Streets run red as Aviator hosts tomato war

Floyd Bennett Field gets saucy

Brooklyn Daily
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Photo gallery

The armory: The soldiers stand ready with a massive stock of tomatoes before them.
Arm yourselves: People dig into a huge pile of tomatoes, beginning a massive battle.
Himen, left, and Sheetal Negandhi of New Jersey slather each other with squashed tomatoes.
The red war: People are covered in tomato slime amid a gruesome fruit battle.
Artillery: Contestants fling tomatoes during the giant fruit fight.
Bloody Mary: When the fight came to an end, from left, Max Fowler of Prospect Heights, Rachel Haberstroh of Long Island, Josh Blum of Manhattan, and Bethany Fowler of Rhode Island were covered in tomatoes.

You say “tomato,” I say, “take that!”

The Aviator Sports and Events Center played host to the first-ever NYC Tomato Battle on Saturday, where dozens of paying contestants from far and wide gathered to pummel each other with ripe, red missiles plucked from a massive stockpile of tomatoes.

“I had tomatoes inside my ears,” said Sujeiry Deleon, who drove down from the Bronx with four friends. “I had tomatoes everywhere.”

The massive tomato war was the climax to an afternoon of summer fun at Mill Basin’s Floyd Bennett Field. The event kicked off at noon with food, beer, and music as the tomato warriors prepared themselves for the evening’s pulpy carnage.

In the moments leading up to the battle, the soldiers of fruit lined up beside a heaping armory of thousands upon thousands of juicy tomatoes.

At 4 pm a whistle blew and the war began.

“At first I thought it wasn’t safe, because I saw a girl with a bloody eye and another guy had a black eye,” said Deleon. “So, I stayed on the outskirts for a little while.”

Many of the tomato fighters came with groups of friends, who formed small squads and tried to cover each other from the sloppy crossfire, according to Deleon. After the last tomato was flung in anger, the fog of war cleared to expose a surreal, tomato landscape filled with warriors slathered in a luke-warm film of soupy plasma.

When the battle was over, the survivors celebrated.

“You know how people make snow angels?” Deleon asked. “They were making tomato angels, and with that heat, it was warm.”

Actually, the number of casualties was surprisingly low considering the dozens of fruit fighters participating in the battle. Deleon said she had a great time.

“For the amount of people that were there, it was safe,” she said. “You have to watch out for yourself, but it was a lot of fun. I was just laughing and laughing the whole time. It’s so silly, you have to laugh.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4514.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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