BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Organizers needed a bigger venue for Thursday in the Square, and they finally got it by moving to the waterfront. But did that move create more problems?
Thousands poured into Canalside on Thursday and they all had to pass through the same narrow entrance and security screening. With so many people in such a short time, crews eventually had to put a cap on the steady flow.
Hip hop headliner Salt N' Pepa drew a record crowd to the Buffalo waterfront. An estimated 15,000 people were in attendance, says Michael Schmand, executive director of Buffalo Place, and security was tight.
"Everyone that comes to our events free or paid comes over the bridge," Schmand explained. "We check everybody's whatever they're carrying in to make sure you're safe."
Nya Smith was among the masses.
She said, "It was fun. There were a lot of people there; I had a good time."
But when she was leaving, things took a drastic turn. Smith, looking down as she walked, stumbled upon several used syringes just laying in the grass.
"I was screaming, 'Security, security! Watch out, there's syringes!' There's syringes and security, is basically what I was saying," Smith recounted.
The pile of needles was found toward the back of the venue, right by one of the exits. And with a limited number of exits and thousands of people trying to leave that one way, any one of them could have been in danger.
Smith said, "I mean, I didn't think it was malicious or to hurt people intentionally. Maybe it was because they left them there, but I thought people were doing something they shouldn't be doing."
Schmand says there are roving guards at each concert, but they apparently didn't notice the needles.
"Everyone can say we had a little issue here and a little issue there. We had a large crowd. We had a large security force. We always evaluate every event we do. And in the future, if we feel we need more security, of course we'll bring them in," Schmand said.
Many people were upset it took so long to get in and it was even worse when they couldn't get in. One man took extreme action, climbing the foot bridge and walking across the beam at the top.
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