October 2006 Archives


Manhattan, NY, USA -- 30 October 2006 | Permalink

At a party a few weeks ago, I met a photojournalist and videographer named Erin Siegal, who is working on a video project with a friend of mine. By one of those 'small world' coincidences, we turned out to have another friend in common — who happened to have come to New York for the party, so I got to witness their reunion.

Today, Erin was arrested by the NYPD while covering a protest outside the Mexican consulate. According to initial reports, police first ripped off her press passes - including an official pass issued by the city of New York - then took her camera before arresting her. I don't think it's overly cynical to suggest that with her camera in the hands of the NYPD, her 'beautiful photographs' of the police at work may abruptly disappear.

I've seen the NYPD at a number of demonstrations. By and large, I've been fairly impressed by the calm and professionalism of the rank-and-file cops. I've also more than once been shocked by the behavior of senior officers - the "white shirts" - including one commander who the sight of a peaceful and orderly crowd seemed to drive into a state of red-faced rage that came within a hair's breadth of actual apoplexy. Today, the NYPD apparently lost it again. There can be no excuse for arresting a working journalist, least of all one as serious and professional as Erin.

The demonstration that Erin was covering was called to protest the recent violence in Oaxaca, where a number of demonstrators and an American photojournalist named Brad Will were killed, apparently by plainclothes police or paramilitaries. It seems that there's more than one way to silence a journalist. In New York City, they take their cameras. In Oaxaca, they take their lives.

Update: 31 Oct 2006 Apparently my comment about "white shirts" was inspired: Fred Askew's photograph of Erin being arrested shows two white-shirted officers directing the arrest.


Best of breed

Manhattan, New York, NY -- 29 October 2006 | Permalink
5 pictures

The Halloween Dog Parade in Tompkins Square Park this year featured a pirate, a tiger, an alligator, two lobsters, two hot dogs (one with mustard, one with ketchup), Wonder Yorkie, a boxer in warpaint and feathered headdress, a Pomeranian in a red vinyl skirt, a lugubrious bulldog dressed as a bumble bee, Miss Doggy and Kermit D. Dog (accompanied by human companions in full Cookie, Oscar and Big Bird outfits), an iPoodle, a leftover Chinese takeout bulldog (and a four-legged Chinese menu) plus maybe fifty or sixty other variously costumed pooches and their handlers. Considering the number of animals involved, it was a fairly orderly affair, although some of the participants occasionally had to be hastily separated. Still, the backstage brawling and shrill barking was probably no worse than you'd see at any other fashion show.

I have to admit that I find animals dressed as people a little unnerving, but they were picturesque enough that I put aside my misgivings and snapped away happily.


Roller Derby

Manhattan, NY, USA -- 14 October 2006 | Permalink
9 pictures

On Friday night, I went up to Hunter College for the semi-finals of the Gotham Girls Roller Derby, featuring the Bronx Gridlock vs. the Queens of Pain. My good friend the Twisted Fister was kind enough to get me a press pass, so I got to spend the evening sitting right by the edge of the track and snapping close-ups as the skaters hurtled past.

Continue reading 'Roller Derby'