York, N.Y. -- By the time I had arrived at the Manhattan Center at 9:30 a.m.,
there were anti-fur stickers everywhere. Pay phones, buildings, windows, trees,
virtually every surface was well - decorated with those little round stickers
with that simple message: "No Fur." You couldn't walk five feet without
seeing them everywhere. It was time for the first of what would be a series of
protests that would last until 8:30 p.m.
The occasion? Fur Fashion Week
in New York City.
Fur Fashion 'Week', once the brilliant gem of the
fur fashion industry, has now shrunk to a two-day series of events. Highlighted
by much pomp and glitz in the past, Fur Fashion Week now struggles to generate
any media coverage whatsoever.
Knowing this, activists from as far away
as Syracuse and Virginia converged upon Manhattan to mark the beginning of the
end of this sad display of cruelty and bad taste. These demonstrations, masterminded
by the combined efforts of ADL-NJ, NJARA and ADL-NY, were the beginning of a busy
two-day series of anti-fur events.
As the designers, models, and death merchants
filed into the Manhattan Center, they were greeted by more than two dozen activists
and videos of fur farms playing to pedestrians. The abusers were approached and
attempts were made to engage them in conversation. Their reactions ranged from
ignoring us to giving us the finger along with a "fuck you" to spitting
on us. They were clearly uncomfortable with being put on the spot and having to
defend their indefensible industry.
The demonstrations at this location
lasted until 4:30 p.m. when the last fashion show of the day ended. When leaving
the Manhattan Center, corpse show participants were again confronted by activists
and with the images and sounds of animals being killed and tortured by neck breaking,
trapping, and genital or anal electrocution. We made it very clear that their
industry is not wanted in New York.
After a break in the action, the activists
made the voyage uptown to Central Park. Actions were scheduled at the world famous
Tavern on the Green restaurant in Central Park, the site of a fundraiser for FICA.
While the fur world got ready for their high-brow event, 60 activists were present
to make sure everyone attending the dinner dance was given a warm New York welcome!
At the end of a round of fashion shows on the second day, the furriers
thought their troubles were over, as that evening, a private, invitation-only
party at the Spy Bar was believed to have been kept secret. Much to their surprise,
they were greeted by two dozen very angry and very loud activists. One furrier
was heard to say, "How did they find out about this? It was supposed to be
New York police officers ordered the protesters to move
across the street and down half a block. After some confrontation, the activists
refused to move, maintaining their position in front of the building next to the
Spy Bar. When the demonstrators moved closer to the Spy Bar entrance, police forcibly
pushed activists down the block and across the street, throwing many to the ground
in the process. Three ADL-NJ members were arrested and charged with disorderly
conduct. The officers' actions were caught on videotape, and legal action is being
The two days of action ended on a positive note: the new owner
of the Spy Bar informed activists that he agrees with their anti-fur stance and
will not welcome the furriers back for the next Fur Fashion Week...if there is