Winter 2011-2012

October 15, 2011

On the march

Peter Rostovsky

This contribution to Cabinet’s “24 Hours” issue was completed in Brooklyn, New York, in 22 hours, 42 minutes.

October 15th 2011 was the only day in recent memory that I documented thoroughly. I did not initially intend to do so. Designated by the Occupy Wall Street movement as a global day of action, it was delineated by its own time limit (it was a day of action after all) and by the protest activities that defined it. Ironically, en route to Washington Square Park, which was to serve as the staging ground for the march to Times Square, I ran by this Tweed Parade and Festival. I took a picture, thinking the contrast was striking.

When I arrived in Washington Square, I was greeted by a large crowd. There were people handing out political literature and newspapers, various working groups and factions, and a large group gathering beyond the fountain to inaugurate the first meeting of the student assembly. Having spent the first ten years of my life in the Soviet Union, I was surprised to see so much socialist and communist sentiment and printed material. Where have these people been hiding until now? Is this safe?

There were surprising and interesting groups in the mix, like this group of doctors from the Bronx. I wondered if Manhattan medical professionals shared their politics.

I’ve never been one to post pictures from my cellphone camera directly to Facebook, but I decided to document the day in real time. I also started photographing the signs that caught my eye—such as this one.

This man attracted many photographers. Perhaps it was his face, or maybe the simple message of his sign.

Some students had fun with the “occupation.” I tried to recall if I was as ironic at that age.

Here’s another great sign that speaks to my Soviet upbringing. Still such a shock to see this rhetoric displayed openly in the US.

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