Yesterday, I was out shooting a photo essay about a Summer Saturday afternoon on pause in Hell’s Kitchen.
5:48pm. W 47th St/Seventh Avenue. I got an alert that there were #blacklivesmatter protestors heading to Times Square. When I arrived, police had cleared and cordoned off Broadway and 7th Avenue from 42nd up to 47th Street. There was a small group around TKTS and I stopped to watch. The video below is as the police decided to declare that there was an unlawful assembly (which according to NY law is when four or more assemble to engage in violent conduct). There might have been more than four people there (which I know is unusual in TSQ these days), but all I saw were people vocally protesting the murder of George Floyd. There were arrests.
7:00pm. The police had cordoned off W 51st Street between 9th and 10th Avenue. There was socially distanced, to-go drinking. It was sociable. There was a reaction to the call to #clapbecausewecare
On Instagram and Facebook the comments were interesting when you juxtapose the two situations happening just a few blocks apart.
7:26pm. I left Hell’s Kitchen to cycle downtown. I did a quick circle back to Times Square, it was quiet. Still lots of police. I headed down 7th Avenue on my bike and saw even more police. More people being arrested. When I neared FIT, the police were again telling people there was an unlawful assembly. I moved on, as did the others milling around. I then saw one man running, being chased by a police bike, then by a pack of NYPD bikes. I followed. You can watch below.
It’s Sunday. Let’s all take time to reflect today. Being black is not a crime. This was a terrified young man being chased down, hunted by people who are paid to protect and serve all of us.
Trevor Noah’s apartment building backs on to 51st St. If you want a neighbor’s perspective on the most recent events and “how dominos connect” watch this video. We all have to step up and give more than applause. #blacklivesmatter
In between those videos, I did manage to produce a photo essay of Saturday Afternoon in Hell’s Kitchen. We’re moving out of pause and trying to make the most of it, at a distance. View the pictures at W42ST.com
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The last few months have been hard on all of us – financially, emotionally, physically. One thing we’ve come to truly value is the importance of community – “our” people. Thank you for all your messages of love, support, and laughter – you’ve been a lifeline.
Some of you have asked if you can help financially. And, while it’s hard to ask when so many are struggling, if you are in a position to support us, any contribution, no matter how small, will help ensure the future of W42ST. Air hugs to those who have already contributed – it means more than you can possibly know.