While the Republican delegates prepare, like so many sheep, to start waddling into Madison Square Garden for a week’s worth of convention activities, the scene outside the famous urban arena resembles a feedlot for cattle. There are not only barricades everywhere, but they’re positioned so that the only passages for human non-delegates appear are so narrow that only a few can be extruded at any one time.
Everything is blocked off. The barricades make this look like a range war, which it really is, in a way. At subway steps around the Garden, the fencing forms narrow chutes. Any kind of crowd would likely cause a panic—maybe like the pangs a steer feels just before going into the slaughterhouse. Instead of cowpunchers, there are cops everywhere, some dressed in regular blue, some in riot gear, and the officers weighted down by their medals.
Tourists at the Hotel Pennsylvania, across the street, are wearing “what-the-hey” looks at all the elaborate preparation. The fact is that there are no more straight paths for any pedestrians around the Garden. It’s all a maze.