Parade-Goers In New York React To Orlando

Jun 12, 2016
Originally published on June 12, 2016 7:04 pm
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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Jessica Gould is a reporter with WNYC in New York. She's here to talk about reaction from the National Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City. Jessica, thanks so much for joining us.

JESSICA GOULD, BYLINE: Thank you for having me.

MARTIN: What was the atmosphere at the parade today?

JESSICA GOULD: Well, the parade is always a really positive event. You know, there are 100,000 people who participate in the parade and over a million spectators. And it's festive. There's lots of music and dancing and colorful costumes. But there was an undercurrent among the people along the parade route of anxiety and sadness about the attacks in Orlando today.

MARTIN: Did you feel an increased security presence?

JESSICA GOULD: I did. It's hard when you come out of the subway in Times Square because there's often increased security in Times Square. You know, I was out and about around New Year's Eve and also after the Paris attacks, so there's a certain familiarity to this. But people with, you know - heavily-armed - police officers who are heavily armed at corners and all along the parade route. So you can definitely see that. And the officials tell us we're going to be seeing more and more of that as the days go on, particularly at mass transit, nightlife hotspots and LGBT landmarks like The Stonewall Inn in the Village here.

MARTIN: In fact, we have a clip of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio talking about the city's security measures. Here it is.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BILL DE BLASIO: There is no city in the world better prepared to stop terror and to stop hate crimes. You'll see the evidence of that in the coming days.

MARTIN: So, Jessica, did you have a chance to talk to the parade-goers about everything that was going on? What did they say to you?

JESSICA GOULD: I did. A lot of people mentioned that they want stronger gun-control laws. That was the first thing that a lot of people said. They also said that they don't feel safe. They don't feel safe being at a parade like the one that I was at today. They don't feel safe sometimes on the subways and going to nightclubs. But they also said that's not new - that that's been kind of a constant for New Yorkers for years now. So...

MARTIN: And forgive me - is that because they feel that New York is a likely target for people looking to create - to mount some sort of terrorist attack - specifically because of terrorism?

JESSICA GOULD: I think that - I think they do. Although our officials here were very emphatic that they have a lot of security in place - that they're increasing security. There's a new counterterrorism force that's being deployed throughout the city of specially-trained people. They had an active shooter exercise just a few weeks ago. So they say that people shouldn't be anxious. But, of course, some people are.

MARTIN: Jessica, can I ask if you - and admittedly, this is not scientific at all. This is your reporting and just, you know, what people who choose to talk to you and that - you know. So I understand that this is not scientific at all, but I just wondered if you observed any particular groups felt that they were particularly at risk. Or did they feel particularly vulnerable because of who they are?

JESSICA GOULD: Well, I sent you some tape of Angel Cabrera (ph) who was there at the parade with his family. And I was asking both about the targeting of the LGBT community in Orlando and possibly the Latino community because it was a Hispanic - Latino Night at the club.

MARTIN: And we have that. Let's play it.

ANGEL CABRERA: I hope it's not. I hope they weren't targeted because they were Latinos. And it's senseless in every which way you could think about it. But happening towards the Latin community as well as the LGBT community, it's some - it's sad.

JESSICA GOULD: So I got the sense that there was a concern that - about their own safety, but also just that anybody is at risk.

MARTIN: That's Jessica Gould reporting with us from our member station WNYC in New York. She was reporting on the National Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York. Jessica, thanks so much for speaking with us, and thank you for that.

JESSICA GOULD: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.