Saturday April 6 was International Pillow Fight Day. It was a sunny 57 degrees when hundreds aged about 18 months to 70-ish arrived in Washington Square Park – more pillows than people. All nationalities indulged. Folks elegantly dressed or in hoodies or jeans, sequins or silk. Some wore costumes – long, footed, pink pajamas, Spiderman, punk, goth, Valkyries, etc.
Children brandished pillows from parents’ shoulders. Most were white pillows, but there were some striped, flowered, with words or drawings, or prints of Tinker Bell or rocket ships; and renegades: stuffed animals and sofa cushions. Often many were simultaneously launched aloft, taking flight either 20 ft straight up in the air or arching over the crowd.
The event ran from 3:00 to 6:00 P.M. Rules prescribed only synthetic stuffing, but occasionally a stowaway down pillow would explode, releasing a snowstorm of feathers onto everyone and into the wind. When synthetic pillows fell apart, people continued to fight with their innards. This went on for hours (with a 20 minute intermission), laughing policemen and a snoozing ambulance driver watching. One photographer wore a protective face mask and carried a black pillow, pummelling between shots.
When it was over, drifting feathers and kapok chunks covered the ground. Volunteers gathered pillows that survived to be cleaned and donated to homeless shelters citywide (last year, over 1,500 pillows were donated).
Exhausted participants headed home, carrying smiles, photos, and lots of hitchhiking feathers.
This was New York City’s 8th annual International Pillow Fight Day, and the 6th International one. Host cities include over 34 in the United States, as well as 75 other cities around the world including Cape Town, Buenos Aires, Florence and Istanbul. Website: http://www.pillowfightday.com