Nestled halfway between Harlem and Brooklyn lies Randall’s Island. This Labor Day weekend the islet transformed into a beautiful blend of Wonkaland and Woodstock, Sodom and Gomorah, Israel and Ibiza, Pleasure Island and Neverland – a hybrid between that Pinocchio place where lost boys find themselves and where Peter Pan’s lost boys aimlessly meander… all perpetuated by the most nourishing of all life fuels… music – electronic dance music.
Somehow, someway, the past, present, and future of music made their collective way to this halogen Haus of worship. My journey no doubt veered from the norm, but when the clandestine is commonplace, all odd experiences are good. I was like a kid in a candy store – no matter where I went, there I was, with a sugar-rushed stranger and makeshift chaperone there to guide me along from one aisle to the next. Though the guide may not know where you’re coming from, or how to get to where you’re going, they know your destination. One second you’re lost in Manhattan, and the next you find yourself MapQuesting directions from the UES to Randall’s Island, and then you’re watching hipsters take cabs to Harlem bus stops – simple foreshadowing that no matter how far “above” those kids one is – no matter how objectively I scoff at their ways from a far more worldly and morally superior place – we’re all the same entitled Gen-Yers… making our way from decadence to debauchery by way of urban decay.
Needless to say, I had no idea what to expect: drugs, neon, iPhones, Ray Bans, Twitter handles, something, anything, nothing, everything… Needless to say, I got exactly what I expected. I’m not really sure when Electric Zoo made sense, or when I became a part of it. Maybe it was when I knew which bus was instinctively mine, the one that was half black women – mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmas – and half NYC Prep understudies – twenty-somethings with extra time on their hands, semi-colorful cotton clothes in their closets, and the Shazaam app for when they need to Google if “that band who does that song from that commercial” is going to be at Electric Zoo. Those preconceptions and stereotypes faded as quickly as any sense of conventional reality in a cloud of smoke behind the bus.