Religious Loonies Invade the Union Square Greenmarket, Auguring the End of the World in 10 Days


Followers of Harold Camping predicting the end of the world at Union Square

Preceded by a loudspeaker-equipped car that trolled slowly along 14th Street shouting admonitions to heed the end of the world, approximately three dozen religious fanatics fanned out across the Union Square Greenmarket at around 1:30 today, accosting shoppers to deliver their apocalyptic message.

They advised anyone who would listen that the world would end in a massive earthquake on May 21, 2011. Carrying signs and wearing colorful T-shirts emblazoned with their message, they scoured the market in twos and threes, handing out pamphlets.

Representing the websites and, they are followers of Harold Camping, who runs a California-based religious organization that owns 51 radio stations. Born in 1921 and trained as a civil engineer at Berkeley, Camping applies mathematics to the bible to prove when Christ is coming back. His previous end-of-the-world prediction was for September 1994.

The only ones who seemed to be challenging the Campers were a handful of Hasidim, who seemed to have been dispatched for the purpose of disputing Family Radio’s figures. Though not dressed for the delightful weather, they held their ground and refuted the biblical cant point for point with reference to Scriptures. Maybe they, too, had been sent by God.

In the meantime, bearing expensive vegetables, shoppers eddied around them.

Hasidim formed our first line of defense.