Rev. Al Sharpton's April 18 theatre district protest against police brutality will probably affect the Shubert Alley area, according to NYPD sources. The protest takes place between 5 PM and 8 PM this evening.
Almost immediately following a Playbill On-Line inquiry to the NYPD's Deputy Commissioner of Public Information (DCPI) this morning, a memo was distributed indicating that "the area most likely to be affected will be Shubert Alley."
As reported earlier, demonstrators had planned to gather at Broadway and West 44th at 5 PM today. The demonstrators were then scheduled to move to an unnamed "Broadway theatre." This morning's NYPD memo, indicating that activity will focus on Shubert Alley, suggests that the high-profile theatre location may be the ultimate destination of the protest.
Short of holding a protest on West 42nd Street in front of Disney's New Amsterdam Theatre (The Lion King), Shubert Alley is as logical a place as any to stage a protest aimed at generating media coverage. A theatre district landmark, the "alley" runs north and south, parallel to and just west of Broadway, between West 44th Street and West 45th Street. Sharing this common area are the Shubert Theatre (Chicago), the Booth Theatre (Dame Edna) and the Minskoff Theatre (Saturday Night Fever). Located in the nearby vicinity are several other theaters, restaurants and parking facilities, all of which are typically teeming with theatre patrons and tourists between 5-8 PM.
Rev. Sharpton is staging a "Holy Week" of rallies in an attempt to initiate federal monitoring of the NYPD; just yesterday, 15 demonstrators were arrested at 26 Federal Plaza in the first Sharpton rally of the week. New York City Mayor and congressional candidate Rudolph Giuliani opposes the idea of federal monitoring, even though New York City police policy has come under scrutiny following the recent shooting deaths of unarmed black men.
-- By Murdoch McBride