Yes, I work in Manhattan.
Almost every individual I come into contact with on a daily basis strangely seems to have little problem with a government bureaucracy reaching towards spending half of this nation's entire output of productivity over the next 4 years, making even the much noted deficit spending of the extravagant and maligned Bush Administration look miserly by comparison.
You're not supposed to pay much notice to the massive inter-generational debt poised to pile up. It's considered divisive or even "extremist" to give too much thought to who and what will bear the burden of this debt, and perhaps how or even if a deficit this size will be serviced in the decades to come.
So although I hadn't planned on heading downtown yesterday for the tea party (if I had I'd have brought a better camera, believe me), the idea of seeing a crowd of individuals not content to sit around and wait for their own personal Federal Money Tree proved irresistible. There we all were, in City Hall Park, in the shadow of the Woolworth Building, the "Cathedral of Commerce"; one of the countless monuments in this city to the unprecedented productivity and wealth creation this nation's ideals once gave rise to, ideals that today are under assault. Ideals that currently tend to be ignored, obfuscated or deemed obsolete.
Not with this crowd however. Many people held signs, variations on "Redistribute My Work Ethic, Not My Wealth", a "Save The Trees, Stop Printing Money", "I'm Not Your ATM" and "Friedman Not Marx" were scattered throughout the crowd. For the most part it was obvious most were new to the idea of protesting. Few mass produced signs, no mind-numbing organized chanting and marching and no pre-set ubiquitous rally-logos. In fact, the vast, vast majority of the signs were specifically about ideas not personalities.
Sure, you had the occasional picture of Obama with the devil's horns and the red eyes, but considering we're talking about a crowd that was stuffed across 4 blocks almost from Barclay to Chambers on both sides of Broadway, that's to be expected. It was, for the most part, the issues that were being addressed not the people, in contrast to your typical left wing protest march where a cheap xeroxed sign of Bush and Cheney with Hitler mustaches toasting each other with cocktails made from the blood of the oppressed are practically the price of admission.
Despite the kind of characterizations you see here and there about these events from various mainstream sources, this wasn't simply a narrow focus on a single individual, it was an effort and an opportunity for an affirmation of ideals of public sector responsibility (now there's a phrase you don't hear too often) that many people grew up believing in, and currently see disappearing all around them.
Above are a few pictures I was able to take of the event from my cell phone before it got too dark.