A viral video craze has shaken Queens.
The “Harlem Shake” Internet sensation led to the arrest of one Forest Hills High School teen last week after he organized a “senior prank” that jammed the school lobby with students trying to get in on the fad, cops said.
Arnis Mehmetaj, 17, invited some 500 students on Facebook to jump in on the “Shake” recording during school hours, police said. Arresting officers said a large crowd formed inside the school, “causing annoyance and alarm,” shortly before noon on Friday, February 15.
The popular YouTube video features abrupt cuts to multiple people dancing convulsively for about 15 seconds.
Mehmetaj was charged with disorderly conduct and creating a hazardous condition, police said. He was taken to a local precinct following the fracas.
The teen was reportedly suspended for five days, but a spokesperson for the Department of Education (DOE) said suspensions of specific students could not be confirmed, but that several students were “disciplined.”Mehmetaj received a “desk appearance ticket,” the NYPD said, meaning he did not go to central booking on the day of the arrest and will face a judge in court at a later date.
Meanwhile, a group of St. John’s University (SJU) students are hoping their “Harlem Shake” efforts aid a charitable cause.
Some 50 students have hit the web to promote the university’s annual Relay for Life cancer research fundraiser.
A man wearing a purple body suit dances solo in the school’s D’Angelo Center ballroom for the first 15 seconds of the video before a huge crowd joins in on the rave. The 39 second video features a horse costume, a twirling pink umbrella and a student gyrating on top of a desk.
“I’ve seen the news. I think that people really didn’t have any other motive to do it rather than to join in on the fun. They’re just doing it to create a viral video,” said junior Oscar Diaz, SJU’s student government vice president. “Here our efforts were dedicated to a good cause.”
Sophomore Sulaiman Alam, 19, said he was “intrigued” by the Internet phenomenon and decided to take the reins on the project.
“I spent hours looking at video after video on YouTube,” the Bronx pharmacy major said. “It went uphill from there.”
Relay for Life is a global movement powered by the American Cancer Society. The university’s signature event is set to take place on April 19 at 8000 Utopia Parkway.