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March 22, 2003


The March: Meandering for Peace

The March: Meandering for Peace

So I'm walking near Union Sq this afternoon, looking around for a bagel, when I come across one of those typical NYC street festivals -- you know, with all the pretzel and sausage stands -- but as I look down the block and see a bunch of people walking down Broadway, I realize that this particular festival isn't really a festival at all: it's an adjunct of the peace march which was scheduled for today, but which I thought might not materialize.

So, still with the bagel hunt on my mind, I head over to Broadway to check it out. What I see is an orderly, almost staid, procession of liberal-looking people. No soccer moms or disaffected middle managers in sight, just a lot of hipsters and hippies with almost-witty signs and stickers ("Draft the Bush Twins", "Saddam Sucks but War Sucks More", and the acronymically perplexing "WWWD -- What Would Wellstone Have Done?"). I had to wonder, is anyone watching?

At first I was surprised at the sparseness of the marchers -- there were a lot of them, but they weren't closely packed at all. The scene did not at all call to mind the fabled marches of yore, with tens of thousands of people occupying every inch over a wide area. Instead, at this march, people sort of ambled along cheerily, sometimes with just one or two people per hundred feet.

Just as I reached 12th Street, there was a rallying cry and I looked up to see about 30 marchers, almost all of them male, break off from the main march and run yelling down 12th Street, westwards. They were quickly chased by about 20 lumbering, middle-aged cops in riot helmets. Bystanders looked on bemusedly. Ah, anarchy! How cute! I saw more true violence and aggression than this minutes later when I ducked into a pizza joint (having given up on bagelry) and witnessed a heated verbal altercation between a thin, queeny black man who got his flip-flop accidentally stepped on and destroyed by an unmacho NYU grad. "Now I got nothin' to weah-errr!" Queenie challenged. NYUster was unfazed.

Post-pizza, I returned to the scene and was surprised to see the density of the march had increased in my absence, although the energy level and wit of the signage had not. [Apparently, at the end, things got a little violent, because of some idiots.]

The meandering continued for a while, but ended while I was in buying some comics. Good job, everyone. Now go home and pay your cable bill.

posted by adm at 5:00 PM | #


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