For those of you who've never seen MacArthur Park and only know of it in song, here it is on the approach from the Metro station -- and as you can see, since it's daytime, the place is not melting in the dark, with not a drop of sweet, green icing flowing down to be seen. Though in the distant far right corner, you can probably make out that there are already people lined up in the street.
There was one particularly amusing oddity of the day. Heading down on the Metro line, a group of women got on after me, and as the train headed downtown, I was asked to take a group photo of them. A nice bunch. Anyway, once reaching MacArthur Park, and the crowds grew and mingled, we headed toward the street and got some comfort under the shade trees.
One of the women asked what brought be there today, and I explained a little bit of why, including noting that I wrote pieces for the Huffington Post on occasion, and my website here. One of the women got a curious look and asked, "Are you related to Jim Kaplan??"
Now it was my turn to get a curious look. Because, yes, I am. He's my cousin who lives on the Westside. How on earth did she know??? It turns out she's not only the next door neighbor of my cousin and his wife -- which is quite a swell bit of coincidence right there -- but also a good detective. She knew that I had gotten on the train on the Westside. And she knew some of my background as "Cousin Bobby," who she'd heard about, and what I had said. And she saw that I had a Cubs hat. Plus...we'll we had met at my cousin's house two or three years ago. (I have a great memory for details and zero for faces. She's obviously fine on the whole faces part...)
Though the various emails I received said that the event was for 11 AM, and I timed my arrival for that, it turns out that that was for the rally, and the march wasn't set to start for another hour. I'm certainly glad I didn't pay any attention to some of the other emails I got from various other organization that gave meeting times as early as 9:30 or 10 AM.
As people were waiting -- us under a group of shade tress, but most people were standing in the middle of the street under 85-degree sun -- I could hear someone singing, "This Land is Your Land," and then after a while there seemed to be some speeches. (I completely get there being speeches when people gather at a rally. But at a march, people are there to...well, march. We don't need to be excited and built-up to march, that's why we came.) By the way, I learned later from coverage in the L.A. Times that that singer I'd heard was Tom Morello of the rock band Rage Against the Machine. That surprised me a bit since, honestly, he wasn't that great (my initial thought was, "How nice, someone brought his guitar...", but it was good of him to be there.
And eventually we started.
Apparently there were three meeting points throughout the city, all of which were eventually to gather at Grand Park downtown. As a result, the crowd I was in the midst of seemed like it had about 5,000 was my guess. though it was hard to tell from the perspective I had, obviously. It turned out to be pretty close, though, since final estimates in the L.A. Times from city officials was 15,000. it may not have been massive, but for a Monday it certainly was a very large crowd.
I did my best to stay on the outside, not wanting to be caught up too much in the center. And to give a little bit of sense of it all, since still photos have an emphasis on the "still" portion, here's a little bit of video I took.
Nonetheless, even that video doesn't give much a sense of the full size of the crowd -- which was indeed extremely large, as I said. So, I stepped off to the side to take some more footage and give at least a slightly wider perspective.
Alas, despite protesting and marching, magic didn't happen and the guy is still in the Oval Office. But it certainly is heartening to see so many people -- not just directly here in Los Angeles but across the country not accepting this as normal.