Wednesday, December 2, 2015

#RiseUpOctober, NYC: A Photo Document

Saturday, October 24, 2015, saw the culmination of a three-day event of protest and resistance against police violence toward American citizens, particularly minorities and people of color. 

The event was dubbed Rise Up October, and its first day (October 22, aka Say Their Names) offered a forum in Times Square at which some 40 families of the victims who were murdered through police violence could speak publicly about their loved ones. 
(Here, fyi, is a list of 69 families who were in attendance).

The second day (October 23, aka Shut Down Rikers) attempted to block all traffic to and from Rikers Island, New York City's infamous prison, through non-violent direct action.  A group succeeded for over an hour, and 16 were arrested in the process.

The culminating third day, the first two parts of which I have documented in this blog post, began in Washington Square Park, then marched north to Bryant Park. Police arrested five demonstrators there, on Fifth Avenue in front of the New York Public Library. They arrested another six demonstrators later near the George M. Cohen statue in Times Square.

The following 73 photographs document my record of part of that Saturday, October 24, 2015, beginning with my entry into Washington Square Park at its east end and ending at the front of the New York Public Library, after which I left the demonstrations and took a subway home.




Washington Square Park:



Washington Square Park, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Colin Huggins

A Saturday without rain in Washington Square Park will usually find Colin Huggins, "the crazy piano guy" playing his baby grand.  On this day, because of the many demonstrators, he assembled his piano on one of the eastern entry paths, away from the central fountain.




Washington Square Park, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: NYU Student Singers

A bit past Colin and closer to the fountain was a group of serenaders who I assume were NYU students. As long as I can remember, musicians entertained in this Park, especially on the weekends. Even sixty years ago, a park visitor might well have encountered a young Pete Seeger or Bob Dylan playing here.

But then, in the Spring of 1961, the Parks Commissioner and champion of "high culture" banned outdoor musical permits. On April 9, 1961, a protest took place, now remembered as the Beatnik Riot.  After six weeks of demonstrations, the ban was lifted and music has never since left the Park...

...nor have social protests. As Dan Drasin, who filmed that Riot, recalled more recently, the Beatnik Riot "was certainly representative of the era to come, when the people confronted established authority and started holding them accountable." 




Washington Square Park, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: An Urban Sketcher

When I arrived, I found only this one artist. He was in the process of blocking out a drawing of the Park and the Washington Arch. However, a group known as the Urban Sketchers was planning to begin its 49th "world wide sketch crawl" here on this day, and I imagine that he was getting a head-start as he awaited their arrival.




Washington Square Park, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: #StopRapeEducate

The pavement around the fountain already showed the chalked signs of social protest.  Stop Rape, Educate is a campaign to end sexual violence and cultivate "healthy boundaries." It was begun in 2014 by Amber Amour, a young artist, activist and sexual assault survivor.

Amber's text on this day reads:   Women want to show off their bodies AND be RESPECTED?!  YES that’s exactly what we want! #StopRape EDUCATE




Washington Square Park, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: The First Amendment

This and the adjacent section of pavement are the "political chalkings" of artist S. C. Shryock who reminds Park visitors of our important Constitutional rights.

This section cites the First Amendment:  Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

How appropriate to find these chalkings on this RiseUp day, inasmuch as police brutality is often in violation of one or both of the Amendments that Shryock has chalked. Much has been written, for example, about Ferguson police violating the First Amendment rights of both the protestors and the journalists.





Washington Square Park, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: The Fourth Amendment

Here is Shryock's chalking of the Fourth Amendment:  The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause supported by Oath or affirmation and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Our Colonial Framers explicitly wrote the Fourth Amendment to protect private citizens against the so-called general warrants that the British government had so cavalierly used against them.


Unfortunately, in recent years, police officers have increasingly ignored the Fourth Amendment protections of American citizens, and a Supreme Court ruling of 2014 has given police officers even more leeway to do so.  It could be argued that the only difference between the government officials who arbitrarily violated our privacy and freedoms in Colonial times and those who do so today is the change in primary color of the coats they wear.





Washington Square Park, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: The Island of White Privilege

This last political chalking, The Island of White Privilege, is also by S. C. Shryock.  Here, the "ocean" of blue chalk which surrounds the Island consists of the names of the hundreds of black and hispanic victims of police violence. This is a powerful work of art and an effective visual statement of social inequity in today's America.

Shryock's Island embodies the many privileges which white people enjoy and take for granted--privileges which are unattainable by non-whites under the same social, political and economic circumstances.  Harvard chaplain Greg Epstein captures this well in his review of Ta-Nehisi Coates' award-winning book, Between the World and Me.

Everyone should read Coates' book




Washington Square Park, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: John from Manhattan

Before the ubiquity of cel phones and small video cameras, white people could bask, innocently, on that Island of Privilege. But now they are aware that, for non-whites, terror, murder, and brutality are words too often associated with police and law enforcement.

So, John (seen above) has stepped off his Island in a show of solidarity with the rest of our world.  Meanwhile, the terror, murder and brutality continue, unabated, as this New York Times link reveals.

John has stepped away from "innocence."  I refer, of course, to James Baldwin's wrenching condemnation of white complicity: "It is the innocence which constitutes the crime."




Washington Square Park, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Community Control

Here we see George Washington as Commander-in-Chief flanked by Fame and Valor.  His image was sculpted in 1914 by Hermon MacNeil, the artist who also designed the "Standing Liberty quarter" that was minted between 1916-1930.

Below him, the Freedom Socialist Party banner calls for civilian review over the police, or what might be called community control;  this is something quite different from, and would guarantee citizen safety much better than, the idea of "community policing" which some politicians have been promoting lately.

I think Washington would approve, even when shown here as our warrior-president.  After all, he was a practical man known for his ability to empower others.




Washington Square Park, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Jobs with a Living Wage

Here is George Washington as President flanked by Wisdom and Justice.  This image was sculpted in 1917 by Alexander Stirling Calder

Below him, the Peoples Power Assemblies poster indicates just some of its broad-based goals of promoting jobs, education and healthcare for all while fighting racism and sexism.




Washington Square Park, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter began in the Summer of 2013 after the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin. It grew quickly from that point into a completely decentralized network of activists.

Its stated purpose is one of "affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression," and it uses political intervention to counter the systematic and arbitrary targeting of people of color through harassment, false arrests, incarceration, and worse.




Washington Square Park, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Radical Social Work Group

The Radical Social Work Group is based in New York and was formed about seven years ago.  It provides "out-of-the-box social work" that would appear to be all-encompassing.  In its own words, it is "intentionally inter-generational and multiracial." What it promotes, in essence, is the civil rights of all citizens and residents of this country.




Washington Square Park, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Standing Against Racism

The Party for Socialism and Liberation [PSL] believes that "capitalism is on a collision course with the people of the world and the planet itself."  This sign calls "Racism" a disease and sees "Revolution" as the only cure.

"Is there any truth to this," one may ask? My short answer is "yes." When major thinkers like Stephen Hawking say we really should fear capitalism,  and Albert Einstein called racism "a disease of white people"  and psychiatrists today are debating this very issue, the PSL sign above starts to represent something quite more mainstream than we may wish to admit.

As to revolution being a cure, today Bernie Sanders consistently uses the word in ways that are, quite clearly, mainstream within American democracy. After all, his political revolution is simply one "that engages citizens who would not otherwise participate in caucuses, primaries or even the 2016 general election." 

How can any American find fault with this? And, no matter how one chooses to define Sanders' socialism, the concept is as American as apple pie.





Washington Square Park, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Ten Women Activists

All ten of these gals are members of the Raging Grannies. Unfortunately, their website is under reconstruction, so I offer those unfamiliar with the Grannies this less-than-adequate Wikipedia site.  It'll do as a start.



Washington Square Park, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Four Women Activists

The Grannie on the left displays a sign reading: Honoring Eric, Michael, Ramarley, Trayvon, Akai...  Respect our communities Respect our people of color   End police violence.

Eric is/was Eric Garner.  Michael is/was Michael Brown.  Ramarley is/was Ramarley Graham.  Trayvon is/was Trayvon Martin.  Akai is/was Akai Gurley



Washington Square Park, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Three Women Activists

Besides their banner in support of Black Lives Matter, two of the three Grannies shown here wear smocks that read: Democracy Is Not A Spectator Sport.

This statement, of course, is a truism. It is, very likely, a clever reworking of Eleanor Roosevelt's observation that democracy is about action, not words.  But, to continue the sport metaphor, it may be that Many Americans have been sitting on the sidelines lately--like mere spectators. 

In the meantime, our right-leaning Supreme Court has dismantled the underpinnings of our democracy with the Citizens United decision of 2010 and the McCutcheon decision of 2014.  It's as if, staying with sports, the richer teams were allowed to bribe the referees and so determine the outcome of all the games they played. 

As former President Jimmy Carter said a few months ago, these two Court decisions, "violate(s) the essence of what made America a great country in its political system.  Now it's just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or being elected president. And the same thing applies to governors, and U.S. Senators and congress members." 



Washington Square Park, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Julie from Manhattan

Besides Michael and Akai, the other names on Julie's sign refer to Sandra Bland...Aiyana Jones...Tamir Rice...and Sean Bell.




Washington Square Park, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Diana & Chris from Washington Heights





Washington Square Park, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Brother D from Queens




Washington Square Park, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Button Lady




Washington Square Park, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Laura...Jessica Hernandez's Mom

Seventeen-year old Jessica Hernandez was sitting in a stolen Honda in a Denver alley with four other teen friends.  Police and passengers dispute what then happened, but eight bullets hit the car which contained five teenagers. Three bullets hit and killed Jessica.

I think the case is still pending, but Jessica's mother, Laura Sonya Rosales-Hernandez and family are suing the city of Denver over their daughter's death.  Why, I ask, would anyone shoot eight times at a car holding five unarmed kids?




Washington Square Park, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: KaLisa from Queens

Most people by now know about the tragic death of Sandra Bland, stopped for seemingly no good reason in Texas while on her way to shop for groceries at a Walmart.  She was jailed, and on July 13, 2015, found dead by hanging in her cell.

The objectivity of a Waller County investigation into her death is being questioned, and that investigation appears to be fraught with conflicts of interest.  There have been calls for the Justice Department to look into potential civil rights violations.




Washington Square Park, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Remembering Aiyana & Sandra

Besides Sandra Bland, whose name is seen on the right-hand sign, the left-hand sign pictures seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones. A Detroit SWAT team, followed by an A&E film crew, broke into her building after midnight and killed her with one shot from the weapon carried by the lead commando officer. 

All they had to work on was her address, provided by an informer.




Washington Square Park, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Captain Ray Lewis from Philadelphia

Retired Philadelphia police Captain, Ray Lewis, has become a dedicated activist ever since he was arrested at the New York City OWS demonstrations at the Brooklyn Bridge in November, 2011. (For more on this event, see my blog post--"OWS: Zuccotti in Tents + March to Brooklyn Bridge.")

A year ago, when Lewis was in Ferguson, he explained why he now travels the country to events like this: “I want to try and get a message to mainstream America that that this system is corrupt, that police really are oppressing not only the black community, but also the whites.”




Washington Square Park, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: End Police Misconduct




Washington Square Park, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: On Washington Square North 1




Washington Square Park, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: On Washington Square North 2




Washington Square Park, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: On Washington Square North 3

These three photographs show the crowd on Washington Square North. They were the audience for all of the speakers: parents and family member of those killed and those who might be called prominent voices of conscience--people such as Cornel West, Jamal Joseph,  Eve Ensler,  Gina Belafonte,   Chris Hedges,  Carl Dix,  and Reverend Stephen Phelps.

To quote just one of the parents, Kadiatou Diallo, the mother of Amadou Diallo, who was killed on February 4, 1999 in a hail of 41 police bullets as he was entering his house:  "How many more victims were unjustly killed since Amadou Diallo?  We can’t begin to count.  I went to many funerals.  I connected with many families.  We’re not bitter.  The law enforcement should know we are not against them.  We are not against them.  We are anti-police brutality."

Here is a short video [4:47] which offers an effective compilation of some of what was said from the podium set up in Washington Square North.  





Bryant Park:


6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Isthyme Robinson

As the procession approached where I stood, at the southwest edge of the block of Bryant Park, I was drawn to the visage of this woman in the red jacket.  Her face seemed timeless, Sophoclean. She projected a combination of intense sorrow and some form of steely, deep resolve. 

Only later, with some research, did I discover her name: Isthyme RobinsonShe is carrying mounted photographs of her two, lost children.  Her son, Jasun Dixon, died in an encounter with police in the Bronx in August of 2009.  Her daughter, Ahjah Dixon, died while in police custody in Corsicana, Texas, in March of 2010.

How does a parent survive such tragedy? Six years after her first loss, she carries on, but that sorrow and resolve seem permanently etched into her features.  I cry in admiration of this woman.





6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Jeralynn...Alan Blueford's Mother

An Oakland, California police officer shot and killed 18-year old Alan Blueford three times as he lay on the ground. The victim's last words were: "I didn't do anything. Why did you shoot me?"

Jeralynn, his mother, grieves constantly, as would we all:Each day I spend in terror of the police, grieving, bleeding heart....It hurts all the time.

Is this the sort of "protection" we want from our public servants?




6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Greta Carter

Greta Carter walks with a large photograph of her 14-year old son, Kevin L. Cooper, who was killed by Baltimore police in August of 2006.

He may have wielded a broom handle, but aren't police officers trained to disarm even much larger adults carrying knives?  This is a child, barely in his 'teens!




6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Lesley...Mother of Mike Brown

It's hard to imagine anyone not having some familiarity with the murder of 18-year old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in August of 2014.  It set off protests around the entire country, and even abroad.  For a single source, this compilation from the New York Times may be as good as anything.

Michael's mother, Lesley McSpadden, continues to fight for a better life for all those young people who still have a life waiting for them.  "Tell them," she says, "'you're still good enough. You matter! You can be a mayor, a lawyer, a scientist or a teacher; you can even be a police officer, but be a good, decent and fair one.'"

Her sympathy for others more fortunate than her son and her humanity have not been dampened by her bitter experience. These mothers, these parents, are truly American heroes.




6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Remembering Eric Garner & Kiana Blakey

Eric Garner is another victim whose murder has been headlined nationally.

Kiana Nicole Blakey is less familiar, as she was murdered (in Cleveland) twenty-six years ago. Her brother, Arthur Blakey II, called for national action:  This is a question for all of humanity and of all races that can not longer be ignored, and we can no longer be silent and stay on the sidelines and let these atrocities continue.





6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Remembering Meagan Hockaday

26-year old Meagan Hockaday, the mother of three children, was shot and killed in Oxnard, California in March of 2015. 

Surely, we can agree that this is hardly the proper way to settle a domestic dispute.  Meagan was a stay-at-home mother. What, now,  will become of her three daughters, Neveah (4), Zeniyah (2 1/2), and Mariah (7 months)?


In the background, we see the lower stories of a building with a concave, conical "scoop" seemingly taken out of its corner. This is the recently-completed building known as 7 Bryant Park or 1045 Sixth Avenue.  Its designers are Henry Cobb and Yvonne Szeto of the firm of Pei Cobb Freed.  That "scoop" becomes a gesture to Bryant Park and also offers valuable public space to the crowded sidewalks of Midtown Manhattan. 

I take my hat off to the developers, who valued their civic responsibility enough to select this design. Henry Cobb assessed his design in these words:Every building should contribute to making a place.”  If only more developers would take heed.




6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Remembering Nizah Morris

Nizah Morris was a transgender entertainer who died on a Philadelphia street in December of 2002. There seems to be some evidence of police cover-up in regard to her death.





6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Remembering Sandra Bland

Sandra Bland, stopped by a policeman for a minor traffic violation--one that would not even have been a "violation" were the driver a white person--ended up dead three days later in a Texas jail.

How can we possibly justify this?




6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Remembering Tamir Rice

Tamir Rice wasn't even a teenager. He was alone, playing in a park by his house. He had a toy gun, and for that he was shot and killed less than three seconds after a police car pulled up. 

There was no interrogation. How could there be in three seconds? Is it proper police procedure to shoot first (and not even ask questions later)?  In addressing this particular tragedy, Ta-Nehisi Coates implicates America's peculiar gun culture; he wonders: "Is our tolerance for the lethal violence of the police rooted in the fact that lethal violence in our society is relatively common?"

What sort of person, we all should ask, would ever kill a 12-year old child?




6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Remembering Justus Howell

The sign carried by this young woman reads, Justus Howell, 17-year-old High School Junior Killed by Zion, IL Police, April 4, 2015. Shot twice in back. How Many More? NO MORE.

A neighbor who followed the police officer told reporters that the officer yelled to his trailing partner, I shot him. I shot his ass.” These words might be understandable if uttered by a youngster on her/his first animal hunting trip.  However--if this neighbor's testimony is accurate--the use of such words in reference to a human being is horrific and unforgivable.





West 42nd Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Remembering O'Shaine Evans

O'Shaine Evans, a Jamaican born aspiring boxer from Oakland was killed in October of 2014 while driving his car with two friends around the parking lot of San Francisco's A T & T Stadium.  Apparently, the three were casing other cars.  It's not evident, however, that anybody needed to discharge a weapon.


The sleek, convexly-curving façade seen in the mid-ground is the W. R. Grace Building, designed by Gordon Bunschaft of S.O.M. and erected in 1974. The straight, vertical glass façade seen in the foreground is the HBO Building, a 1985 remodeling by the architectural firm of Kohn Pedersen Fox.




West 42nd Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: No More Stolen Lives

The bold letters of this banner read, No More Stolen Lives, appropriating the words of the Stolen Lives Project.  That project is creating a list of people killed by law enforcement agents from 1990 to the present.  Its second edition, published in 1999, documents over 2000 cases. Its mission statement calls this "evidence of a horrifying national epidemic of police brutality."  It seeks to "restore some dignity to the lives lost."

Also painted on this banner are the names and death dates of some twenty young victims.





6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Too Many...Killed By Police




6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Stop Murder By Police




6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Murdered By Police




6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Enough Is Enough...Rise Up!




6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Stolen Lives




6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: There Is Life Beyond

Here's an ambiguous poster, carried by Philippe-Edner Marius, who does education research for a New York State Senator. He has assured a reporter that his message is not pacifist, nor is its intention to incite violence.  I'm still not sure how to interpret it.




6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Framing the Question

This is my favorite photograph. It's utterly simple. It's message is strong.  And it gives me optimism s we leave our world to the younger generation.




6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Silence Is Complicity




6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Dismantle White Supremacy

According to The Counted, as of December 1, 2015, 1,041 people have been killed by police in the United States.  Black victims were the largest per capita at 6.3/million; the next closest were native Americans at 3.4/million.




6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: This Is Your Problem




6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: In the Interests of Humanity

The words painted on this man's sweatshirt read: I used to be a white American but I gave it up in the interest of humanity.




6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Cornel West

Cornel West is a well-known academic, philosopher and activist whose work examines race, gender and class in America. He spoke earlier as one of the prominent voices of conscience.




6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Black L




6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Jessie from Chicago




6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Jessie, An Invitation




6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Man in Kufi Hat




6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Man in Pork Pie Hat




6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Man in Turban




6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: A Monk




6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Two Women

The woman on our right who holds the sign is Beth Lamont, widow of the socialist philosopher and humanist, Corliss Lamont. A long time participant in civil rights protests, she has called herself "a routy, raging granny." At 86, she is as committed as ever to fighting for a better American society. For her, participating in these Rise Up October demonstrations is simply a part of life: We are all in it together, no matter what color we are,” she told reporter Sarah Bellingham.




6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Vermont Couple




5th Avenue at East 41st Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: In Solidarity




5th Avenue at East 41st Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Two Motorized Chairs




West 42nd Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Mobility Scooter




6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: America Was Never Great

This sandwich board carries another ambiguous statement, a truism on one level, but with an unclear purpose. The rear-facing board suggests a religious focus.  The man between the boards is Marvin Knight, and reporter Sarah Bellingham managed to talk to him.  He has been demonstrating since 1964, when he took part in the Civil Rights movement.




6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Man with Beard

The sign seen in the upper right corner honors the life of Dakota Bright, murdered by a Chicago policeman on November 2012.




5th Avenue at East 41st Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Captain Ray Lewis

Behind Ray Lewis (who we already met in Washington Square Park) is the front of the Main Branch Building of New York Public Library, a gorgeous example of Beaux-Arts Classicism built between 1897 and 1911 and designed by the firm of Carrère and Hastings.

The allegorical figures on the frieze above the building's giant Corinthian columns represent the main areas of liberal arts writing: Philosophy,  Romance,  Religion,  Poetry,  Drama and History. Each stands in alignment with one of the columns below.  They were sculpted by Paul Wayland Bartlett




5th Avenue at East 41st Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Woman with Button Hoodie





6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Stand for Something




6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: You Promised Change

Well...Terry stops (the practice of stop-and-frisk) still disproportionately targeted black and Latino men in De Blasio's first year in office.  However, the Mayor can brag that, this year, he implemented a new and important neighborhood policing program

How it will work remains to be seen. But, then, we saw the police killings of Eric Garner in Staten Island and Akai Gurley in Brooklyn--I am pretty sure that these incidents prompted the sign we see in this photograph.





5th Avenue at East 41st Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Ferguson Is Everywhere!

Ferguson is everywhere, and what happened there on August 9, 2014 stimulated the Black Lives Matter movement and exposed the issues of systemic racism and equity to the entire nation. 

As one activist, Brittany Packnett, a member of the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing, said: "This isn't just about Mike Brown....It's about defending the humanity and the dignity of all people in this country and of people of color in particular."




6th Avenue at West 40th Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Ayotzinapa

De Ayotzinapa a Ferguson: una sola lucha!  This sign reveals the fact that what has happened in Ferguson and across our nation finds a connection abroad as well--in Mexico.  From Ayotzinapa to Ferguson: One Fight!

Forty-three student activists from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teacher's College in Guerrero were stopped by local police on the way to a demonstration in September of 2014. They were taken into custody and eventually turned over to a Mexican criminal organization which tortured and killed them.

The specific circumstances of these murders may be different, but in both America and Mexico, as Professors Enrique and Gilda Ochoa see it, a form of state-sanctioned violence is directed towards blacks and the indigenous poor--a violence based on racism and class inequality.

Two other academics, Shannon Speed and Rosalva Hernández, both anthropologists, reveal even greater similarities and deeper connections between the events of the two countries.




5th Avenue at East 41st Street, Manhattan, NYC, October 24, 2015: Spectators

Two spectators watch the procession from the front of the Public Library as they rest against one of the two flagpole bases designed by Thomas Hastings.  The allegorical figures on the corners of each flagpole represent Discovery, Conquest, Civilization and Adventure.  I'm not sure which this one represents.  The sculptor who executed them, however, is Rafaelle Menconi.