Every so often we would advance a few steps northward. Then we would stand around for a while longer. The sidewalk was packed with later arrivals headed south toward the back of our line.
Nobody seemed to know exactly what the drill was and there was concern that the park might not hold us all, but this was one of the kinder and happier crowds I've been in. It was more like waiting for a Dead concert than waiting for the 2 train.
You could hear music coming from a sound system in the park. Disco Inferno ftw. One guy with signs claiming that Jesus Loves Guns and Jesus Loves Trump said Sanders was the antichrist. Was he for real? People were not sure but he made no dent in the positive vibe. Another guy wore a onesie with big photos of Sanders' face all over it.
After more than an hour we made it to 4th Street, where two more huge lines converged and the cops shepherded us into another line that went most of the way to Macdougal before looping back toward the single open entrance to the park near Thompson.
The area around the fountain was packed, so we stood on a bench that gave us a clear view of the stage set up in front of the arch. People kept on coming.
The recorded music gave way to the first speaker. A whiff of good weed blew by. A doctor, Paul Song, railed against "corporate Democratic whores." The crowd responded to his anger without seeming to get angry themselves.
A musical interlude with Vampire Weekend. The sunlight waned and it was not quite warm enough.Tim Robbins (not bad).Tom Duane (great). A union guy shouted "fuck Verizon." Nina Turner said her grandmother told her you need three bones -- wishbone, jawbone, backbone. Rosario Dawson (OK). Finally, Spike Lee, mercifully brief but an effective hype man for Sanders.
The candidate spoke. He named names (Walton, Koch) and covered a lot more ground than the flaccid Wall Street-oriented NYT article reported, but really at this point in the campaign his speech was less interesting to me than the young, passionate crowd that turned out for it. We could have never made it off Thompson Street and gotten a lot from the shared experience.
Even the Times noticed: "Sanders supporters at the rally said they thought the intensity of support for the senator could lead to an upset victory on Tuesday, similar to his win in Michigan last month." Not sure I'd take that bet, but that's why they open the polls.