had one of the most amazing nights of my life on friday: combine fire with artists with fantastic energy with a roaming street party and you have one night of fire. over two thousand people joined in this night of fire.
we met on the infamous brooklyn bridge--the one tourists (this night, bewildered tourists) go on to take photos of the skyline, of themselves, and of the bridge. i got there several minutes late to a bridge full of stilt-walkers, drummers, cyclists, costumed people, radical cheerleaders (yup, that's me!), wigs, colors (esp red, orange, and yellow), boomboxes, drummers, and life. i could feel an incredible energy. i describe complacent party attendants as "hippies in new york city"--free spirits, artists, creative people, revelers. i met up with friends--some cheerleaders (patrick, gwendolyn, veronica (surprise! yay!) and jinxy (another surprise) and rachelle and peter--and had heaps of fun. i shared my homemade sangria (yum!) with friends and strangers while we struggled to remove fruit chunks with chopsticks. (next time i make sangria for a street party, i'm going to puree the fruit first.)
after a tug of war between manhattan and brooklyn (brooklyn won) we headed to cadman plaza park. cops and pedestrians looked bewildered as our massive group left the bridge. in the plaza, there was chanting, there was drumming, there was dancing, there was singing, there were hugs and love and sharing and glowing jewelry and wigs becoming lopsided but who cared? we were having fun.
but this street party was confusing: no one (except the tight-lipped organizers) knew where we were going. i didn't care; i liked the freedom in not knowing where my night would lead me. i danced, swirling and watching my dress billow around me (and showing off my pink striped underwear that matched my pink striped dress).
we started moving. we weren't sure where, but we were moving. we were going away from the f york st station (where i thought we would be leaving from). our parade continued down streets, cars stopping to shout (and because our crowds prevented them from driving), "what is this?" "a street party! join us!" we shouted, dancing, feeling no pain, feeling, finally, the taste of freedom.
i hugged friends, jumped into arms, shared sangria. but please, don't think it was a night of alcohol; i rarely saw alcohol. the sharing of sangria was a beautiful social occasion; it was delicious to drink and to share.
at jay st a/c/f station, we filed in. crowds. we swiped our metrocards, shouting, "where are we going?" "f train to coney island." okay. we waited on the platform while cops, people waiting for the train stared as us. who are these lunatics?
we are the complacent nation.
when the train arrived, there was drumming, stomping, clapping, shouting, screaming, squealing, kissing, hugging--a celebration in itself. we crammed on and the train sat in the station for several minutes while partygoers climbed on, rushing into crowded cars. when the train finally departed jay st, stomping, hands smacked the ceiling, whistles, shouts filled the air. football cheers i heard at world cup games filled the air. we kissed each other, crowd surfed, shared what we had, talked. confused passengers stared at us; our wings, our wings, our outrageousness. yes, we were having fun.
"this is not your station," a megaphone announced at early stations while revelers ran in between cars, finding a better party. people decorated train cars with posters. hearing the next car up was better, we ran there in between stations to find music, chanting, cheering, screaming, and an even better atmosphere. will the main organizer was there (who you can't help but have a crush one) and peter distributed gummy bears to a chant. we flitted our wings and fluttered our lashes and shared the love. "i have never had so much fun on the subway!"
we took the train all the way out to coney island, the last station. when we emerged, crowded, sweaty (remember, there were 2000 of us crammed into the trains, in addition to the other passengers there already.), shouting to be free. "we are free!"
"this is what freedom tastes like," i thought as people shot photographs and kissed and jumped and stomped and danced and twirled and welcomed the world.
we made a parade to the boardwalk, blocking traffic and laughing and spreading our love. on the boardwalk, we found the hungry march band already playing (i wish i had been in there train car as opposed to mine with a boombox) and i danced like crazy. people got fries at nathans. we shouted; we sweated; we had fun like never before. our huge crowd began slowly marching down the boardwalk.
people raced down the boardwalk. "where's the fire?" images were projected onto a building while hardcore techno and techno played. i danced like nuts.
a fire show began. people spinning fire, dancing with fire, spitting fire. the cops eventually broke it up, but to their credit, were rather cool, letting everything go on for a long time.
after the fire show ended, the crowd spilled onto the beach. whistling sparklers were distributed. once mine was lit, i ran across the beach, holding my glowing sparkler in the air, running for everything. when it went out, i jumped, "yes!"
people started swimming. "i don't have a bathing suit." people swam in their underwear. people swam in nothing. an image: patrick aka trixxi trash walking into the water, buttnaked, holding a cigarette. we swam, splashing each other, squealing, "i feel so free." stepping on a crab we swam away, splashed. who cared? we were free. we are free.
the cops eventually stopped this fun too. what a surprise. rather funny yet embarassing as people ran naked from the water through a sea of cops to find their clothes. laughter. "this is a fun way to spend a night." what could be better than this?
there was pressure to move back to the boardwalk, so we did. on the boardwalk, people hung out. a woman instructed patrick on how to put his stockings back on. rachelle and i shared a funnel cake. we spread the love. the stars--"this is what nyc is about."
we headed to the more secret of the two after parties, a dumbo loft i've been to before. sweating, tired, we chilled, drinking vitamin water and beer, sharing chips and love, dancing. first amazing tribal music, then live drumming (amazing--and it was totally spontaneous! anyone could join.), then this crazy, eclectic and surreal techno. i danced with my heart and my entire being.
at 5am, friends decided to leave; gwendolyn and i shared a cab home together. getting home, i showered to rinse remnants of sand from my body, feeling free, feeling amazing. my wings (i was a lightning bug) were rather damaged, but can be repaired.
for a night, everyone, we were free.