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Punk rock show plans Tompkins return; But Parks Dept. says no permit issued

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Updated June 10, 7:40 p.m.: Get ready to rock! … Maybe…

Chris Flash and The SHADOW plan to return to Tompkins Square Park this Sunday with another punk rock concert — even after the Parks Department recently declared it was pulling Flash’s permits for the next two years.

However, the Parks Department told The Village Sun on Thursday that a permit has not been issued for the June 6 concert.

The event, which is posted on Facebook, is billed as “The SHADOW presents: Free Speech is Not Free!” It’s open to all and is scheduled to run for five hours, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Bands on the bill include Hello Mary, Girl Dick, Sewage, Sea Monster, Wer and The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black. The plan is for the music to be amplified. Speakers are listed as part of the lineup.

The Facebook post notes that after the big concert in the park on April 24, which Flash presented with Black N Blue productions, he filed suit in federal court against New York City and the Parks Department.

The Parks Department and city “used LIES as the basis for revoking our remaining permits for 2021,” the post states. “Come to this political rally and hear all about the abuse of power being exercised by a lame-duck mayoral administration that will be GONE in just seven months.”

The Parks Department told the media that Flash’s permit for the April 24 show misleadingly labeled it a 9/11-themed event. A number of outlets — including Gothamist and WPIX — ran with this allegation as fact, reportedly without checking it first with Flash. However, according to Flash, that permit was voided, so it was Parks that actually was doing the misleading.

Parks also slammed the event’s size — claiming that an estimated 2,000 attended — the fact that not everyone wore a face mask or practiced social distancing and that some drank alcohol. But the event’s organizers counter that they should not have been expected to accurately predict the turnout months in advance nor to enforce mask-wearing and no alcohol — since asking people to wear masks can lead to fights and police officers on hand at the event did not issue any summonses for alcohol.

On Thursday, a Parks Department spokesperson indicated to The Village Sun that, basically, Flash does not have the official O.K. to hold the event.

“We have not received a permit application for this event,” the spokesperson said.

According to Parks, the April 24 show had multiple violations, including and in addition to those mentioned above that Flash disputes regarding crowd size, face masks, social distancing and alcohol.

For example, Parks says, the mayor’s executives order banned gatherings of more than 200 people, as well as amplified sound from being used in conjunction with a stage. Also, according to Parks, the April 24 event violated the application agreement and department rules against vehicles in the park (at least one vehicle drove into the park) and against use of a stage (the organizers brought in a stage).


  1. Ajax Lepsinski Ajax Lepsinski June 12, 2021

    Chris Flash has been putting on free shows in Tompkins Square Park for over 25 years. He and his volunteers acquire permits, arrive early, build a stage, set up the gear, put on the show, tear down the stage and clean up afterward. They do all this for free, for the love of music and for the love of the park and the people who enjoy the park. Not sure why the media has a problem with free concerts or the people who organize them.

  2. X-Factor X-Factor June 12, 2021

    So he’s putting on an illegal show thus jeopardizing future shows including hardcore punk ones – what a self-entitled selfish little bitch.

    Hey Chris you don’t own the park nor should you be the one getting the most permits. And doing shows is a privilege not a right.

    Give it up, you’re done.

    • Ajax Lepsinski Ajax Lepsinski June 12, 2021

      @ X-Factor – Chris is a very nice guy who has donated his time and equipment, putting on free concerts for over 25 years. Every show has been legal, permitted and everyone in attendance has always had a good time. Not sure why you’re so hostile.

  3. East Villager East Villager June 11, 2021

    “A number of outlets — including Gothamist and WPIX — ran with this allegation as fact, reportedly without checking it first with Flash.” What, we’re supposed to take any nonsense that Flash utters as gospel truth? The Village Sun can do better than act as an uncontested platform for Flash, whether or not we agree with the Parks Department.

    • P P June 11, 2021


      • Ajax Lepsinski Ajax Lepsinski June 12, 2021

        Funny how journalists took the word of a Parks Department employee as gospel truth. The employee obviously made up their “permit revocation” story without putting any thought into it.

    • CHRIS FLASH CHRIS FLASH June 11, 2021

      Hey “East Villager” who refuses to identify yourself:

      Whether you know it or not or like it or not or agree or not, media and journalists have an OBLIGATION, moral and legal, to FACT CHECK, or at least to attempt to verify, what they report BEFORE they report it. Simply regurgitating what they are fed by “official” sources is irresponsible at best and damaging at worst.

      The FACT is that the Parks Dept created and disseminated the LIES that media and sub-media sites fed on immediately after our April 24 event in order to SMEAR me and my co-organizers. The media that ate it up were looking for sensational content, facts be damned.

      The un-sensational FACT is that we applied for a permit for September 11, 2021, as we desired to hold a memorial for the 20th anniversary of the events of September 11, 2001, a crime for which those who were truly responsible were never brought to justice. We were denied that date by Parks, which offered us April 24, 2021, as an alternative, which we accepted. A new application was then created by Parks for the new date, with NO mention of a “September 11 Memorial.” There is NO mention of a “September 11 Memorial” on our April 24 park permit EITHER. It would take a complete MORON to believe that we were holding a “September 11 Memorial” on April 24!

      No matter. Immediately after our April 24 event, Claudia Pepe at the Parks Dept sent media outlets, including WPIX, The Gothamist, Inside Edition and the NY Times, the VOIDED application for September 11, 2021, which had the original 9/11/2021 dates crossed out and replaced with “4/24/2021” by a Parks Dept employee. Pepe also provided the false narrative that we “LIED” on our permit application about holding a “September 11 Memorial” on April 24.

      Parks even told the media that the only reason we were issued a permit for April 24 was our claim that we were holding a “September 11 Memorial”. IN APRIL. The REALIITY is that the only reason we were issued a permit was because we APPLIED for one and paid Parks a $25 fee!

      WPIX and Gothamist ran their stories as FACT, displaying an excerpt from the VOIDED application as evidence of a “September 11 Memorial,” though they SAW the Parks Dept’s modifications to the VOIDED application provided to them by Pepe.

      It was quite easy for the media fed by Parks to verify whether what they regurgitated from the Parks Dept was true or not, as they were provided our contact information by Parks, in violation of Parks’ own protocols regarding confidentiality and privacy, but they failed to do so. To their credit, the NY Times and, surprisingly, the NY Post, saw what Parks was doing and refused to publish the Parks Dept’s LIES.

      It was bad enough that Parks revoked our permits for such absurd allegations as “allowing consumption of alcohol” in the park and not FORCING parkgoers to wear masks and stay apart, but Parks compounded the damage by engaging in a deliberate and coordinated SMEAR campaign against me and my co-organizers.

      What they and the media that fed off their LIES did was what our attorneys call “actionable” offenses and they will ALL be held fully responsible for what they have done. (We have NYC and the Parks Dept in court right NOW and more suits are coming.)

      If you rely on media for “news” that forms your opinions, then you are in deep trouble, “East Villager.” What they report and the TRUTH are two very DIFFERENT things.

      Chris Flash
      The SHADOW

    • Ajax Lepsinski Ajax Lepsinski June 12, 2021

      Real journalists research all sides of an issue before going to print. Walter Cronkite would be appalled by the lack of professionalism in today’s journalism.

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