The calendar and political climate have caused New York’s Union Square to make dramatic changes in just the past two weeks. Politics and the holiday shopping season collide.
Many gathered at the park to speak of their discomfort with the presidential election results. It was a friendly scene; I thanked one speaker for urging protesters to select one thing to be activist about rather than be overwhelmed by the big picture. This turned into a casual conversation between two people who were, clearly, older than most of the rest of the attendees. This is Union Square at 14th Street on November 10:
While a few yards away, construction workers were building what would become the annual outdoor holiday shopping village:
And here is the end result, on November 21:
The park‘s transformation is magical. Note that the thin fall jackets were replaced with warm winter ones only eleven days later! It’s sad, though, that the park’s annual repurpose meant one less place for free speech and one more venue for boutique-style shopping. The last shopping day at Union Square is December 24.