Photos: Third Manhattan Flash Mob

July 2nd, 2003
Manhattan flash mob #3 takes over a gigantic hotel lobby. Photo from
Manhattan flash mob #3 takes over a gigantic hotel lobby. Photo from

The Manhattan flash mobs keep growing. Above are photos from the third flash mob held in New York, courtesy of (top photo) and (bottom photo). You’ll find more photos at Satan’s Laundromat.

It seems that between 200 and 500 people (reports vary) gathered along the city-block-sized railing above the lobby of the Hyatt Hotel near Grand Central Station, then at a given moment they all engaged in 15 seconds of raucous and unexplained applause, before filing out again.

Attendees were instructed to bring dollar bills too for some reason, but they weren’t used. (There were three terrorism scares reported earlier today in New York City; perhaps that’s why the dollar-bill plan was nixed.) Thanks to, to, and to our Chief Manhattan Correspondent David Danzig for early coverage.

UPDATE: Jane has more photos at

Do you have photos from the event? How about video or audio? Please link to your coverage in the comments below.

(For background information, see the first flash mob post.)

Our Chief Manhattan Correspondent David Danzig posted the following dispatch at 8:29 pm Eastern Standard Time:

I just returned from Flashmob #3. This was called “The Grand Central Mob Ballet,” and was supposed to involve claiming to be waiting for a train, and writing the word “MOB” on a one dollar bill, but none of that came into play.

Instead, we got a form saying:

*** MOB #3 ***
Change of Plans

If you are reading this, we have decided to change venues.

(1) By 7:02, walk out to 42nd St. and look for the main entrance to the Grand Hyatt. Enter and take the escalator up one flight to the main lobby. Loiter until 7:07.

(2) At 7:07, start taking the escalator and elevators up one floor, to the wraparound railing overlooking the lobby. Stand around it, looking down. Fan out to cover as much of the railing as possible. If asked why you are there, point down to the lobby and say, “Look.”

(3) At 7:12, begin applauding. Applaud for fifteen seconds, then disperse in an orderly fashion,

(Note: the exit on that floor is not a pedestrian exit.)

I was actually a little suspicious that this was someone’s attempt to divert the mob, so I found another Mob project representative at Grand Central who handed me the exact same form.

The turnout was about 300 to 500 people, I’d estimate. It went off just as it was described, and much as you’d imagine, with very nervous security people very nervously scampering about, but never interracting or thinking to ask anyone what was going on.

[End of dispatch]


13 Responses to “Photos: Third Manhattan Flash Mob”

  1. comment number 1 by: Mike

    I believe the dollar bills were for the planned three-part mob activities in Grand Central Terminal, which were cancelled in favor of the Grand Hyatt mob. I think the police presence, and possibly the three terrorist scares in NYC today, scared them off.

  2. comment number 2 by: Eric

    This was great! I happened to be in town, staying at the Hyatt, so I was able to participate. The funniest part was the look on the security guard’s face as the crowd starting filing into the lobby…wish I had the camera on the ready to get a shot of that!

  3. comment number 3 by: Andrew

    Great fun. I think that Security was on the verge of going from confused to alarmed when the applause broke out and we melted back into smoke. I wish I’d brought my camera. There were a couple of little tourist kids in the lobby who thought this was the Coolest Thing Ever.

    My theory on the dollar bills was that we were somehow going to be…dancing to buskers inside Grand Central? And then handing over the dollars at the end? We may never know.

  4. comment number 4 by: Fred

    I managed to get a nice shot of some mobbers doing the applause bit. Have a look at

  5. comment number 5 by: Phil H

    Oh London Town, wherefore MOB thou?

  6. comment number 6 by: Jane Minty

    Fun fun fun!! I think my ASA was off, and the quality of the photos suffered. Oh well, I scanned the ORIGINAL instructions for #3 ( I can’t wait until #4!

  7. comment number 7 by: Jane Minty

    Fun fun fun!! I think my ASA was off, and the quality of the photos suffered. Oh well, I scanned the ORIGINAL instructions for #3 ( I can’t wait until #4!

  8. comment number 8 by: Dutchess Mob

    We’d like to start a MOB in the Dutchess County, New York area. We copied Minneapolis’ idea and set up a Yahoo group at .

    Please let us know if anybody is interested and we will schedule the first event in August.

  9. comment number 9 by: Ginger

    Here’s my take on the event with links to this site and others mentioned here – and some rambling about the effect of the cops showing up. Thanks for the great coverage!

  10. comment number 10 by: morland

    more pics at:

  11. comment number 11 by: frankie

    Anyone interested in helping moderate a flash mob site give me an email:

  12. comment number 12 by: cce blog


    It looks like I might participate in a “flash mob” tomorrow in Times Square. It’s a cute idea (, mobblog),…

  13. comment number 13 by: Prudenia

    Bring Sidewalk Chalk

    Flash Mob – Live Video Stream

    Saturday, August 30, 3 PM

    Clinton Street, NYC

    -Three Live Video Cameras Streaming to the Internet

    -Wireless Internet Connection (Bring Your Laptop)

    -Live Chat to Communicate with People around the World

    -Chalk, Chalk, and more Chalk

    Get there at 3 o’clock sharp (via reality or virtual-reality)