New York Post -
First smoking, then soda — now there’s no dancing in New York City.
Caroline Stern, 55, and her boyfriend George Hess, 54, claim they were handcuffed for having happy feet on the platform of the Columbus Circle subway station — and spent 23 hours in custody as a result.
“I’m a dentist, and I’m 55, and I got arrested for dancing,” Stern told The Post. “It was absolutely ridiculous that this happened.”
It was nearly midnight when Stern and Hess, a film-industry prop master, headed home last July from Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night’s Swing. As they waited for the train, a musician started playing steel drums on the nearly empty platform and Stern and Hess began to feel the beat.
“We were doing the Charleston,” Stern said. That’s when two police officers approached and pulled a “Footloose.”
“They said, ‘What are you doing?’ and we said, ‘We’re dancing,’ ” she recalled. “And they said, ‘You can’t do that on the platform.’ ”
The cops asked for ID, but when Stern could only produce a credit card, the officers ordered the couple to go with them — even though the credit card had the dentist’s picture and signature.
When Hess began trying to film the encounter, things got ugly, Stern said.
“We brought out the camera, and that’s when they called backup,” she said. “That’s when eight ninja cops came from out of nowhere.”
Hess was allegedly tackled to the platform floor, and cuffs were slapped on both of them. The initial charge, according to Stern, was disorderly conduct for “impeding the flow of traffic.”
“There was nobody on the platform. There were, like, three people,” she said.
The charges, including resisting arrest, were later dropped. The couple has filed a Manhattan federal court suit against the city for unspecified damages.
“If you are surrounded by good musicians, that’s going to make you want to dance,” Stern said. “The musician who is playing is legal, but . . . we’re illegal?”
The avid hoofers frequently go out on the town to boogie.
“When you’re waiting for the subway late at night, there’s not much to do but dance and celebrate life,” she said.
The city Law Department is reviewing the court papers, a spokeswoman said.
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