I went out for a walk earlier this evening, in the Times Square/Central Park area to get an idea of the scale of the famous NYE celebration. It was huge, of course, and well-organized, and very densely packed with people. To someone who has spent most of his adult life outside of NYC, this is what's most overwhelming about New York. Where ever you go you is overflowing with people. Walking on a midtown sidewalk most of the time is a contact sport. Best to be in good walking shape and view it as skiing. That's kind of why I like the colder weather. It tends to thin out the crowds and keep people moving.
Anyway, I eventually turned north on 6th Ave, crossed Central Park South, and walked along the southern edge of the park. In every alcove, on every sidewalk, on all the major streets entering the park, were thousands of New York police in blue uniforms, mulling around. It was like an army of reserves, I imagined. I never had seen so many police in one place.
At the same time the OWS folk tried to re-occupy Zuccotti Park this evening. I can see why that wouldn't work. Before September the police didn't have occupations on the menu of things the NYPD could manage. That's why it worked at first. Then politics and media that kept them untouchable for a while. But now the NYPD will not let the protestors back into any public space. They are ready to respond, the same way they are ready for a parade, bank robbery, car accident, subway shutdown, terrorism. New York has lots of events, some planned, some not, all the time, with people packed into tight spaces, and it gets through it without people freaking out and without too many people getting killed or killing each other.
The NYPD really is something unto itself. I don't think they care who is mayor. Or who you are. If what you're doing is something their book says you can't, you're not going to be doing it. It's fairly black and white.