Pre-Convention: Live, From the War Zone

Nervous New York City cops have prohibited parking throughout neighborhoods up to three miles away from the Madison Square Garden convention site. Today all along 11th Avenue as far north as 57th Street, orange cones and notices informed motorists that they wouldn’t be allowed to park there. Homeless people, driven by rough NYPD tactics away from midtown, are streaming uptown into Riverside Park.

Meanwhile the exodus of ordinary New Yorkers continues apace. This afternoon at noon one could have somewhat safely taken a snooze in the street at Times Square. Police were everywhere–on horses, in golf carts, on foot. I’ve lived here since 1981, but I never knew we had so many cops on the payroll. Hey, how about using them to stop crime sometime? That would be a welcome change from whatever it is these guys normally do.

There are more pro-Kerry and anti-Bush buttons on shirts in the subway. Obvious Republican delegates are shuffling nervously through the streets.

Republicans are smart enough to know they’re hated by New Yorkers. As a secret email went out to Young Republicans said, “We will also require you to have a YR Credential for many of our events. With the mass number of protesters expected in NYC, we are working hard to ensure that nobody disturbs the great time we have planned. Please remember you will need a photo ID for all convention events!”

To top it all off, tomorrow’s big protest march will occur during one of the hottest days of a relatively cool summer so far. The forecast is for highs in the 90s, with humidity and haze–and that’s in the shade, not on the hot asphalt where the protest will occur. United for Peace and Justice, it turns out, was wise to walk away from the West Side Highway deal. That area’s going to be a frying pan tomorrow.

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