On Saturday, April 16th, I went downtown for a haircut, planning to take some pictures (people, architecture, spring happenings in the city, etc.) for a couple of hours, then meet a friend for dinner. The weather was beautiful, and it was going to be a really good day, but then it became unexpectedly even better, more fun and way more interesting!
Emerging from my haircut approximately 4-5 pounds lighter (it had been a while), I walked up the stairs and stepped onto Astor Place, ready to wander, but my attention was immediately grabbed by the loud sounds coming from Lafayette Street; a crowd was marching uptown, talking, shouting, waving signs, with the call-and-response shouting of slogans. Intrigued, and without anywhere else to go, I joined others heading towards the crowd to see what was going on. A moment later, I saw a signs bearing the political slogans, and a familiar graphics from the political campaign of Bernie Sanders. Smiling, I walked to the police-monitored parade barriers along Lafayette Street, and began taking a few pictures of the passionate, extremely diverse people in the crowd, their outfits, and especially the signs they were carrying and waving.
I got swept along with their mood (to say nothing of my politics), and walked fast up the west side of Lafayette, to where it became 4th Avenue (above 9th Street), to get ahead of the procession. The crowd was heading north towards 14th Street and Union Square park, where no doubt there would be a gathering and rally. I had not been expecting this, but began enjoying myself, taking more and more pictures. My mood and photo captures changed quickly from amusement and informal observation of a human-political event, into a desire to document this moment, and in particular — the multitude of clever, powerful messages — on the signs they carried, and had painted/printed on their clothes. The crowd, sprawling over 5-6 blocks, walked slowly up 4th Avenue, to 14th street, where they waited, smiling and chanting, behind the police barrier, to be guided safely across to Union Square Park when ready…
After the crowd consolidated to just 2-3 blocks, filling from 14th to 11th, the police moved the barriers to block 14th safely, and guided everyone across into the park. After that, the masses gathered, filling the southern half of Union Square Park (the farmer’s market occupied the northern half), waved their signs, shouted their slogans, and the formal part of the rally unfolded, with inspirational words, a lot of call-and-response slogan-shouting, and concluded with a brief celebrity speech by actress Rosario Dawson, who lingered for a while with the crowd as the rally wound down.
It was a great event; I enjoyed being part of it, and I took lots of pictures. People posed for me willingly and happily (even sans press credentials) expecting that I would do something good with the images to spread their message. Of course there were many other people snapping away with mobile phones, and cameras, including many official press photographers and videographers, especially since the event was a big deal, and had a celebrity speaker, three days from the New York State primary election. A few hours later, the news had already spread about the rally, and Rosario Dawson’s participation, which followed her arrest the day before at a protest in Washington, D.C. with an anti-Citizens-United sign in her hand…
Anyway, I’m pretty sure that nobody took the pictures I did, or as many, especially since I focused on the signs and messages. I’ll let my images (a selection of the better ones), the people and signs themselves tell the rest of the story. Here they are in a thumbnail gallery — the march up Lafayette / 4th Avenue — the images I am calling “Signs of the Times” captured at the Bernie rally on Saturday, April 16th, 2016 in New York City…
The March Up Lafayette / 4th Avenue
Click any image to view full-screen:
The Rally in Union Square Park
UPDATE 4/20/2016 — as you know by now, Bernie did not “win” New York, but he did gain many more delegates (around 100, only 39 less than Hillary?). So, he’s still got a shot, if the movement continues to pick up steam with other states and delegates going his way…we shall see!
UPDATE 5/3/2016 — Bernie was being dismissed (again) by the media, since “losing” in New York State. He was forced to drop some campaign staff, but he regrouped and continued fundraising with a more sober tone. Hillary stepped up her “when I’m nominated” talk, and pundits started talking about how Bernie had won, despite his apparent “loss” and inevitable dropping out of the race, by having moved the political dialogue (and Hillary’s position) to the left of center…then Bernie won BIG in Indiana, a middle-America, breadbasket state! Sure, it will be a tough fight for him to win enough delegates in the remaining state primaries to clinch the democratic nomination, but those states have a lot of Bernie-people, and it could happen…
Since there were so many pictures of great signs, and amazing people from the April 16th march, I’ve separately posted the pictures from the gathering, the “rally” in Union Square Park here: signs-and-people-of-a-movement-at-a-bernie-rally-in-nyc
2 replies to “Signs of the Times (at a Bernie rally in NYC)”