People on Central Park Avenue, a broad street on the West Side of New York’s Central Park. People on side streets where organizations participating in the March were forming up. People on the Avenue sidewalks, moving slowly among the throngs trying to make their way north or south to join up with their organization.
A mass of people walking slowly shoulder-to-shoulder as the parade moved off. The large video screen at Columbus Circle showing people everywhere, including many miles to the North where the crowd was densest.
People of all ages: 9 months to 90 years, happy to be participating! Happy to be showing where they stood for the benefit of country leaders gathering at the UN Climate Change Summit the following Tuesday.
People striking up conversations with us, wanting to know more about For Our Grandchildren (4RG). Smiling, joking, cheering, dancing, waving, exchanging remarks with the onlookers as they passed by. Not a single moment of bad taste or bad humour.
People from Canada. Tamsyn Riddle, a Peterborough Student. A delegation from Trinity-Saint Paul’s Church in Toronto, carrying a banner and a placard about divestment (the first church in Canada to commit to a divestment strategy.)
Panels, placards, flags, banners, puppets representing birds, animals and fish, a large black octopus balloon symbolizing the Tar Sands (see photo), with its tentacles representing the pipelines that brings this noxious fossil fuel to markets, giving a festive air to the event.
At the end of the parade a very large contingent of NY’s finest in squad cars and on motorcycles. Like the many smiling patrolmen on foot they appeared to be enjoying the outing.
Trying to guess the numbers of people was like trying to judge the number of grains in a sand bag. An estimate earlier that week referred to 100, 000. After the first hour we knew that this estimate was well below the numbers we were seeing and guessing at.
The final conservative tally: more than 300,000 marchers. The Largest Climate Change March in History!