The 60th Grammy Awards were held at Madison Square Gardens in New York City, which, to many, seemed like a fun blast to the past and a tribute to that time 15 years ago when it had been held at the same exact place. However, New Yorkers were not that happy with the results. While in preparation for The Grammy’s it seemed like an exciting opportunity for the city, it quickly proved to be otherwise.
Firstly, the main problem was the lack of communication in setting up the entire event. With no word on whether or not official tickets would be available to purchase, fake sites and scammers began to start seeking out desperate fans. This, in itself, created heartbreak for many who just wanted to fulfill a dream of theirs.
As a result of no fans being present at the actual ceremony, it was clear to those watching at home that the performances were just not as hyped up as they usually are. Having a live action audience at the event has, in the past, provide the right level of energy to drive positive viewer ratings. Madison Square Garden is a smaller venue and because of that, there was far less room for grand performances and/or a “party vibe”, which really hurt the overall Grammy performances, where the crowd this year seemed stiff and uncomfortable.
Let’s not forget the actual outrage of the whole red carpet thing. In many red carpets, especially in LA, fans are allowed nearby behind barricades. They are accessible to celebrities to come say “hi”. This dynamic adds a really great dimension to the whole show and, especially with social media, actually helps promote the show.
Apparently this was too much to ask from New York City, where streets were shut down and fans were ridiculed by the NYPD for doing as much as just trying to get coffee at Starbucks– and let me just say do not try to separate a New Yorker from their Starbucks if you care about your well being.
Somehow the NYPD managed to nearly shut down 7th Avenue, which caused distress for those commuting to and from work. As the day went on, the streets were progressively more and more unnavigable and it was not even from fans hoping to catch a glimpse of their idol. Instead, it was because of unnecessary barriers and snarky cops who shut down about three blocks in any direction of Madison Square Garden.
The police snapped at those who were waiting nearby, claiming fans would not be able to see anyone, despite celebrities walking right by them. John Legend and Chrissy Teigen literally walked right by where fans were “loitering”. That’s an important term to focus on. Where fans were standing, there was no signage that declared no “loitering” or “standing”. Even people who drank their coffees outside of Starbucks were rudely told to leave, which really hurt businesses in the area… I’m surprised there was no lawsuit about that!
The NYPD managed to shut citizens down, treating them as unreasonable and crazy. “I don’t even know why they’re standing here. It’s ridiculous!” claimed one particular cop who didn’t seem to realize that The Grammys are the biggest night in music. In a way, it was humiliating and attacking to citizens who were not causing any trouble. Again, I’d like to remind you that in other instances in other locations, observing and watching is encouraged!
In all this confusion, it wasn’t even the fans trying to watch that became the problem. Instead, it was the horrendous traffic that forced many celebrities and guests to get out on the street and walk blocks from the gated area to the actual red carpet. Not only was this dangerous, but it was chaotic. A venue like Madison Square Garden is just illogical for this sort of event. Perhaps Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn would have been preferred.
All I’m saying is if this is how The Grammys are going to be, New York doesn’t want them. The real benefits of hosting The Grammys are the boost in tourism, which positively affects the economy and the chance for history to be made within that particular city’s limits. In the case of the 60th Grammys, this was just not helpful. Those who were tourists coming to catch a glimpse of their idols were shamed by police, blocked from view, and discouraged immediately. They were kept from local businesses close to the venue, which I can only imagine hurt those businesses. In the future, I doubt they will be back to behold and act as tourists. (Trust me. I tried to get to a pizza shop and was scolded by authorities.) And as far as music history, the low energy in the small venue left this year’s Grammys rather disappointing.
In summary, unless some major changes are made to the protocol (or maybe just a venue change), us New Yorkers don’t want The Grammy’s here– it’s not worth the stress.