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Hysterical Teens Chase Beatles Across Manhattan

Feb. 12, 1964 - At least a dozen teenage girls were injured today as crowds of youngsters pushed one another and the police in a nearly hysterical pursuit of their idols — the Beatles — around Manhattan. At the Plaza Hotel, Pennsylvania Station, wherever the British performers appeared, young girls shrieked, howled, and chased after them. Some of the girls lost their shoes; others lost their books; some had their clothes ripped in the frenzy.

The efforts of an army of energetic press agents, particularly on radio, helped to whip up the youngsters and send them into the streets in search of their idols. The fact that today was a school holiday because of Lincoln’s birthday didn’t hurt the turnout either.

Outside the Plaza, mounted patrolmen were called up. They had a delicate task, trying to control the youngsters and yet to be gentler than they would be with an adult crowd. The injured youngsters generally suffered no worse than cut and bruised legs. Most of the girls refused medical attention and went home — crying, but pledging their undying love for the Beatles.

When a black limousine drew up to the 58th Street entrance of the Plaza carrying the performers, youngsters instantly engulfed the moving car. They clambered on the roof, the hood, and the trunk, but the car continued to an entrance of the hotel facing Fifth Avenue, where a thousand more fans waited.

Assistant Chief Inspector Sanford Garelick, who was in charge of the police on the scene, was furious. “They appear to be deliberately trying to cause trouble,” he said, his voice hoarse with anger. Ten mounted policemen rode herd on the teenage crowd, breaking it into smaller groups to prevent the youngsters from becoming uncontrollable.

The youngsters at the Plaza were perhaps more fortunate than the 1,500 who waited for the Beatles at Pennsylvania Station. The group was coming by train from Washington, and the fans, squealing and squirming, stood behind police barricades on the lower level of the station. As the train pulled in at 3:30 p.m., the youngsters swept aside the police barriers and, in a scene of wild disorder, rushed everywhere in search of the singers. The Beatles, however, had been taken off the regular train and brought in on a separate track at the south end of the station. The police planned to take them up an elevator normally used for visiting royalty. But the fans were waiting there too, shouting: “We want Beatles! We want Beatles!” That plan was abandoned and an alternate one was used to get the singers out of the station.


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