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ANTHONY BALDINI - The Local East Village Blog - NYTimes.com


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ANTHONY BALDINI

The May Day Riot of 1990: Ellen Moynihan Looks Back


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Screen shot May Day 1990 by John Penley-04-30 at 7.33.36 PMJohn Penley

Before today’s May Day festivities kick off, let’s turn the clock back 22 years, to May 1, 1990. That’s when an affordable-housing festival in Tompkins Square Park ended in a riot in which 28 police officers were injured and 29 people – some of them activists, anarchists, and squatters who had participated in the better known riots two years earlier – were arrested.

In this account reprinted from Clayton Patterson’s book, “Resistance: A Radical Social and Political History of the Lower East Side,” Ellen Moynihan, a writer and photographer who lately has been documenting Occupy Wall Street, describes how the melee began, and offers historical context going back to the 1800s, when May 1 was the time when many Lower East Side tenement dwellers’ leases would expire, causing mass migration. Read more…