Last Stop for Freddy


The sun was disappearing toward Manhattan, a purple-blue sky framed the skeleton of the elevated M tracks, Colonel Sanders smiled down from a neon perch, and on the corner of Wycoff and Myrtle in Bushwick the crowd was growing for Fernando Ferrer’s last pre-election campaign event. Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan arrived bringing her son, husband, and members of her political club. The “Ferrer Action Team” from SEIU 1199 showed up, bearing stacks of posters. A Ferrer staffer, sharing a cigarette with a reporter, described his state as “physically exhausted,” but he still herded the motley gathering from one side of the intersection to the other.

The crowd built. Kenny the megaphone guy began his chants. Cars beeped. The sky darkened. TV crews arrived and the glare of their camera lights stirred the supporters to join Kenny in shouting, shaking signs.

Then Ferrer was there, with Rep. Nydia Velasquez, and the mob surged around them. Commuters exiting the M or L trains came up the stairs to see Ferrer, surrounded by TV cameras, encircled by a throng of supporters cheering things like “Boricua! Alcalde!”, and Nolan asking folks to “give a Bushwick welcome to Freddy Ferrer.” Ferrer beamed and when asked about his chances tomorrow, would gesture to the dozens pulsing with energy behind him. Kenny, his voices hoarse from what must add up to several days worth of shouting in the past two months, let others take the mic, but first, “We’re not going quietly into this night,” he said.