Well, at least you can call it a victory in this sense–410,000 people in New York City were NOT watching football on Sunday afternoon. With apologies to my family and friends in Pittsburgh and Indianapolis–I must say, that’s something I would celebrate!
The People’s Climate March, which snaked slowly around the west and south sides of Central Park into midtown on September 21, 2014, was a huge success in another way. Whatever you may have seen or heard about it, and I’m sure pundits will critique whether a clear and urgent message was sent, the march was important because there was such an outpouring of individuality and grass-roots passion in the diverse messages participants delivered. Sure, there were a few mass-produced products, but even those were inspired. If you came to the march without a banner, you could pick up an orange cardboard template that read “I’m marching for…” and fill in the blank. You name it–penguins, maple syrup, polar bears, horseshoe crabs, sunrises, roseate spoonbills. People got very creative.
Kahlil Gibran’s 1923 classic, “The Prophet,” advised us to “Say not, ‘I have found THE truth,’ but rather, ‘I have found A truth.'” There was so much truth to be found in these simple, yet clever, signs and banners. I’m including a collection of the best I was able to see while standing (and briefly, moving) with the singing participants from the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater group (we had our subgroup label as well–categorized with the nuclear-free, carbon-free contingent)! All of us were frozen in position for more than 2 hours in front of the legendary Dakota at 72nd Street and CPW, where we observed the memorable minute of silence, which I guessed would never happen. I was wrong. Stunning how quiet it got at 12:59 pm, as everyone raised their hands to the sky. Then a minute later, a cacophony of sound broke loose. Well planned and executed.
By 2 p.m., we were crawling slowly down CPW, so I got to savor the experience of passing 55 Central Park West, infamous Spook Central of the 1984 film, Ghostbusters. There were police barricades and cops, just like in the movie! It was a priceless moment for me, treading in the destructive footsteps of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, and recalling that great line–“nobody steps on a church in my town!” I may have been off-task, but my inner tour guide knew there would probably never again be a chance to photograph that classic Gotham film shoot site in broad daylight from the middle of the street.
My neighbor, Joe Wachtel, started in the march further uptown near Zabar’s, with the foodie contingent. He kindly agreed to share some of his photos. Enjoy the pictures below, and don’t forget to keep conserving resources, treating the planet gently, and trying to hold politicians accountable.
Text copyright 2014 Vivian R. Carter. Photos above and below copyright 2014 Vivian R. Carter, unless designated as courtesy of Joe Wachtel.