The annual skateboard run down Broadway from 116th St. was canceled by court order. Last night, the police stationed big electric signs up and down Broadway saying "BWAYBOMB SKATEBD EVENT" ... "CANCELED BY COURT ORDER" ... "SUBJECT TO ARREST". This morning they set up barricades here and there and a big black loudspeaker on 116th St. with the same message. There were at least 50 uniformed police, most standing around looking dubious, and even some of their white collar overlords, more poker-faced. And there were many dozens of people with skateboards milling around — some angry and saying defiant things to each other. A very large crowd formed on the east side of Broadway, at the Columbia gates. A lot of people were recording events with phones, helmet cams, and professional equipment. Orange police netting was being set up here and there, but it was easy to walk around — it was not hermetic.
I was on the street to get lunch — I have two big projects and only enough time to do one of them, and a store-bought lunch is part of my solution to the pressure today (the other is Kyrgyz music.)
Right around noon a big cheer went up, the skateboarders headed down 116th St. to Riverside Drive, and simply got on their skateboards and sailed downtown. The police — including the poker-faced ones — made no effort to stop them, but actually waved them officially along.
Ten minutes later, all is quiet.
The city has not been the same since September 11th. But with enough of the right sort of irreverence, it may yet return to normal — to its own healthy chaos. Kyrgyz music helps, too.