By Michael McDowell
Vice President Mike Pence appeared at an event at 441-451 West End Ave on the Upper West Side on Thursday afternoon, but unless you were fortunate enough—or unfortunate enough, depending on your politics—to be in the room, you would not even have caught a glimpse of the former governor of Indiana.
As Pence’s motorcade arrived, chants of “shame” erupted from a modest crowd of protestors, who were assembled across the street.
“That’s as close as you get to politicians!” a woman walking by yelled out, to no one in particular.
Sirens echoed up and down the avenue as the black SUVs sped through the intersection of 81st Street and West End—which had been blocked by NYPD motorcycles—and the SUV (presumably) carrying the Vice President made a sharp turn toward Riverside, before disappearing out of sight down a small driveway.
More than a dozen Secret Service—or similar—immediately emerged from SUVs parked along 81st, and, strikingly, a large man leapt from a closed trunk, able, apparently, to open the door from the inside.
The commotion drew bathrobe-clad nappers to windows; children gawked and pointed, and a few august Upper West Siders dismissed the scene with a mere shake of the head. They’d seen it all before.
“I’ve had my photo taken with every president since Ford,” a woman told her friend.
Across the street, a few protestors shared their views with the Rag. Why were they here?
“Because we don’t want Pence in our neighborhood, he’s a bigot and his values are antithetical to everything the Upper West Side stands for,” said Eve Proper, who stood with a button-sporting friend, Jenny Heinz. “Ketchup without the money,” Heinz winked.
Lily Blank, in sunglasses, had more to say. What brought her to 81st and West End, to protest the presence of Pence in the neighborhood?
“His values are completely opposite of my values. I like to say that right-wing Christian Evangelicals should hope that atheists like me are right, because if we’re not—if they’re right—they’re not going to a good place. They’re not kind people. If Jesus were alive, I don’t think he would really get them,” she said.
“As Bill Maher once said—and I have mixed feelings about Bill Maher—[Evangelicals] love babies before they’re born, but they don’t care much about people once they’re on the earth.”
Mixed feelings about Bill Maher?
“I watch his show every week, but I yell at the TV as I do,” she added. “I like him, but he’s a little sexist, he’s a little bit too much into the idea that political correctness is bad, I think he goes too far,” she mused.
Now that’s the Upper West Side.