Students Run Wild for Naruto



On Sept. 8, upwards of 40 people ran through the Washington Square Arch like anime character Naruto. CAS Sophomore Iffat Nur organized the viral event.

Nicole Rosenthal, Contributing Writer

It was a sight to behold: an estimated 30 to 40 people running under the Washington Square Arch with their arms stretched out behind their backs in the style of the well-known anime character Naruto. On Sept. 8, CAS sophomore Iffat Nur’s Run Through the Washington Square Arch Naruto Style Facebook event came to life.

The popular event had already made waves online. More than 5,000 people indicated they were interested in attending on the event’s Facebook page. Though Nur says that he was first inspired by a similar event based at McGill University in Montreal, his Washington Square Park event was the first to actually occur. Since then, it has garnered multiple copycat events at campuses across the nation. Nur himself created a spin-off event: Scream Like Goku in Front of Washington Square Arch, set a week earlier than the Naruto event to fall on the Friday of NYU’s Welcome Week, even though it was created later.

“It just came from me and my friends joking around together late at night,” Nur said. “The Naruto Run event and the Goku event were actually created a day apart from each other. [Me and] two of my friends were joking around, and we were like, ‘Hey, let’s just make some funny events.’”

Nur said that beyond sharing the events on the NYU Class of 2021 Facebook page and the NYU meme pages, he did not have to do much advertising.

“It just grew organically,” Nur said. “This was in the midst of the initial popularity of the events, so it was pretty easy for it to grow on its own.”

Videos of the Washington Square events and the others they spawned racked up millions of views on Facebook, and Steinhardt freshman Nick Royall filmed one event that went viral on Facebook, according to Nur. Both students and members of the general public, like high school senior Skye Pozo, attended the events.

“I attended and filmed both events, [and I filmed] the Naruto one with my professional camera,” Pozo said. “My friend and I went to Washington Square Park and then realized that it was the time and place of [the] Scream Like Goku event. Both events were probably the funniest things ever, everyone had a really good time and I had fun talking to everyone who showed up both times. For the Goku one, a guy drove all the way down from upstate and even got a hotel room.”

Nur said that he is now widely recognized as the organizer and creator of these bizarre events, and he has even been met with some criticism.

“In my first day of sophomore year, I went to my organic chemistry class and this one student actually came up to me,” Nur said, “And when I gave my name, he went on this five-minute long rant about how he had to unfollow so many people on Facebook because people were sharing my event. But most of the people I’ve met have congratulated me.”

Though there is criticism of the events, others found them to be fun and freeing. Andrew Donovan, a Five Towns College graduate who attended, said he wanted to attend as many as he could.

“It felt good to have people coming together to do something so fun,” Donovan said. “These events are often looked at as strange by outsiders, however from my experience, they are all good-natured and are just meant to bring people together.”

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Sept. 25 print edition. Email Nicole Rosenthal at [email protected].