I celebrated World Pillow Fight Day on Saturday by attending the fight on Wall Street. You’ll note that I said I celebrated and not my loyal and faithful friends and I celebrated, because while I’m generally regarded as the flaky one of the group, I was the only one who actually showed up. Boo-yah and a thousand points for me.
I didn’t actually bring a pillow with me, because you know I wasn’t going to risk mussing my hair, but the train downtown was loaded with children with animal-shaped pillows, hipster girls with pillows in handmade cases, and middle-aged couples with pillows they’d seemingly owned their whole lives. This young German-speaking couple got on the train at Union Square and bumped into me without a word of apology, so I set about hating them in my mind and then set about laughing at them in my mind when they got all confused at City Hall when the 6 line terminated and they didn’t know which train to take to continue down to the Wall Street stop. Superiority!
When I got off the train by Trinity Church, masses of people had stopped on the sidewalks to see where all the pillow-carriers were going. The street I had planned to take to the intersection of Broad and Wall was barricaded by the police, so I tried another street, which was also barricaded, and then another street, which was also barricaded. I ended up stopped behind a construction project a good two blocks away from the action, cursing the NYPD for ruining anything remotely community-forming and hopeful, and taking lame pictures like this with my tiny zoom:
The sidewalk opposite me was open almost to Broad Street, so people were crowding in and trying to burst through the barricades, but the police kept pushing them back and yelling through their bullhorns. Everyone looked so dejected coming back toward my intersection, and I was already feeling sort of down about being alone, so I decided just to call it a day and spread the word about how lame the event turned out to be.
But just then, someone slapped someone else with a pillow right beside me. And then someone else slapped someone else. And then it was all-out war, with people streaming down the sidewalk to join in the impromptu fight.
Pillow innards filled the sky as cases ripped open against heads and shoulders, and I was so glad that absolutely no one had heeded the organizers’ rule against feathers:
The police tried to break things up, but the fighters’ will would not bend, and the cops finally settled for merely separating the crowd when cars and bulldozers came through:
Pillows were thrown at windshields, but it was all good-natured fun. My favourite part of the day was when a limo rolled up to the intersection, the throng obediently separated, and just before the car could pass through, a guy unexpectedly ran along the line of people and smacked every one of them with his pillow:
THAT, my friends, is the spirit of New York City.