A group of six girls have become the celebrities within the encampment of Harry Potter fans awaiting tonight’s premiere of the final film, across the street from Lincoln Center in Manhattan. They do not go to Hogwarts — in fact, they hail from Florida, New Jersey and upstate New York — but they have had choice encounters with Draco Malfoy and Neville Longbottom. They are known as the “Wednesday Group” and others in the crowd want to meet them. Why? They have been waiting in that same location for six days. Muggles, meet the NYC Potterheads.
“I can’t wait to tell our kids we were part of this crazy fandom,” Natasha Pereira, 21, told us before 10 a.m. this morning.
The six, including two pairs of sisters, met at the November premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 in New York City and immediately began planning for Part 2. They explained that they were hoping to save money to go to London, but when that fell decided to go all out for New York — “Go big or go home,” said Brigid Clare, 20.
The girls, who range in age from 15 to 21, made different shirts for the days they were there, but today brought out their Hogwarts regalia. Each donned a button-down shirt with a tie in the colors of a Hogwarts house. All four houses were represented.
“We’re all a little disheveled, like real Hogwarts students,” said Natasha, wearing a Slytherin tie and a Horcrux around her neck.
After their arrival Wednesday, they were joined the following day by a group of girls wearing pink t-shirts. Most started arriving Saturday, they said. The group has been using the bathroom at nearby Starbucks and McDonald’s, making sure there was always someone stationed in their spot at the front of the line, using plugs to charge their phones at Lincoln Center, and tweeting in order to bring more fans out.
They watched the livestream of the London premiere on Thursday. There is one laptop among the six of them. At one point employees from the nearby Le Pain Quotidien brought food.
And the end goal?
“We want to get enough time for them to come to us and thank them,” Jennifer Krumm, 21, said.
The girls had hoped they might be among a group of 50 given wristbands by Warner Brothers allowing them to get closer to the red carpet, but a police officer at Lincoln Center told us the company hadn’t yet if they will bring people across the street. The girls tweeted around 2:30 p.m. that “officials are refusing to let us up near the carpet.”
But they’ve had some encounters with the Potter-stars already. Tom Felton, who plays Draco, brought pizza after spotting them during a press conference yesterday. Two of the girls ran into director David Yates at Columbus Circle, and another pair sought out Matthew Lewis, who plays Neville, in Times Square after he tweeted that he was in an Irish pub in the neighborhood.
Whenever a black van drives by, they know it might be one carting the actors.
“You guys know Rupert just drove by,” a man told them. Shortly thereafter they called out, “There’s another one — That’s Emma! That’s Emma!” Later on, the word “van” was confused for “Dan,” prompting quivers that Daniel Radcliffe — Harry himself — was nearby. It was a false alarm.
For those gathered, it’s a way to finalize the ending to what has been a part of their lives since they were kids. One patient fan, not among the Potterheads, 23-year-old Shantel Keesler, came from North Carolina toting the book she had owned since she was 11-years-old.
“This is like the end of our childhood,” said Natasha.
We just heard that the Potterheads will be welcomed closer to the red carpet and are getting to see the film.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 11, 2011