August 25, 2004
Maybe I should rethink this "staying in NY for the RNC" thing
Even though almost everybody I work with and know in New York has long ago made plans to be somewhere else next week, I have held firm. "If I leave town during the convention, I'm letting the Republicans win!", I thought. And besides, I am curious about what kind of mayhem will ensue. But today, I'm starting to feel uneasy. Last night I was walking down my street, which is a full 14 blocks north of Madison Square Garden, and saw these signs posted absolutely everywhere. No stopping at all, or your car will be towed. The thing is, the block I was on is a typical block in the Times Square area, filled with gigantic hotels and Broadway theaters. You know, places that might tend to have a lot of non-suspect cars stopped in front of them at all hours of the day and night. Can the NYPD seriously expect the entirety of Times Square traffic to not stop in front of the hundreds of things that bring people to Times Square in the first place? For a whole week? And where are they going to store all those towed cars?
It seems they have already thought of that one, but in terms of people storage. One of the piers in Chelsea will be opened for storage of arrested protesters. Well, that solves the problem of how to arrest hundreds and hundreds of people at a time, and not bog down the offices at 100 Center Street! I'll just quote directly from the article for the rest of this post, since the original language is far more unnerving and scary than anything I could come up with:
"Cops fear some protesters might hang around after the convention to disrupt other events, like the U.S. Open, so the pen will remain open indefinitely (!!! -Ed.), the source said. They'll be frisked, searched and have their property confiscated at the temporary lockup.
But, unlike regular detainees who are taken to a precinct, they won't be fingerprinted or processed until they're bussed to Central Booking at 100 Center Street in Manhattan.
Central Booking is opening an extra-large process center on the fifth floor to brace for the additional duties. The DA's office is also planning for an influx of arrests, with extra judges, court officers, corrections' officers and legal aid scheduled.
The massive three-story pier, almost a block long, can hold about 1,000 detainees, the source said. If it fills, the NYPD will bring them to other boroughs, starting with Brooklyn."