I made it out to the Repeal Vacancy Decontrol rally last night at the Society For Ethical Culture. I'm not normally much of a fan for big political rallies, always get a little bit of a weird vibe from the large crowds getting angry and chanting thing, but overall this was an inspirational time. Very cool to see so many people come out to fight for an important cause, see real diversity and get a feel for that legendary NYC radicalism.
I arrived around 6:50 on w. 64th, signed in, then took a place in the balcony, which was relatively empty. The main area, however, was packed, overflowing with people and bands and banners. I missed the opening song and chants thing, came in for the roll call of who was involved. This was not the best choreographed part, as no one really knew what to do and sort of fizzled out. It was impressive to see the list of groups participating, it's awe-inspiring to see how many community groups NYC has who fight the good fight and have organized to fight much more powerful interestsw. The remainder of the night featured speeches from the main groups involved - It ended with brief speeches and a signing of a pledge by various State Assemblyman and Senators promising that they would make repeal of Vacancy Decontrol the #1 priority of the upcoming session in Albany. By the end of the night, the balcony was nearly completely full too, meaning that close to 800 people came through on a Tuesday night. Encouraging stuff.
The next big step in this battle will come in early January, when the new session opens. I will try to keep you posted on any developments, as things should heat up quickly. I highly recommend that people join up with one of the groups who have made this a priority right now like Tenants and Neighbors or Metropolitan Housing Council or Housing Here And Now, as they can use all of the help and support possible.