Protestors crammed their way into the center of Grand Central Terminal Friday night, forming around the landmark clock and ticket boxes to demonstrate against increased fare evasion enforcement.
The demonstrators against the 500 new cops to be hired to patrol the turnstiles in subway stations and buses led to conflict with police, as police threw some to ground and carted them off to vans outside the building.
In terms of making a disruption, the protesters were successful; NYPD and state police blocked off access between the main concourse and the subway access corridor which made the terminal a chaotic maelstrom. Ironically, that prevented mass turnstile hopping similar to other fare evasion enforcement protests.
The MTA itself took a dim view of the demonstration, which made its way out of the station, down 42nd Street, then south on Broadway before the thousands of people snaked their way from Herald Square in different directions.
“This demonstration activity follows the dangerous pattern of previous activities that have resulted in vandalization and defacement of MTA property – clearly violating laws,” Patrick Warren, MTA Chief Safety Officer, said. “Those actions divert valuable time, money and resources away from investments in transit services that get New Yorkers to their jobs, schools, doctors and other places they need to go. The MTA has zero tolerance for any actions that threaten the safety of the public and our employees, and impede service for millions of customers. We are monitoring conditions as we cooperate with the NYPD and MTA PD to maintain service while ensuring everyone’s safety.”