The streets of Midtown rang with the voices of men, women and children singing Ke$ha’s “Praying” in solidarity with sexual assault survivors.
Yesterday’s performance protest, held on 36th Street, was in response to Saturday’s Senate-wide vote that confirmed Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual assault by three women, including Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who testified against him during the confirmation hearings late last month.
Organizers Ruby Pittman and Laura Diffenderfer say they chose the song “Praying” because it is about finding strength after surviving a sexual assault.
“It’s a very natural way for us to express ourselves,” Diffenderfer said. “I sometimes feel so sad about these events we’ve gone through recently, and I don’t know that I necessarily want to go to a protest and yell or be angry. I just want to have emotions and let them go and I want to gain strength from other women and other survivors.”
Before taking to the streets, the group of performers spent an hour rehearsing the song with one hand in the air, the position Blasey Ford took while being sworn in before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 27.
“We came together against the appointment of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court but also in support of women’s voices and for those who understand what it means to be silenced or misrepresented or not given equity in situations,” Pittman said.
Fatima Sindhu, 17, attended the protest after being shocked by Kavanaugh’s confirmation on Saturday.
“Me and my mom watched the vote yesterday, and she kept saying ‘he’s going to get confirmed,’” Sindhu said. “She always believes the negative. I was so hopeful and I really thought people wouldn’t vote for him. I was like ‘how could people support that?’ I was so angry.”
Sindhu said she attended to make her voice heard despite being too young to vote.
“This morning I found out about this protest and I felt like I had to do something,” she said. “It was very emotional. I don’t know how to explain the feeling but it was like I was a part of something. Everyone here was united for one cause.”
Diffenderfer said she was moved by the scope of the protest.
“I was in awe that so many people were there and we got to have this experience together and feel supported by one another,” she said. “That was probably the emotion that I felt most. I think a lot of this has made a lot of us feel very vulnerable and to have the onlookers join us felt really powerful.”
Although she found strength in her fellow protestors, Diffenderfer said she is still concerned about the future with Kavanaugh on the Court.
“It feels unbelievable in 2018 that we have to fight for this,” she said. “It’s not just Dr. Blasey Ford, it’s also that [Kavanaugh] wants to take away our rights. It’s not just this one event like did it happen, did it not. The whole picture doesn’t look good for women.”
The streets of Midtown Manhattan were flooded with protestors Monday night, as thousands gathered to march against Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
“It is important to show up to have these conversations,” said New York University student and protestor Sylvie Wilk. “We need to center the focus on those who are most vulnerable to this newest assault on the justice system.”
Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual misconduct by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez, and Julie Swetnick. But it was the testimony of Blasey Ford on Thursday and the rush to confirm the judge that led to New Yorkers marching. The march began at Madison Square Park, then stopped in front of the Yale Club, a private club for Yale alumni and faculty, and ended with a rally at Grand Central Station.
Morris Rakner, a graduate of Yale University and an attorney, is strongly against Kavanaugh’s nomination.
“I watched the hearing, I thought that Judge Kavanaugh handled himself very poorly and I think he was truly offensive,” said Rakner. “I think he would potentially be way too partisan to judge issues that had a political bearing.”
Samantha Schwartz attended the march to fight the gender double standard.
“I think it’s really disappointing that men get to grow up with this idea that their actions don’t have consequences,” said Schwartz. “With Kavanaugh in a place of power it shows young men that their actions don’t have consequences and it can get them into a place of power.”
In addition to Kavanaugh’s alleged sexual assault, some protestors believe that Kavanaugh should not be nominated because they think that he lied in his testimony. Dr. John Heon, an education consultant, did not believe that Kavanaugh was honest in the hearing.
“This (Kavanaugh’s hearing) is truly an indication that we are in the post-truth era,” he said. “Kavanaugh has such a record that we can’t say at this point exactly what happened, but there is enough evidence that things did happen that were reprehensible and we have to take it seriously.”
Heon also believes that Republicans should propose an alternative for Kavanaugh in the nomination.
“If the Republicans can’t come up with someone who is untainted by sexual assault, then there is a problem,” said Heon.
By Alexandra Mathew
Hundreds of people marched from Madison Square Park, to the Yale Club and Grand Central Station last night in protest of the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
“They don’t get no peace, if we don’t get no justice,” they shouted as the members of the private club for Yale alumni and faculty shut their blinds.
The protest came in the wake of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Kavanaugh’s highly charged hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. Despite Blasey Ford’s powerful testimony of being sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh, the committee pushed through his nomination. But they have agreed to allow a one week long FBI investigation into the allegations against Kavanaugh.
For the protesters at the Yale Club, this wasn’t enough.
“They’re just trying to ram the nomination through still,” said Susan Ryan, 48. “They’re pretending to appease the public and adhere to procedure, but in actuality this is a Republican interest agenda, it’s a corporate agenda. That’s all they care about.”
Many of the protesters shared their anger at how the treatment of Blasey Ford during the hearing was a direct example of how women are treated in America.
“We are being confronted with misogyny everywhere,” said Katie Cooney, 37. “Our radar for trouble is always on, we are always on guard and we see the direct psychological effects of how sexual assault ruins your life with Dr. Ford. We need to change the culture.”
The credibility of Blasey Ford’s statements 36 years after the alleged assault is what was most commonly called into question by Republicans during her hearing. But other sexual assault survivors said lapses in memory are common for survivors.
“She was 100 percent credible in her statement,” said Kathy Hayes, 44. “Being a survivor of sexual assault I remember what she remembers. I remember the laughter.”
Ryan expressed her anger at how sexual assault victims are left as the one’s suffering while their assailants never face repercussions for their actions.
“He thinks he’s entitled to this position,” said Ryan. “And it doesn’t matter what he did, it doesn’t matter that he lied under oath, their going to push him through. It just speaks so clearly to how we blame victims and don’t take their allegations seriously as a country.”
The allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have incited a wave of activism and conversation in New York.
Hundreds gathered at Madison Square Park, marched to Yale Club, and then rallied at Grand Central on yesterday.
Among the chanting of “Hey-Hey, Ho-Ho, Kavanaugh has got to go,” Sarah Whitman, 34, said she was frustrated by the process that might lead to the confirmation of Kavanaugh, despite the sexual assault allegations against him.
“They don’t care about humans,” Whitman said, speaking about politicians who support Kavanaugh. “They specifically don’t care about women.”
She believes he will be confirmed.
“I don’t know why anyone would think otherwise,” she said “Looking at history, looking at what happened in the judiciary committee hearings, and looking at the motivations behind the Republican majority, it feels very clear that he’s going to get confirmed. If they were not going to confirm him, they would have already pulled his name.”
On a much smaller scale, a quiet group gathered in Washington Square Park to show solidarity to victims of sexual assault. Many spoke of their own experiences and reasons for not reporting at the event organized by women’s activism group, “I Will Not Be Quiet.”
One woman, who wished to remain anonymous, spoke about her reactions to the allegations against Kavanaugh.
“I am absolutely disgusted by it, but I’m not surprised by it.” she said. “Like a lot of the women here, I’ve tried to report rape. It’s a commonplace thing for authorities to either think we’re lying or say, ‘well, you know you wanted it, you provoked it’.”
Many of Kavanaugh’s supporters cite the lack of physical evidence and the time gap between the date of the alleged assault and when Dr. Christine Blasey Ford decided to come forward. But supporters of Dr. Ford argue that negative and often accusatory reactions are exactly why victims of sexual assault are hesitant to report.
The pending decision was also heavily discussed on New York University’s campus.
Alison Biedron, an NYU sophomore gender studies major at NYU, recognizes the problems that people have with the 36-year-old time gap, while still echoing her support for victims.
“There is such a doubt, for men all around, even liberal people, to believe survivors,” Biedron said. “There is, in the US, ‘innocent until proven guilty.’ But, you shouldn’t be shamed for coming forward and immediately be called a liar. I think that students, especially male students, have a hard time with that.”
Biedron is sympathetic to victims, especially in Dr. Ford’s case, where many feel that her motivations are pure.
“[Victims] know that there’s nothing in it for them, except for closure,” Biedron said. “There isn’t a reason for [Ford] to come forward other than to tell the truth.”
While women staunchly defended Dr. Ford and other victims of sexual abuse, many were resigned about the outcome.
“It’s not really a matter of whether they believe her at this point, it’s whether they care,” Lena Friedman, a sophomore at NYU, said. “And I don’t think they do.”
Hannah Whitaker, a sophomore at NYU, believes that the discourse revolving around Kavanaugh and Ford is having an impact.
“I think it’s really redefining how we see consent, especially with the #MeToo movement,” Whitaker said. “Some people still see it as a bad thing. But times are changing.”
Whitaker said that it is unfortunate that men grow up in an environment where inappropriate behavior with women isn’t discouraged.
“That’s why the rest of us have to scream in protest, and really put an effort in to change people’s views, minds, and just change the people that are in charge,” she said.
NYC Dads Group is changing the narrative on fatherhood, one city at a time. Since its inception in 2008, City Dads group has been working as a support system for fathers from all walks of life. Listen to fathers tell you, in their own words, why parenting, for them, is more than just babysitting.
British milliner Julia Knox looks at her to-do list on Sunday, October 15. The hat maker owns and operates East Village Hats on East Seventh and First Avenue, where she handmakes hats for women and men on premises. Customers can pick up a pre-made hat or have one custom made. “About 40 percent of customers will get them custom,” Knox said.
At East Village Hats, headwear from straw hats to fascinators (or headpieces) to felt fedoras line the walls and the shelves. Knox, who was trained in millinery at the Fashion Institute of Technology, makes most of the hats in the store. She prefers to make casual hats, instead of the fancier statement pieces popular in her home country of England.
Knox sews in a ribbon to what will become a felt porkpie hat using a sewing machine from the late 1800s. Felt is Knox’s favorite material to work with due to its versatility and flexibility. “Felt is really easy to work with, it’s really sculptural, it holds its shape, whereas straw is more fragile, you’ve got limits,” Knox said.
Knox takes a blowtorch to a felt fedora in order to create a distressed look that she says is in fashion. The heat creates a light discoloration to the dark blue felt and ribbon, making it look as if the material was bleached.
After working for a few hours, Knox stops at nearby taqueria for a burrito. East Village Hats, which was known as Barbara Feinman Millinery before Knox took over and renamed and relocated the shop just down the street, has been an East Village staple since 1998.
Leaning on a stack of Panama straw hats, Knox talks to a customer about the merits and history of Panamanian straw. Throughout the day, a steady stream of people wander in, attracted to the hats in the window, and wander out without buying anything. But Knox welcomes regulars with open arms as well, offering up hats she thinks they’d like and chatting easily.
While La Nina’s threat of harsh rain is expected to wreak havoc in the coming weeks, New York City is experiencing unusually high temperatures for the month of November. NYU students, routinely bundled up from head to toe by this time of year, are rejoicing.
All around campus, spirits are high, even as finals season quickly approaches; and Washington Square Park, generally a ghost town by the winter months, is still buzzing with life. Street performers, tourists, and students alike are taking advantage of the mild weather.
Owen Tynes, a native New Englander and NYU sophomore eats lunch on the park benches by the fountain every Tuesday. Thanks to the recent swell of warmth, he is still able to enjoy his turkey sandwich in the sunlight this late into the year.
“I have such a busy schedule I don’t have time to go home and eat in between classes,” Tynes said. “I look forward to chilling out in the fresh air for a few minutes every day. I’m happy I can still do that without freezing my butt off yet.”
Like many students, Tynes is still expecting a cold winter to approach in the coming weeks. Senior Manas Malik, recently stocked up on Uniqlo jackets to prepare for what he thinks is going to be a chilly season.
“I’m from California, but I’ve been here four years and I’ve yet to have a warm winter,” Malik said. “No way it’s going to last, but hey I wouldn’t complain if it does.”
Around midtown, Junior Maria Goetz, indulged in a nightly run to relieve stress after pre-med classes. She thanked the consistent warm weather for keeping her in shape this year.
“This time last year I was huddled in my dorm room escaping the snow.” Goetz said. “It’s almost December and I’m still running up to Times Square and back every night. It’s great!”
While still enjoying the September like weather, Environmental Studies student Tess Lancaster said the warmth served as a constant reminder of the rapidly changing climate.
“Over the past 10 years, what we’ve seen take place temperature and climate wise is something that should be taking place over 100 years,” Lancaster said. “So there’s no time for the eco-systems of earth to catch up. It’s a scary thing.”
Despite worrying statistics, Lancaster said climate change hasn’t gotten to the point of being irreversible yet.
“A little sunshine isn’t something to freak out about,” Lancaster said. “I definitely like not having to wear a coat out every day.”
Annual average temperatures have increased in all regions of the state as a result of climate change, which eventually, without drastic preventative measures, will have harmful overall effects. For many NYU students, however, a warmer New York City winter is a desirable occurrence.
“I’m just a happier person the warmer the weather,” sophomore Stephanie Tjoa said. “Especially around finals season, a cloudy day really affects my mood. I’d take 60 and sunny year round.”
Today marks the 5th day of the annual 11-day San Gennaro Festival in Soho’s Little Italy area. Cannoli vendors, fresh gelato sellers, and colorful processions occupy the entirety of Mulberry Street between Canal and Houston Streets in a flood of red, white, and green.
The event features an eclectic variety of food and culture. Framed by Soho’s cast-iron architecture, the festival blends the backdrop of old New York with contemporary concoctions in not just Italian, but Mexican, Asian and Cuban cuisines. “In a world with so many divisions, food makes everybody happy. There’s no boundaries with food,” said Anthony Curatola, one of the vendors, as he handed me a cheese calzone with a side of spicy sauce. At the festival, there is no apparent segregation or categorization: fried eggrolls feature next to assorted Italian cookies and cheese; wine and Pina Coladas fare equally well with visitors; bubbles and Cuban cigars are blown by the young and the old with the same joviality.
As I turn left onto Grand Street, I come across an elderly man sitting leisurely with his beer, who happens to be the National Vice President for District 22 of The American Federation of Government Employees. For Griff Mulligan, “This a way for the people to heal and celebrate diversity.” Further down the street, Ada, an Italian immigrant from Calabria, sells the last of her pink and yellow lemonades as she talks to me, “There are a lot of different activities throughout the day. There’s the cannoli eating contest, evening music performances, and of course, Anthony’s eggroll stand.”
Community seems to exist, even in this temporary, ethnically diverse street fair – such is the magic of New York City.
Alexandra Delyanis and Rayne Ellis sit down with NYU students Ioana Holt and William Wang to talk opening a specialty foods cafe called Rose and Basil and creating healthy desserts.