Thursday, March 20, 2008

Ringling Bros. Elephant March

Ringling Bros.' arrival in New York City was marked early Wednesday morning with its annual march of its elephants (and - to much less fanfare - its horses) across 34th street to Madison Square Garden.  

I claimed a spot around 11:30pm Tuesday night - the time the 'no parking' signs stated this was scheduled to happen - and I proceeded to wait. A small scattering of spectators lined the sidewalks mid-block, with slightly larger crowds at the intersections, making earlier years' TV coverage of the event a little deceptive. Twelve am came and went with no sign of the elephants. Helicopters began to circle and I figured we were getting closer. Twelve-thirty comes and:

Twelve-forty am: The police close Broadway and Sixth Avenue. Cheers erupt from down the block. And shortly after snapping this photo, my camera battery dies, a result of the freezing temperatures:

I quickly remove the battery from it's case and revive it with the warmth of my hand. I reinstall it just in time to take one of the worst photos I've ever taken. Those are the elephants - albeit almost completely obscured in silhouette - on the left:

Apparently, the elephants' train arrived late, because these guys didn't so much march as they ran down 34th street. The images captured after this are mostly of the end of an elephant usually followed by a shovel and not an obstinate digital camera. Earlier I alluded to the fact that this event appeared to draw a more voluminous crowd on television:

An elephant stampede equals spectator stampede as the thin crowds condensed at the intersection of 34th Street and Seventh Avenue. I managed to get this final shot by slipping past some barricades on 33rd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, before being asked by a cop to leave because I lacked press credentials:

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