Monday, January 22, 2018

Marching with the Women in 2018, New York

A view from about West 67th street and Central Park West.  You can see Christopher Columbus in the far distance on top of his monument down on Columbus Circle beckoning to the marchers.

I did the Women's March again this year with a small group of friends mostly from my parish, St. Luke in Fields.   Once again, the march in New York was so full of people that we hardly moved at all; a few feet forward and stop, a few feet more and stop, etc.  A new feature of the march in New York was the decision to begin it with a rally that I think was a mistake.  There weren't enough jumbotrons or loudspeakers for so huge a crowd, so most of the people there (including us) had no way to participate.  Besides, most people were there to march, not to watch celebrities and politicians on giant screens opinionating and preening.  This event wasn't about them, it was about us, the marchers.

All of these are my photos except where noted otherwise.

The NYPD was a big presence at the march this year even more than last year.  Their usual practice with great big crowds like this was to pen in and corral.  Just like New Year's Eve in Times Square, during the rally part, we were all penned in with big spaces between corrals.  Those who wanted to leave or join the rally had to move through very narrow bottlenecks, like what you see above.

A group of people did the chant "What does democracy look like?  This is what democracy looks like!" and I thought, "penned in free speech zones and surrounded by cops."

In all fairness to the NYPD, terrorism is an ever present threat in New York.  This city is in the gunsights of every lunatic with a grudge on the planet.  The cops have to be cautious.  Big public occasions like this are catnip to homicidal fanatics.  But, there are times when the line between necessary caution and controlling domination gets very blurred.

There were frequent flyovers by NYPD helicopters to watch us.  Some, like this one, flew over at surprisingly low altitude.  I'm guessing because we were next to Central Park.

Here's an example of what my dad used to call "the welcome wagon," city corrections department buses waiting to take us all to Central Booking if we misbehaved.  I couldn't help but wonder just what exactly the cops would or could do if so huge a crowd decided to do a bums' rush.

The view across Central Park from where we were for much of the rally.  That nasty giant new condo tower on Park Avenue that's taller than the Empire State Building dominates the view here.  That tower full of largely vacant investment property is a colossal monument to just about everything that has gone wrong in this city, and in this country, over the last 10 years.  It served as a looming reminder of why marches like this remain necessary.

As always, the sheer size of these political demonstrations in New York never ceases to astonish me.  There is a great cathartic satisfaction in seeing huge crowds of people all on the same page as one's self, especially when the news is now routinely dominated by scoundrels, lunatics, and fanatics out to trash everything I revere as good and holy.

Big get-togethers like this counter-act the demagogue's design to isolate and stigmatize all opposition.  Tyrants depend on the loneliness of citizens.  A lonely citizen is one who can be made dependent and infantile.  Citizens gathering on their own initiative encourages and motivates opposition.  Communities of action grow out of such events.

As big as these marches in major cities like New York are, they are not the most important ones.  The most important ones are the numerous small ones that take place in towns across the country, especially in deep red states in the South and Midwest.  Those are real acts of courage.

I didn't last very long after the hour and a half rally was over.  I bailed after West 66th street.  After more than an hour of standing there, I start to feel my 60 years in my back and in my bladder.  If we were really marching, I could have walked all the way down to Union Square.  But just standing there is really hard on me these days.
On my way out from the march, I stopped by Lincoln Center full of marchers cooling their heels, many who just couldn't get near the march route because it was so crowded.

There were spontaneous little rallies all along Columbus, Amsterdam, and Broadway. These were crowds of people who just couldn't get into the main march.  This was part of a large satellite rally across Broadway from Lincoln Center.

And of course, people came to Lincoln Center just to take a break.

Our little group from Saint Luke's photographed by an employee of Rutger's Presbyterian Church where we met up.

Front row left to right: Julia Alberino, Nicole Hanley, Anahi Gallante
Second row left to right:  Yours Truly, Weiben Wang,  Posey Krakowsky, Robert Rough
Third row left to right:  Michael Cudney,  can't see and can't identify, Paul Lane, and Janet Vetter.

Our intrepid and resourceful organizer, Paul Lane.

Weiben Wang with Mother Posey Krakowsky.  She's wearing her Ethiopian cross so you know things are serious.

Michael Cudney

Left to right, Posey Krakowsky, Julia Alberino, Paul Lane

Anahi Gallante

Just like last year, lots of daughters riding the shoulders of their proud fathers at this march.

Lots of pink hats again, in fact I think there were even more of them this year.

And of course, a lot of signs; many of them very clever.

This is a photo by Posey Krakowsky.  A favorite sign of mine too.

Weiben Wang and Yours truly posing for a kind stranger in front of the vast march on Central Park West.

A completely irrelevant side note; the place where we met, Rutger's Presbyterian Church, is right across the street from the old Ansonia Hotel, a famous Gilded Age masterpiece.

Picture from here.

Sums up my feelings about the fat old bastard who rules over us all.

Below is a sorta meme I created for Facebook friends.
At the end of the march, I was tired, my dogs were barking, my back hurt, and my bladder filled to capacity.  And if necessary, I'll do it all again.  I'll be right there complaining all the way.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Happy Women's March!

Here's a small allegory that I finished today just in time.
Liberty Leading Justice and Equality
A small painting, only 14 inches by 11 inches on a masonite panel, painted in acrylic.