Fernando Ferrer’s penultimate campaign stop took him on a quick, noisy walk down Fordham Road this afternoon, trailed by an enthusiastic band of flag-waving supporters and no less than two soundtrucks. “Freddy, relax, the people are with you,” the crowd shouted, in Spanish, and indeed people whom Ferrer passed on the sidewalk often reached out for his hand, although folks standing across the street merely stared. A few horns honked. The Ferrer campaign finally felt like a crusade, but only if you were close to the action. One man walking the opposite direction got caught in the fray and didn’t like it, crying, “Get away from me, you faggots!”
“We remember when the Bronx was burning down,” Kenny the Megaphone Guy shouted as the crowd streamed down from Jerome Ave. to Webster. “Freddy Ferrer is the one who turned the Bronx around.” The jaunt ended at Fordham Plaza, one small sign of that change: Ten years ago a dreary parking lot where the NYPD crime scene unit kept its station wagons full of forensic equipment, it’s now a bland-looking but busy market where you can buy everything from pork fried rice to athletic socks. Or both!
When the crowd gathered around Ferrer and walking partner Rev. Al Sharpton at the end, the Rev vowed vengeance on those Democrats who flipped on Freddy. “Whatever the outcome, Freddy has made us proud,” Al said. “Freddy has taken attendance in this town … There’s some Democrats who left who we want to stay gone!” But on several occasions in these last weeks of campaigning, the Voice has heard black New Yorkers saying it was Ferrer’s Diallo remarks—which Sharpton did so much to hype—that had cost Freddy their vote, not what some Democratic assembly member or councilperson did.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 8, 2005