At least they warned us.
The streets are ours. The trains our ours. The walls are ours. This moment is ours. How will you and your crew build and fuck shit up for #FTP3 on #J31 (THIS FRIDAY)? Issa mothafuckin' movement. pic.twitter.com/CoEjRSvmDX
— DecolonizeThisPlace (@decolonize_this) January 28, 2020
It wasn’t much of a warning, but it was as articulate as they could muster and certainly appeared to make their point.
“We encourage you to link up with your friends, your family, and think of the ways you can move in affinity to build and f— shit up on J31 [Jan. 31] all day long,” the masked leader said. He later added, “The mood for J31 is simple: F— your $2.75, no cops in the MTA, free transit, no harassment, period, and full accessibility.”
Granted, the plan to add 500 cops to the subway force is very controversial, given that most of what they do now is harass the poor and homeless who try to make a buck and take shelter where they can because otherwise they would starve and die.
Then again, crime happens in the subway as well, from theft to sexual assault, on a fairly regular basis. Not having cops patrolling the subway might contribute to a hostile riding environment.
But make it free?
Grand Central commuters were unimpressed with the 5 p.m. attempt to disrupt service, which dissipated within 30 minutes.
“I think it’s absurd, things aren’t free; things cost money,” said one Westchester-bound traveler. “Asking for free stuff, it’s like they’re 12 year olds. They’re acting like children!”
Well, they are children. They think like children. They behave like children. They’re children. They demand “accessibility,” which is important as subways are, for the most part, underground and difficult to reach for people who can’t use stairs. But escalators and elevators are often broken, making access impossible. They’re mechanical contraptions, used constantly, treated poorly by the people who use the subways, and they break. You know what’s needed to fix them? Money. The same money they don’t want to be required to pay.
Yet, their “weapon” was to protest, vandalize and disrupt, meaning the people who suffer for their actions are people commuting home from work. Pouring glue into fare readers means there are more things that need repair, more ways to divert money away from the things they claim matter to them, and just annoy the crap out of the people whose support they, theoretically at least, need.
As of 5 p.m., police were also looking for an unknown individual who used a metal chain to shatter the screen of one of the MTA’s new OMNY fare machines at West 50th Street and Eighth Avenue.
Each OMNY machine costs the MTA $2,000 to replace, sources said.
Well, if that doesn’t achieve their goal, what will?
Two women were also arrested, summonsed and released at around 11 a.m. after posting “F—k the police” signs inside Bronx Criminal Court, cops said.
A visceral message for sure, and likely one that would reasonate with the folks taking forced day trips to the courthouse, but they didn’t need to see signs to feel that way and there wasn’t much chance those signs would accomplish much otherwise.
Masked anti-cop protesters flooded Grand Central Terminal at the start of rush hour Friday in an attempt to shut down the commuter hub — but the whole thing soon fizzled out.
New Yorkers are a funny lot that way. They see a lot of odd things happen around them on a regular basis, and aren’t easily fazed. New York commuters even moreso, as they really want to get home, I mean really, and don’t care about other people’s passionate demands when they get in the way of their reaching their train on time.
There’s an old joke about one commuter telling another that a person died on the IRT. “Really,” the other person asks? “Yeah, I almost missed my train.”
Maybe the problem is that the masked protesters don’t commute. Who knows if they work at all, as they may plan to save the universe from their dorm rooms, where they also demand that their college divest from fossil fuels but complain when the heat doesn’t work.
And it’s not to say that there aren’t legitimate complaints and issues here, as the subway is run poorly, the cost of a fare has long been divorced from anything beyond the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s* need for mo’ money, and the NYPD has been its usual disgraceful self in dealing with people who just haven’t done enough wrong to deserve their
But is the solution to make everything free? Is chanting nonsense to people who are rushing for their trains the way to convince them? Is screaming “Fuck the Police” going to persuade people? Fuggedaboutit.
*I say this with love, given that its chair is an old friend of mine and former partner at Skadden, Pat Foye,