Cops Shut Down Drake T-Shirt Giveaway on Lower East Side
LOWER EAST SIDE — A giveaway of exclusive T-shirts designed by the rapper Drake got out of hand Thursday, prompting police to shut down the event.
Hundreds of people lined up for hours at the Alife store at 158 Rivington St. near Clinton Street with the hope of receiving one of 500 free T-shirts promoting Drake's upcoming album "Nothing Was the Same."
But less than two hours after the store opened at 1 p.m. bystanders said a fight broke out and police were called about reports of a stabbing. Cops said they could find no evidence of a stabbing or fight.
"Everything was covered [with people] — the street, the sidewalk, across the street," said Marco Giarracca, 20, a student at Fordham University who had joined the line at 11 a.m.
On Tuesday, Drake promoted the Lower East Side event on Instagram, as well as two other similar events in Los Angeles and Toronto, to his 3 million-plus followers.
"It just got out of hand," said an Alife store employee who would only give his name as Tommy. He said it would be business as usual at the store on Friday with no free T-shirts.
Numerous witnesses said a fight broke out near the front of the line about 2:45 p.m.
"Someone tried to jump the line and then a woman pulled out a box cutter," said Luis Carmone, 17, who witnessed the incident at the front of the line.
Carmone and his friend Sebastian Villada said they had been lined up since 8 a.m. with the hope of getting a free T-shirt and reselling it to other Drake fans.
Juan Castillo, 17, said he saw a scuffle between two fans waiting in line.
A police officer at the scene confirmed cops had shut down the event after they had been called about a possible knifing.
"Nobody got arrested. There were no signs of a stabbing," he said.
In 2011, police shut down a free concert by Drake at the South Street Seaport after fans almost rioted when it was announced the rapper would be 90 minutes late.
Drake's management company William Morris Endeavor Entertainment did not immediately respond to an email for comment.