Pillow Fight 2011 whacks NYC

The giddiness of spring makes all mammals rouse themselves from slumber, go outside and do something silly to mark the change of season. That might be one reason why thousands of New Yorkers gathered in Union Square on a glorious afternoon yesterday to take part in a giant pillow fight.

The price of admission to the fighting arena or the ‘pit’ was: a pillow. The NYC police in fact made sure that one did not enter it without one. The fighting was fast and furious with onlookers cheering from the sidelines. It was definitely not for the faint of heart or kids. Young men reminiscent of rams butting heads were using their feather pillows as virtual weapons. Most people lasted just a few minutes in the pit but the sight of so many walking around hugging their pillows brought smiles to winter-jaded faces. Equally impressive was the cleanup afterwards with sanitation crews hustling piles of pillows into their green trucks and sweeping up mounds of feathers.

Who would conceive of such a zany idea? Meet Kevin Bracken and Lori Kufner, a Long Island boy and a Scottish lass who met in Toronto and founded Newmindspace to promote free events in public spaces. Their other fun-loving projects to bring people together and create community have included the building of blanket forts and organizing a massive simultaneous kiss under a giant mistletoe.

So if you missed the first six pillow fights in NYC, mark the date now for next year: the 7th annual international pillow fight will take place on the first Saturday next April. Grab a pillow and a loved one and indulge in some ritualized aggression-letting. And if the idea of ruffling your feathers does not appeal, then head over to Whole Foods on 14th Street, grab a bite to eat and snag a window seat in their 2nd floor cafeteria. You will get an unobstructed view of New Yorkers welcoming spring in a most crazy fashion.

This article was originally published on examiner.com.

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