Cops On Broadway; Photo: Tien Mao

With protesters downtown marching to their hearts content, members of the Republican National Convention were watching Broadway shows, with plenty of protection from the NYPD. Hours before delegates were to leave a NY Times sponsored screening of The Lion King, demonstrators, police, and busses were outside the New Amsterdam Theater. Republicans all over New York? New Amsterdam indeed.

With our super Gothamist hearing abilities, we found out that the show was letting out at around 6:30, so we wandered the area, careful to not run into tourists and conventioneers who were standing idle on the sidewalks. While on the corner of 42nd and 8th, we witnessed several officers on motorcycles drive by drive by, followed by several black SUVs, and police vehicles. Finally, we saw a super reinforced limo pull by with Dick and Lynne Cheney. Several others took notice of the caravan as well, but nobody seemed to connect it with Dick Cheney being at Ellis Island. If only they knew...

Gothamist talked to a couple of police officers who didn't seem to mind too much that the convention was in town. Simply put, they are making time and a half on their 14 hour shifts, working every day from Saturday through the end of the convention. An area precinct even rented some rooms at local hotels because of the long shifts the officers are pulling. Officers were also equipped with an officer's guide to the convention, which listed several required items and ways to recognize an antagonizing person.

When the delegates finally emerged from The Lion King, they were easy to spot. Besides the way they were dressed, The NY Times was nice enough to give them all tote bags - red tote bags - that made them easy targets. Chants of "GOP go home" were mostly ignored by the delegates, but one yelled back "DNC go home" and several others gave looks of dismay. The crowd was separated from the RNC members by several police officers, some of which had bikes between them and the crowd. Eventually, one side of the crowd was disbursed by threat of mace.

Ironic that so many conservative people watching a musical by a gay man - a gay non-American at that; Elton encourages you to "Ride the Rocket" and join his fan club. Also high on the irony meter: Cops using bikes to keep protesters back. Definitely a change from their actions Friday.