New York City Sparks Up On 4 20

About a month ago, I started to hear rumblings that 4/20 was going to be big in New York City. Since this was New York’s first 4/20 since adult-use cannabis was legalized last year — at least, the first 4/20 that was safe to celebrate now that Covid has dissipated enough for social activity — I took the rumblings seriously, and booked an Airbnb and a train ticket for an epic overnight in the city that never sleeps.

I arrived in the city around 11 a.m. and made my way to lower Manhattan, where I took a beat at one of my favorite cafés in the city on Ludlow St. and waited for the festivities to start. Finding a café or restaurant you really enjoy in NYC is crucial, because finding a quiet place to sit and chill in Manhattan is almost impossible. After some much-needed coffee, I walked to a nearby park to roll and smoke my first joint of the day. On previous trips to New York, I’ve rolled up on benches, stoops and, once, on the steps of a church. I’ve always been a little bit anxious a cop is going to see me and do something about it, but I was completely free of worry this time around.

Seshing in the Park with Friends

I soon made my way over to Washington Square Park, which is where the real celebration began. On any given day in Washington Square Park, a bunch of vendors set up folding tables around the fountain, amidst street performers and clothing pop-ups, to sell “blockwork” or cheap, low-quality bulk flower for as little as $10 an eighth. I met up with a bunch of Internet friends, and smoked a couple more joints with them.

joint on handOne of the many tasty joints I smoked during the day.

For lunch, I went to a burger place and had delicious overpriced double cheese burgers with an old friend who I hadn’t seen in over two years because of the pandemic, so it was really special to travel and spend time with her. We munched on some rosin edibles before our burgers hit the table; perfect for enjoying the sunshine and breeze. 

Our appetites sated, my friend and I headed back to Washington Square, which by now was packed with thousands of people seshing all around the park and joyfully congregating around the fountain in the center. A ton of California brands were in attendance: Doja.Pak, Black Leaf, Zkittlez, Top Dawg and Piff Coast Farms were all there with a bunch of high-quality flowers and merch. There was a ton of live music — hip-hop, reggae, metal, and a mariachi band right near the fountain. I was able to wrangle my group of seven friends, plus more internet buds, to smoke more joints and enjoy all the vibes together. And at 4:20 PM, the crowd went wild as we all sent up a massive plume of smoke into the Manhattan air.

Animal House & High Garden 

After the all-day sesh, I took a beat to check into my Airbnb and charge my phone before heading back out. (A phone with the biggest battery on earth couldn’t save you from all the energy it takes to find cell signal in a crowd if you’re out in New York City all day.) I'd scored tickets to an event called Animal House thrown by a group called Ganja Pigs, who are known for their barbecue festivities. If you’ve been to vendor pop-ups in DC like WeLit and Trapwoods, you’re probably familiar with the vibe: lots of vendors, loud music, and a completely smoked-out room. Being at Animal House, I felt more like being a kid in a candy shop than at any other event I’ve been to. There were a bunch of hip-hop performers in the building, and the energy was electric.

Rowdy Rebel Animal HouseRowdy Rebel stopped by Animal House (credit: @packafromda7_7)

While there were some counterfeit products and blockwork at the popup, there were also a lot of hype genuine products, homegrown flower and cool brands. I got to meet up with some vendor internet friends for the first time in person, which resulted in great conversations and good times had by all. 

My last stop for the day was a spot called High Garden on the West Side. This establishment is the dream in terms of what enthusiasts want out of consumption lounges — chill, not super packed, with DJs spinning, and a full menu of food, beverages and spirits. Plus they had a Stundenglass waterfall bong, a dab bar and a bunch of spaces to roll up and relax. There were product and merch vendors on hand at High Garden as well, and a table run by Women x Weed.

high gardenHigh Garden was the perfect place to roll up and chill.

I liked the vibe at this spot the best; it had the most diverse patronage, and the least claustrophobic vibe. I was able to find a place to sit and roll a nightcap joint, which led me to think about how much DC needs more safe spaces for people to congregate and smoke up.

One Last Stop for the High Holiday

My final 420 stop was the local pizza joint for a couple slices before going home. You can’t go to NYC without getting a killer slice, and this hit the spot. My whole experience was joyous and much-needed after a couple years being cooped up inside. I got to see so many old friends and new friends, smoke some righteous herb, and eat some of the best munchies in the world. For East Coast folks, NYC is going to be a pilgrimage destination for sure. And I hope to be back next year!