Thousands of New Yorkers, distraught by the prospect of having Donald J. Trump as their president and commander in chief, gathered in Union Square and marched through the streets to Trump Tower last night.
The protesters took to the streets at around 6:30 p.m., forcing traffic to a standstill as they snaked uptown, arriving at Trump’s building at 5th Avenue and 57th Street, which was ringed by barricades, sand trucks, and scores of NYPD officers.
“Health care, women’s rights in general — definitely reproductive rights. I’m worried about what’s going to happen to Planned Parenthood, and also the dismantling of so many progressive things that Obama was able to accomplish,” said Madison McFerrin, who was marching with her friend Georgina Arroyo. “People got too complacent and too comfortable and took her as a shoo-in and therefore didn’t get out and do their part.”
Arroyo added, “And they didn’t realize that people were really protest-voting and what that was gonna look like. I think that’s blatant disrespect for any of your friends who will be directly affected by all of this.”
Both women said that Trump’s election was a call for more people to organize at a local level.
“We gotta seriously sit down and organize,” McFerrin said. “We gotta have demands that we have to think out very thoughtfully, we have to collect each other and organize on a local front.”
Luis Mier, a Williamsburg resident who works in New Jersey, said he feared for family members who may be deported under a Trump administration.
“It’s crazy, I have cousins who are scared they might have to leave the country,” said Mier. “A lot of work that Obama did is going to be taken away.”
As the march continued near Madison Square Park, a man in a suit holding a Moët Chandon umbrella held his cellphone up to the crowds. “Only in New York, baby!” he jeered. We wondered if we had found a Trump supporter.
“No you found someone with a fucking brain, same as all these people!” replied the man, who gave his name as Joe. “Donald Trump will take us down the road to World War III.”
Joe said that he agreed with the protesters’ message, but wondered if they shouldn’t have done more. In states like Florida and North Carolina, Hillary Clinton failed to win landslides with voters ages 18 to 29, margins she needed to win.
“They can have time for a protest, but do they have time to get off their butts and vote?” Joe asked. “This is their fault. Millennials did this. They should have voted.”
Jessie Carter stood on the corner watching the marchers stream past her. “I’m having an emotional response to this,” she told the Voice. “I mean, I was literally just catcalled a few minutes ago.”
Carter, who has lived in New York for a little more than three years, said she had just returned from her hometown in Mississippi. “They’re all celebrating down there. And then I come back to my life here, and people are protesting.”
Carter said that seeing the reaction in her hometown put things in sharp relief.
“There is a wrong. Being racist and sexist, that is wrong,” she said. “I’m worried about these people. I’m worried about our country. I’m worried for anything with a beating heart.”
Outside Trump Tower, protesters climbed trees, news vans, and street signs to shout at the president-elect. Police helicopters swooped across the crowd every few minutes to loud cheers. Someone burned an American flag.
An NYPD spokesman said that 65 people were arrested over the course of the night, mostly for disorderly conduct. The vast majority were given desk appearance tickets, the spokesman said.
Becky Phillips, who said she works in advertising, stood on a Midtown street corner and wept as she watched the demonstrators march through the streets.
“So many people woke up this morning feeling disempowered,” she told the Voice.
“I think a lot of people are scared about what’s going to happen. For me, I am so excited to see so many people still feeling like they have power, and coming together. This is really hopeful.”