I’ve become addicted to Facebook. For those of you who don’t know Facebook, it’s an online networking site (aka the best way to procrastinate and suck time right out of your day). Since I’ve arrived to Copenhagen, Facebook has served as a great way to keep up with the new people I’ve met, share photos, and most importantly – find out what’s going on in Denmark. I checked my Facebook account on Friday morning in order to avoid being productive and I find an invitation entitled “Subway Party”. Of course this sparks my interest so I open the event invitation to gather more information.
If you had to a take a guess as to what exactly a “Subway Party” is – well folks think literally. The following are the instructions given on the event invitation:
After our gorgeous, crazy party in the Subway of Paris we have decided to organize the same thing in this fantastic city of Copenhagen in collaboration with two residents : Sune Gamst and Frederic Dille
Friday 12 sept at 21H30 rendez vous at a metro station of Copenhagen (secret for the moment), we will give you a signal everybody come in the train and the party will start it’s like a collective performance….All arty, crazy, funny, surprise, performance, clothes are welcome…
We will bring a little sound system and we will broadcast the music with a radio emettor so YOU HAVE TO BRING YOUR OWN RADIO, for each new radio that you will bring we will multiply the intensity of the sound…
in case that the police decide the time of the last skål (last drink) we will have a plan B, in another Special place….
SO BRING YOUR DRINKS AND YOUR RADIO
INSCRIBE TO THE EVENT TO RECEIVE THE INFORMATION
this is a non political event, we will have to respect the people, the place should stay clean…
Um. . . this would never happen in the United States. Never. First of all, in Copenhagen you are allowed to roam about the city with an open container. You can find people drinking beer outside in public parks, walking along the sidewalk, or even on the metro. No one cleverly disguises their beers with brown paper bag costumes. You would think the liberal attitude towards open containers in public would cause mass pandemonium. In reality it is quite the opposite. I’ve yet to see someone out of hand in public.
So after reading the invitation I scour the responses to see who else is on board. I find a few of my friends among the 1,352 “yes” RSVP’s. I think to myself “you only live once” so I decide to also respond “yes” to the invitation. Friday night arrives and the “secret location” is revealed. Everyone is supposed to meet at the Nørreport Station at 9:30. (excuse me 21:30) So we gather our things and head to Nørreport Station around 9:00. We definitely don’t want to be late. I would hate to miss the party train. . . a literal party train.
Sure enough we arrive to find 1,000 of our fellow party guests, most sporting costumes and radios. The signal is made and everyone takes to the escalators and heads down to the train platform. We board the first train and the party begins. Someone has had the foresight to bring decorations and begins hanging them from the hand railings of the train. Radios are playing. People are dancing and drinking. The one metro security guard assigned to this train just hangs out and watches. The situation is just a bit crazy. Looking up and down the train all you can see are people packed in like sardines. As we approach the end of the line we have to switch trains. Everyone gathers their decorations and (surprisingly) garbage. We change trains and venture to the opposite end of the metro line.
The activity reminded me of my days in College Park. The students of the University of Maryland had a tendency to riot when we lost basketball games. . . well we had a tendency to riot when we won as well. Now when I use the term “riot” I mean many students gathering in one place and about 6 fraternity guys would burn their furniture in a trash can outside. Nothing extremely out of control. The only real consequence of “rioting” was that a few dudes would wake up the next day wondering why they are sleeping on the floor and where to get a new bed . . . to burn for the next game. While sitting on one of the subway benches, taking a sip of beer, I told a few friends sitting around me about when UMD won the NCAA championship. I recounted the story and described thousands of students parading to route 1 and the dozens of police officers who showed up in riot gear. (riot gear = all black attire, gas masks, bullet proof vests, and pepper pellet guns.) Telling this story made it seem like the United States was an overreactive and hostile society. Students celebrating in the street warranted full blown riot gear and shooting students with pepper spray. Here in Denmark, students taking over a metro train didn’t warrant any response.
After riding for a bit, a large group of us decided to exit the train and find out what was happening above ground. As we exit the train I began thinking that the Subway Party, while it was fun, wasn’t as crazy as I expected it to be. Normally the equation goes: 1,000 young adults + beer + liquor + small confined public space = property destruction, many citations, a handful of arrests, and a sudden loss of common sense. I look around and people are just happily dancing and hanging out on the train. There’s no girls gone wild, no male bar brawls, not even a bit of liter is evidence of a Subway Party. As Subway Parties go I believe this is the most respectful and tame party I’ll ever attend. Thanks Facebook for keeping me posted on the random happenings of Denmark.