When I emerged from the subway in Union Square on Tuesday night, I was greeted by a phalanx of at least 250 cops standing in formation and clad in riot gear. It was about 9:45pm, and the sea of law enforcement—as well as a half-dozen helicopters, several news vans, and the NYPD HumVee—seemed to be directing its attention at a group of about 70 protesters, who were taking turns standing on a wall and exercising free speech.
On further inspection, however, I saw that the length of 16th Street between Irving and Union Square East had been cordoned off and lit by searchlights, and that several hundred people had been hemmed in like salmon in a fish hatchery. I asked what was up and was given the bum’s rush before I got too close to see what was going on. I’ve since found out that my friend Corie had a pen’s-eye view of the entire business, during which she was detained for almost four hours.
On 9/11, my then-pregnant wife and I shared our freaked-out misgivings about the world our child would find when he arrived. Despite this president’s incessant blather about optimism, qualms persist.