Various speakers, including Mr. LoBaido, spoke before a crowd gathered on the Western sidewalk of City Hall Park. The BLM encampments recently removed from the park were actually on the South-Western border of the enclosure.
Other speakers included Tony Herbert, of Advocates Without Borders; Vincent Vallelong, VP of the NYPD Sergeant’s Benevolent Association; David Burke, internationally known chef and NYC restaurateur; John Tabacco, host of Liquid Lunch; Frank Morano, radio personality from 77 WABC; and Steve Margarella, owner of Margarella Asphalt and Concrete of Port Richmond, Staten Island.
The rally began at 12 PM. The topics were twofold: Asking Mayor DeBlasio to support the NYPD, and rallying for small businesses adversely affected by the COVID-19 shutdown, business that are being unfairly disadvantaged, either unable to open, or being required to open in ways that are not economically viable, hobbled by city and state re-opening rules.
Why was the rally named as it was? Many New Yorkers have been leaving the city in droves, as of late. Scott wants this to stop. He believes this is the wrong response, that our vibrant city will fall into chaos if the hardworking citizens flee.
The sound stage, along with a giant screen so that the crowd could view the speakers even in they weren’t right up front, had the motto,”DON’T GIVE UP THE SHIP” emblazoned across the top. There was also a rolling billboard parked across the street with artwork by Scott.
The crowd was passionate; men and women cheered and jeered in turn. This topic clearly affected everyone in attendance, as the crowd roared in response to the speakers. However, there wasn’t such a large assembly, perhaps six or seven hundred people at its peak. Compare that to Black Lives Matter rallies that have drawn over ten thousand attendees.
The crowd appeared to be comprised of White, Black, and Hispanic people. As the crowd was asked where they were from, there was a response to all boroughs and even New jersey, with the largest response to queries of who was from Staten Island and Brooklyn.
Scott LoBaido was clear in that this wasn’t a rally opposing BLM, nor was it a rally against anything. It was, instead, a rally for the rights of New Yorkers, and for the support of the NYPD at a time when backing for the police is at an all-time low in the city. Scott, and others, called on Mayor DeBlasio to restore law and order to the city, as NYC has recently plunged into a crime wave reminiscent of the city in the 1980s.
At one point, there were a few BLM protesters standing across the street holding signs. Perhaps five or so individuals stood silently as the crowd booed them. One protester was clad in black and wore a covering completely covering their face, illegal in NYC, even with the requirement to mask up for protection against spreading COVID-19.
None were feeling so brave as to do anything violent; there is safety and security in numbers, clearly. And of course, not every BLM supporter supports violence. Assembling to counter-protest is fine. In fact, it should be welcome, even by pro-police attendees. That’s what America is all about: expressing our views without fear. Of course, rioting and looting is another matter, entirely, and should be regarded differently.
As cars and trucks drove by, many yelled out the window in support of the rally, many more beeped horns. Surprisingly, only a very few occupants and drivers expressed opposition. Tour buses rolled by, tourists on the top of the double-decker buses fixed on the event, cell phones in hand recording the whole while.
By the end, much of the crowd had wandered off. But for a good hour or more, the sidewalks were filled, and people were standing elbow-to-elbow, COVID-19 be damned. Some wore face coverings, while others did not, apparently not realizing that social distancing might not be possible due to the crowd size.
Watch Staten Islander’s coverage of the rally on YouTube. Please comment with your feelings and thoughts, both on this article and on YouTube. Vibrant discussion is welcome, so whether you are for or against the rally, feel welcome to post. Please keep personal attacks and rudeness to yourself; if you have something to say that you think others should hear, by all means, share with us all.