A larger than expected crowd estimated at 400,000 jammed midtown on Saturday as they wound their way along 42nd Street and up to Trump Tower to participate in NYC’s Women’s March. New Yorkers found a way, through one of the city’s largest peaceful demonstrations, to make their diverse voices heard.
A flotilla of pink hats in an ocean of women, men, children and – this is New York – celebrities turned out. Despite the morning chill, the vibe was warm and welcoming. The mood was upbeat. Camaraderie reigned. The event was exhilarating and, for some, reminiscent of the early days of the feminist movement in the 1970s.
Rosie Perez, feisty, as always, welcomed a host of prominent people to the podium, including: Katherine Siemionko, who launched The Women’s March in New York; Cynthia Nixon and, from across the pond, Dame Helen Mirren, who took the subway to the March and declared, echoing JFK, “Today, I am a New Yorker.”
Also gathered near the United Nations, where the March started, were Chirlane McCray, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s eloquent wife, State Senators Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Liz Krueger, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, as well as Congresswomen Carolyn Maloney and Nita Lowey.
What were marchers demonstrating for? Reproductive rights, Planned Parenthood, climate change, human rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights, gay rights, the planet’s rights, black rights, immigration rights, and healthcare rights. Handmade signs – funny, witty, heartfelt – abounded.
After the shocking defeat of Hillary Clinton, which left so many New Yorkers – and Americans – feeling powerless, women across the planet provided the first opportunity for voters to rally and renew their commitment to activism. A sleeping giant has been roused. Let’s hope it continues to shout and holler and – in 2018 — to vote.
All photos Eleanor Foa Dienstag