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Free Simon Concert Draws 750,000

<i> Reuters</i>

About 750,000 people cheered and rocked with Paul Simon at a free concert Thursday night in New York’s Central Park.

Framed against a backdrop of the city’s glittering skyline, Simon and his 17-piece band performed on a massive stage in front of a sea of waving arms and swaying bodies dotted with flags and balloons.

Simon, a New York native, said he wanted to give something back to the city where he got his start, first with partner Art Garfunkel as teen-age duo Tom and Jerry and later as pop superstars Simon and Garfunkel.

The crowd greeted every song with enthusiasm, but the loudest applause during the more than two-hour concert seemed to be for the older songs, such as “Bridge Over Troubled Waters,” “The Boxer” and “The Sounds of Silence.”

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The singer reportedly gave the city money to offset the cost of park cleanup after the event and to pay overtime for the hundreds of extra police officers who were on hand to keep the event safe. Police estimated the crowd at 750,000. There were just two arrests, one for drug possession and another for assault.


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