Two days apart I walked
past two lengths of police barricades and took two very different
On Saturday in New York,
in a taxi going west on 44th Street, I passed blocks of barricades
and a large law enforcement presence on 6th Avenue. Is it a holiday? What’s today’s date? There
must be a parade.Later, walking along 6th,
I saw the barricades being stacked and loaded onto trucks.
“What was the parade?” I asked
a police officer.
“No parade. Protest,” he
answered, telling me that this block, just a few away from Trump Tower, was the
scene of protests every week now, though that day’s—coming as it did on April
15—was bigger than usual and was specifically directed at the President’s
refusal to release his tax returns.
Back in Boston, in my
neighborhood two blocks from the finish line of today’s Boston Marathon, there
were barricades, too.A little while
ago, I went to watch. The elite runners had crossed the finish line, the late
stragglers were still to come. The runners I saw—or almost saw as I stood on
tiptoe and peered over the crowds—were running strong and in solid numbers. The
announcer called out their names and home towns as they came in and we all were
applauding. All of us spectators had passed through security lines and there
could have been no one standing there unaware that this was exactly where the
second bomb had gone off four years ago. There was a City of Boston sand truck across
the intersection of Exeter and Newbury, blocking vehicle access to the race and
the grand stands. There were police everywhere, and, of course, barricades.
The barricades will, if
history prevails, be neatly stacked by evening and carted away tomorrow, to
wait until they are needed for the next public gathering. The next public
celebration, show of strength, show of determination, show of courage. The next
show of public engagement. Yes, they are “crowd control”; yes, they “hold back”
the crowd. And yet, the barricades in a way enable us to form ourselves into a
group to send a message outward. On
Saturday in New York and other cities it was a message of defiance and
determination. Today in Boston it was a message that honored human
accomplishment and courage. Barricades, but not obstructions. Not barriers to a
mass message sent.
Today I also took photos.
I recently became the one of the last people in the world to buy an iPhone, and
I took videos (!) of the cheering crowd and, holding the phone high, the heads
of the runners. I captured the sounds of the cheers and of the announcer.
On Saturday, heading to
the suburbs after my day in the city, I took a picture, too, not as celebratory.
It was on the train, the back of the set in front of me: a graffiti swastika.
The conductor, like the policeman on 6th Avenue, said this, too, has
become a common occurrence recently.
“I think I know who’s
responsible for this,” he said. “There was a blond fellow, strange hair style,
lots of money in his pockets. I heard he got a new job in Washington.”
My photo on the home page is by Peter Urban.
My author photo is by James Dalsimer.
The book trailer video is by A. Dalsimer.
The cover of Afterwords was designed by Kate Misail.
The painting on the cover of Afterwords is by Eric Sealine.
The painting on the cover of Container Gardening is by Faith Hochberg.
The photo on the cover of Brightness Falls is by Lora Brody.