News & Politics

Tompkins Square Park Gets Love-Bombed


Clip Job: an excerpt every day from the Voice archives.

October 13, 1966, Vol. XI, No. 52

Adorned with fingerbells, flowers, turbans, and robes, blowing flutes and whistles, horns, and drums, a clown, a parade, and hundreds of hippies revolved around a tree last week in Tompkins Square Park.

The “Love Pageant-Rally” was called to mark the day the California law prohibiting the possession of LSD came into effect. Handbills had urged people to come elaborately and the crowd was kaleidoscopic. The vivid shirts, hats, faces, and feet — many were painted — dulled only by the impending dusk and by gray, pungent clouds of incense trailing from buckets. Fug and poet Tuli Kupferberg (pictured) carried a flag with the stars colored to spell LOVE. Some people sat on nearby benches and watched the celebration through colored prisms.

The backbone of the celebration was the mantras, holy chants from the Sanskrit Bhagavad-Gita, and for three hours it became like a boat on a sea of rhythmic chanting. Led by 15 disciples of Bhaktivedanta Swami, who operates from a storefront on Second Avenue, the mantras ebbed and flowed with the rhythm of drums, flutes, and soda-cap tambourines. (Photos for the Voice by Fred W. McDarrah.)

[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]


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