted thousands of party go-ers who failed to adhere to social distancing guidelines. In the state of New York, events are currently capped at 50.

Photo credit: Trevor Holland