NEW YORK, NY–When my girlfriend and I arrived at Byrant Park it was cold and raining. Mutual Aid was just setting up a table and the kitchen was spreading out food under an umbrella. The turnout was lower than I was hoping for but the spirit was high, especially across the street at the picket in front of Bank of America.
The rain stopped after thirty minutes but a persistent mist hovered over us and hid the tops of the skyscrapers. We met our affinity group and headed uptown to join a picket in front of News Corporation, but the picket had moved on by the time we arrived. Still, it was exciting to get out into the streets of midtown. I had a sign that read “Another world is possible. STRIKE!”and as we walked we crossed other groups of occupiers and pedestrians that raised their fists and cheered. The groups of occupiers heading to the various pickets became more frequent and we stopped to exchange information about where occupiers and police were massing. It slowly began to feel like the city was ours.
The crowd had doubled by the time we returned to Byrant Park but before long a group announced they were marching to reinforce another picket, and we headed out with them. Hundreds came with us. When I ducked in to use the bathroom at Grand Central it seemed the crowd had once more doubled in the few minutes that I was gone. The sun was really coming out now.
After picketing in front of Capital Grille and Chipotle restaurant we were back in the park where the crowd swelled to a few thousand people. We ate sat down and shared snacks among ourselves and with strangers. In the background Tom Morello and a mass of other guitarists prepared for the Guitarmy march.
After the crowd left the park and turned down 5th avenue I crossed the street to get a better view. I had to run ahead four blocks to catch up to the front and stood in the crosswalk on the other side, waiting for the march to catch up. Other occupiers gathered at the crosswalk with me and started chanting “Cross the street!” The marches on the other sidewalk, across four lanes of traffic, heard them and gathered at their crosswalk. When the light turned red, both groups crossed, met in the middle, then in unison ran down fifth avenue yelling “Whose streets! Our streets!” It was electric. The crowd poured off of the sidewalk and into the street. The police scurried ahead to set up a blockade of motorcycles two blocks down but we went around and poured into the street again. Two blocks further down we did it again at another police blockade. The energy was amazing.
After we by passed the second blockade the police retreated and ceded the streets to us and we held them all the way to Union Square where all the clouds had receded. And now, all the decentralized actions around New York City are converging at Union Square for a march on Wall Street. May Day may just live up to my wild expectations. A better world is possible. STRIKE!
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