Dorian Block, Elizabeth Lazarowitz and Rich Schapiro, New York Daily News, March 15, 2009
Pandemonium erupted outside an “America’s Next Top Model” casting call in midtown yesterday when an overheating car triggered a stampede of catwalk-craving cuties.
The audition for the show on The CW, which for the first time was open only to women under 5-feet-7, was doomed from the start, several said.
Scores of aspiring models slept overnight outside the Park Central Hotel, hoping to be the first to sashay before the hit show’s casting agents.
But shortly after the sun rose, women began arriving and lining up indiscriminately.
Tensions quickly boiled over.
Cops arrived and placed barricades along the street. But by that point, there were already several thousand women lined up. A handful of women started fainting after getting pressed up against the wall, witnesses said.
A fight broke out between two men who had been taunting each other for several hours, witnesses said.
Cops intervened and pulled the men off the line. One of them threatened to return with a gun, heightening tensions among the already-frazzled women.
Soon after, a black BMW with smoke pouring out of its hood pulled up in the street near the line, sending the sea of underdressed women scrambling to get away.
A total of six women were injured, authorities said.
In the wake of the stampede, cops arrested three people: Clem Clemmons, 40; Vanessa Quiones, 20, and Michael Edwards, 24. All were charged with inciting a riot.
A CW spokesman referred requests for comment to a CBS rep who did not return phone calls or e-mails.