Organizers of today’s peace march are saying they had 350,000 in the streets, and who’s to say otherwise? We called the NYPD on a lark, knowing they haven’t done these estimates in about ten years. “We haven’t done crowd estimates for 10 years,” the guy who picked up said.
What can be said definitely is that the grassroots festival that greeted marchers at the end was a big hit, defeating that awkward let-down that usually occurs at a march’s end when everybody stops shouting, tosses their placards in a waste bin, and takes the subway home. The cops, who seemed to go out of their way to be polite all day, kept their distance. The marchers got to hear folk singers, purchase all manner of antiwar merchandise, and rest their weary dogs. And the organizing groups—from Iraq Veterans Against the War to the Communist Party—were able to distribute their lit and sign up interested parties, a crafty way of trying to build the energy of a march into a more lasting organization. And what a day for the local hot dog vendors (despite the presence of a small faction of vegans for peace)!