First you notice, or, at least, I notice, the dogs. Twitchy, yappy, kitschy dogs in shades and cowboy hats making their way down Fifth Avenue. Most are in prams, but today’s all about one-upmanship so some poor mutts suffer even worst fates. Some terriers in a plastic, remote controlled pink Cadillac buzz past me, a small army of laughing children chasing after them. “Don’t pet them, they’re not in the mood,” shouts the owner as he simultaneously tries to steer a path through the crowd for the dogs and weave himself through the melee he’s causing. Unkindly, I think, with his yellow polyester shirt and what looks suspiciously like a toupee, that there’s something of a failed Reno cabaret act to him. “We’re going to be turning left everyone, LEFT!” He sounds exasperated, but no one forced him do this. This was all his choice
Outside St Patrick’s Cathedral are the doomsayers. A sign reads: “BE WISE AND REPENT. THE TIME IS FULFILLED. THE END IS AT HAND.” A man hands me a leaflet entitled “Bill Clinton, The Pope, And I,” it confidently informs me that the Catholic Church “is Satan’s Church.” I watch and photograph an argument between one of the protesters and one of the people out to amble along the parade. I’m one of many filming it, and it feels a little heightened for our benefit. But then everything about it is. Some fun hats and bonnets, but also all the city’s frustrated showmen come creeping out to.