Halloween Mass

Last night Melissa, her boyfriend, and I rode in the Halloween Critical Mass. We handed out a few flyers, but just as important as getting the word out, we were part of the community we're trying to support.

There was a large police presence, and they created chaos by separating the ride here and there. Nick and I lost Melissa at one point, and then I got separated from Nick. I was more or less alone north of Times Square, but I soon found about half a dozen riders and followed them for a bit. I hooked up with 25 more in Chelsea and then eventually found another maybe 100 around the Flatiron Building. We made our way to Union Square, where cops were trying to direct traffic only to be ignored. I didn't witness any arrests, but the papers report 33-47, many of them occurring at the after part at the Times-Up space on Houston Street.

Melissa and Nick had reunited uptown somewhere, and they met up with me again at Union Square. We went to meet my friend Bill at a bar on my street to debrief and hear about his experience. He had been at the back of the ride and didn't even know that much of the ride had been divided up ahead. He was with a few hundred people the whole way. I think the police created chaos serves a good purpose, too, though. It leads to small groups of riders all over the city that the police can't possibly track and harass. It also enhances the sense of community. If you see a few people on bikes, there's a pretty good chance they're part of the ride, and you hook up with them for a while.

There are some great pictures on and linked from the NYC IMC site of all of the Halloween costumes people had on. Many of them were political in nature of course.

One other interesting tidbit is that Bill told me I was on the cover of Friday's NY Newsday taking part in the September ride. Unfortunately it doesn't show the back of my helmet adorned with a Radical Reference sticker. I'll post the picture as soon as I can get it scanned.

Thanks to Lara, James, and ShinJoung for their home support. We didn't phone in any reference questions, but it feels really good to know that someone's got your back.