Last Wednesday evening was the first in which Americans knew that there next president would be Donald Trump. To say emotions were high is an understatement. In attempt to forget the terrible news, I went on a date downtown. As I got to Columbus Circle, where we were to meet, I heard a roaring before I even fully emerged above ground. Once I gathered my bearings and put on my glasses I realized what I had walked in on: the first of many protests of the election.
It was 6 pm. The crowd was large but contained to the entrance of Central Park. About 400 people stood together screaming “NOT MY PRESIDENT!” There were about 20 NYPD officers huddled together glancing nervously at the protesters. Aside from the noise, it was all peaceful. There were a handful of signs being held up, sharing varying messages of dissent.
I ended up on the east side of Central Park around 7:30. I didn’t see any protesters other than a handful of drunk men shouting obscenities that had little relevance to the election. Every ten minutes or so a police vehicle would whiz by with its sirens blaring. I assumed that the protest was still going on and the police just wanted to match the numbers. I texted my parents about the protest. They were upset about it, as they are Trump supporters living in a swing state. They said that they “couldn’t imagine people pulling that sh*t here (in Ohio).”
Around 8:15 I sat down at a coffee place on W 49th. In the half hour spent there, I counted at least 6 WAVES of police vehicles with sirens. I pulled my phone out to check Twitter. Usually, if something big is happening I can find it in the news tab. Sure enough the first option read: PROTEST IN NYC SPANS FROM UNION SQUARE TO COLUMBUS CIRCLE. I was dumbfounded. I knew that I was outraged with the election, and I knew that others felt the same way. I never expected so many people to pour into the streets on a cold night to voice their dissent. Perhaps it is because I come from a politically powerful swing state that I cannot fathom an event like that. Moments later, I saw it with my own eyes.
My date walked me back to Columbus Circle. The whole way we talked about the election. We noticed that nearly every group of people passing us had chosen the same topic of conversation. As we crossed the street heading toward the actual center of Columbus Circle, I noticed something chilling. We were steps ahead of SEA of people walking perpendicular to us heading to the same spot. I ran ahead and climbed up the steps at the base of the statue. Pulling out my phone, I took two videos and posted them to my snapchat story. I finally realized how big this actually was.
Later that night when I got back to campus, I checked the twitter accounts of various news sources. Apparently New York was not alone in its protest. Chicago, Portland, LA, Orlando, Boston, and even Cleveland had similar protests. One of my friends texted me that she had been arrested in the Cleveland protest.
Now, days later, protests are still raging in the streets. Flags are burning, hate crimes are soaring, and Donald Trump is going to be the president.