Thousands of people marched through the streets of New York City last night, following the improbable election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States.
The protestors, who represented the demographics that turned out to vote against the president-elect—young, of color, queer—chanted "not my president" and "New York hates you," as they grappled with the dark reality that Trump’s platform of naked bigotry and xenophobia had carried the day.
"Last night my brother called me from medical school in St. Louis and asked me if he should shave his beard. He’s worried now that his facial hair will put his life in jeopardy," said Ashley Wahba, 28, who comes from a family of Muslim immigrants. Wahba said she had been told by her boss that she didn’t have to come into work on Wednesday if she didn’t feel safe enough to go outside. She had come alone to the march and protest. "I just wanted to feel some love again," she told Gothamist.
Multiple marches took place simultaneously across the city, ultimately converging outside of Trump Tower, where the New York Police Department had placed idling sanitation trucks filled with sand in front of the entrance as a security measure. At one point, a small American flag was lit on fire and placed on the ground, a bitter candle at a vigil.
The NYPD reported 65 arrests at the peaceful protest, with the "overwhelming majority of protestors receiving desk appearance tickets" for charges ranging from disorderly conduct, obstruction, and resisting arrest.
En route to Trump’s midtown residence, protestors stopped traffic on several avenues in lower and midtown Manhattan, as drivers honked in support of the crowd. At major intersections, some protestors joined hands, so that the march could continue uptown in the streets as cross-town traffic was brought to a halt.
Near Madison Square Park, protestor Callan Hutchison waved a rainbow flag as he marched alongside thousands who had gathered at 6 p.m. at Union Square Park. Hutchinson wore a white shirt with the words "Bernie Would Have Won," scrawled across the front and back in permanent marker. "I think he had a better shot than Hillary, that’s for sure," he told Gothamist. "I think it’s going to be eight years of Donald Trump. I’ve been filled with a gut fear all day. I anticipate a sudden blast of heat and then a loud noise and death. He’s going to nuke everyone if he gets into a fit, or withdraw us from the Paris Accords so we’ll all die slowly. He’s out of his mind. He’s been such a shitty part of New York my whole life."
The NYPD tried to divide the march into smaller contingents by directing groups in separate directions, but by the time marchers approached Trump Tower, the NYPD had allowed them to mass on the streets outside of the tower, and climb up on nearby scaffolding and street lights.
Fire of some sort in front of Trump Tower now. pic.twitter.com/Io2B34RhS9
— Patrick deHahn (@patrickdehahn) November 10, 2016
In the Flatiron District, a middle-aged man in a suit ran wildly through the crowd with his fingers forming an "L" to his forehead. "You’re all losers," the man screamed, shoving people out of his way. "You lost, get the fuck over it." The crowd responded by chanting "bigot" over and over.
At 34th Street, the NYPD grabbed a photographer from among the marchers and tried to wrestle him behind police lines. They released him shortly after. "They were upset I was wearing a bandana over my face," Scott Kaplan, the photographer, told me. "They want to be able to see everyone’s faces for their surveillance unit."
SVA students Lily Holcombe and Ahston Thompson had spent all day following the election in their dorm rooms. "We just wanted to get the negative energy out. None of this has felt real," said Holcombe. "I’ve just been numb all day," Thompson added.
When asked what a Trump presidency will mean to them, Marcelo Gutierrez, 22, said, "It means bigotry, discrimination, segregation, sexism, and racism. It means a very white, non-inclusive, elitist future, and it means a very dark world."
As helicopters buzzed overhead outside of Trump Tower, protesters took turns chanting "fuck Giuliani," and "popular vote," in reference to Hillary Clinton winning the national popular vote. The mood wasn’t quite as somber as the tone of the chants, as many protesters took time to meet up with friends and embrace after a day spent indoors, contemplating the country’s drastic shift to the far right.