Restore the sanity!

Thanks to a reader for sending in the shot above. Could not have had better weather. How were your experiences?

If anyone got some good photos, be sure to upload to the PoPville flickr pool here or you can send in an attachment to princeofpetworth(at)gmail(dot)com.

The crowds were insane. I’m looking forward to hearing your stories!

71 Comment

  • gotryit

    Big crowd – couldn’t see anything, barely heard anything.

    Try again with better planning. 25,000 my rear end…

  • Agreed–no visuals or sound. I should have stayed at home an watched it. Would have been less frustrating. Funny/entertaining signs though!

  • Loved the signs, costumes, and camaraderie. I’m guessing this will out-number the Beck rally by two-fold at least. Someone told me the crowd stretched back as far as the Washington Monument.

  • Couldn’t hear or see anything but loved the camaraderie! The place were full of my people, intelligent, caring, thoughtful people. The more, the merrier. I just hope we all show up at the polls on Tuesday and vote to show that we support President Obama’s policies. Get. Out. And. Vote! Please.

  • Lots of fun all around. People were wonderful. Show was great!!! Stewart and Colbert did what they do best. Sweet surprise Cat Stevens singing Peace Train!!!

  • My choice to scooter down there was a win. I parked around 12th & Madison. Walked a couple blocks in – total people clog. It was crowded back to the monument as near as I can tell. I scooted that way on the way back to hop on Rock Creek and avoid downtown. Never got near enough to see the main attraction, but it was a cool moment to witness. Considering how nuts it was to walk, I can only imagine that metro would have been a nightmare.

  • Those metro trains we’re tough today…

  • My aunt flew up here a couple days ago for work. She said the plane was packed with people going to the rally– included a woman coming from Brazil! I’d be surprised if these people didn’t leave feeling somewhat disapponted.

  • The lack of sound was a disaster. I expected not to see anything, but once I found there was nowhere we could go with any audible sound, we turned the stroller around and headed out.

  • Inexcusably bad planning – hate to say it, but true. Huge crowd, extremely positive and friendly vibe, lots of clever signs – but no one could see or hear anything beyond the 1-2 blocks nearest the stage – which was over-filled to capacity by around 10 a.m. There were no screens or speakers for the thousands of people farther back.

    There is no excuse for that. Though I had a good time anyway – I really feel kind of taken advantage of. We could have had a sunny-day picnic anywhere. We could have stayed home and watched the whole thing on TV drinking wine on the deck.

    But instead we joined the enormous crush to get there and walked miles home (metro full, buses full, no cabs) only to sit on the mall hearing nothing and seeing nothing.

    This is the age of communication!!! No jumbotrons, no speakers? What the f**k? And if there was a problem getting them, certainly the organizers knew it this morning when I checked the website for latest information. Even if you told me – “there will be no screens or speakers – you must bring a radio to hear the event” – I probably still would have gone! But brought a radio!!!

    I’ve been to big events on the mall from the bicentennial to Obama’s inauguration. I’ve actually worked big events. I know the difficult logistics involved. This was a colossal failure by the organizers, although fortunately salvaged by a tremendous group of people having fun on a lovely day.

    • I think the amusing signs helped keep everyone in good spirits.

    • There were lots of screens and speakers. We got there around 1:00 and walked around until we could see and hear (mostly). We settled on a spot just inside the fences between 6th and 7th. It wasn’t exactly Screen on the Green, but I could follow along and understand most of what was being said. Most people were quiet for the important parts so the sound reached us pretty well.

      It’s kind of a shame that you missed the overarching theme of the day: Relax, take a breath, and calm down for a minute. It takes a lot of energy and doesn’t help anyone to harbor anger all the time.

    • A colossal failure??

      Let’s take it down a notch…

  • Although it was difficult to hear, I was there for the experience and to be counted. The crowd was great. I loved that the rally started with the Star Spangled Banner- beautifully done. I love that Stewart asked people to take care of the mall, a national treasure. The Peace Train, Crazy Train, Love Train medley was inspired and totally fun. Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam), Ozzy Ozbourne and the O’Jays??!! Where else you gonna see that!

    I was moved by the Stewart’s closing speech (which I read online when I got home). It rings very true and speaks to our basic humanity.

    Yeah, the sound was bad and the metro was crowded. I am grateful that I was able to be there.

  • Got there at 11:45 and wandered right towards a screen and speaker…not sure what all the complaining is about…great show

    • I think it’s from those of us who tried to get on a metro after 10am and ended up arriving too late to be anywhere near anything. Good for you though.

      • The metro was a bad choice on my part. My sister and I left for the rally around the same time– she took a cab from Beltsvlle and I took the metro from Pentagon City. She got there early and was close enough to the speakers to hear everything, while I got there half an hour after it started and couln’t get close to anything. Cab was definitely the way to go.

        • Yeah, I don’t know what we were smoking, but we left from Columbia Heights around 11:30 am and tried to metro… Giving up after 20 minutes we walked down and got there about 12:30pm. We made it to the center of the mall on 7th st. near the Ambulance that pulled duble duty as a viewing platform. Amazing how many people can fit on top of one of those things (not to mention the trees and traffic signals)! It was amazing how we had to move as ambulances, horses, and MPD cars would try to somehow move down the street ever 30 minutes or so.

          In any case, it was a blast, even if we only heard and saw intermitent parts. Signs were great, as was music and the skits when we could hear them.

  • I was unable to see or hear the rally at all, and spent most of the day being crushed by other bodies.

    But I got a lot of sun and exercise on a gorgeous day, hung out with college friends I haven’t seen in a long time, and took some photos that greatly increased the traffic to my flickr page. So I think it was a win.

  • I waited through 3 metro trains packed 100% 3 times. I gave up and took a train in the opposite direction hoping to catch a train into DC while it was less crowded further up the red line. I ended up at Glenmont where the train turned around and went into DC. Packed tight.

    I got out at gallery place and 7th street was crowded all the way down to the mall. I couldn’t set foot on the mall because there was no room left to stand on it.

    I stayed for about 20 min then went home.

    I’m glad I went, even though I missed the rally by being at the rally.

    The size of the crowds coming out to stand up to beck and the TEA party people was inspiring.

  • I can’t believe the metro was doing track maintenance today. Oh well, at least nobody got killed.

  • I got there around 1pm and could hear everything fine. I got on the metro at Columbia Heights around noon and got off at L’Enfant Plaza. Couldn’t see the stage, but could see a jumbotron. I had a great time – stayed for the whole rally!

    • Technically you didn’t stay for the rally if you didn’t even show up until 1. I’m still trying to figure out how you managed to get in so close when people who left for the rally hours before you could not.

      • the rally started at 1. there were preshows before it. be reasonable! 😉

        I walked over just before 11 and stood between 6th and 7th. It was crowded and I should’ve brought snacks, but I could hear most things and see a bit of a jumbotron. It had its good moments, but my expectations weren’t super high and I think that’s why I left satisfied.

      • Whatever. I missed the Roots and John Legend, and whatever else happened before 1pm. I dunno, I got as far as the Air and Space museum, then just squeezed into the crowd. I wasn’t anywhere near the stage, I was just close to speakers and a jumbotron. I was by myself, so that probably helped.

    • If you were in CH why didn’t you just walk??

      • I waited for the train for about 10 minutes and was able to get on it and take it to L’Enfant – quicker than walking. I walked home, though. All of 14th was backed up because of that giant dragon float thing, and I wasn’t going to go anywhere near the metro after the rally.

  • Luckily I attended the rally solo, so I could wander more freely than others. I had a similar circumstance arriving around 11:30 and got stuck down near 7th Street, could not see or hear a thing, so 15 minutes later I tried approaching the rally from the street side behind the porta potties near air & space museum and they just took down some crowd control fencing. I got right in near jumbotrons and speakers almost up to 4th Street. I think similar to the inauguration, there was crowd control funneling folks to 7th Street but then it clogged up, when there was really quite a bit of space further up the block. I felt bad from the folks in the back chanting “Louder” to the speakers early on… the sound seemed to go up a bit, I hope it helped!

    Had a great time and everyone attending was so well behaved. Kudos to the crowd!

    • I had a similar experience. I saw on Twitter that the green line was a mess so I cabbed down. Walked around the edge of the crowd and ended up near the air and space museuam and heard and saw everythng and didn’t feel crushed by a crowd.

  • Had an amazing time. I’m sure the crowd was much bigger than they expected. Got there early so was able to get close to one of the big screens and had no trouble hearing. Great show.

    The DC Metro system was a massive FAIL. I got an a Yellow line at Gallery Place and it went out of service at the Convention Center and made everyone get off. Huh? This happens all the time on the Yellow Line. Buses didn’t seem to be running up 14th. People just gave up and started walking.

    • The yellow line ENDS at convention center, it didn’t fail. It only runs to Ft. Totten during off-peak hours. The schedule is posted in the stations.

      • The weekend is off-peak and yellow usually runs to Ft. Totten on weekends. They announced the changes late in the week, and it was a huge mess. I walked from the Rally to near the navy yard, had food and a couple of drinks at Justin’s Cafe for a couple of hours. Got on the Green Line and thank god actually got a seat on the train. Thank God, because for the next five stops, it became jam-packed. The platform at Mt. Vernon square was still completely packed at like 6:30.

  • My husband and I brought our three-year-old and we all had a great time. We showed up at 10:30 (later than we had planned, actually), and ended up near around fifth street. We could hear perfectly, and my husband – who is tall- could see everything. I could see occasionally, and the girl could see whenever she wanted by getting on our shoulders. She spent a lot of time playing on the iPhone at our feet and eating snacks we had brought, but even she had a great time! I am so glad we went!!

    The only difficulty was with trying to find the way out at the end, but the men in trees were happy to point out the right way to go to avoid the roadblocks.

    All in all a wonderful experience!

  • I was lucky (in a way) because my sister had dragged me to the Glenn Beck rally back in August, and we went 3 hours early and it was already crowded. Knowing this, we left early and got there early and set up camp right in front of the jumbotron. No problem hearing or seeing. Felt bad when we kept hearing the chants of “Louder! Louder!” from the poor people in the back. There were 2 jumbotrons at this rally, and I am ashamed to say Glenn Beck had 6 (3 on both side). The organizers of Restore Sanity obviously underestimated crowd size.

  • I’m amazed that the event yesterday was so overwhelmingly positive and such a large chunk of this comment section has nothing but grumpy comments. I learn a lot reading the comments from some people on this blog, but other people really need to adjust their perspective on life.

    • SouthwestDC

      Huh, I read the comments so far and did not get that impression at all. Though only a handful of people were close enough to experience the rally events, everyone’s saying they had a great time.

      Nonetheless, the rally might have been disappointing to those that had taken a flight here for it; I’d heard of some coming from as far away as Florida, even Brazil, and I can’t imagine it was worth the airfare and travel time.

    • Beforewisdom, have you ever really been to this blog before? Grumpy comments make up 92 percent of the responses here.

      Greater Greater Washington would probably blow your mind, only those comments are more prissy than grumpy.

      • Really, if everyone had just walked or biked from wherever they were coming, be it Pentagon City or Brazil, we wouldn’t have had half the problems mentioned here.

      • Anonymous, have YOU been to this blog before? Whenever we’re asked to share our experiences, and everyone does, someone always has to swoop in and dismiss them all as grumpiness.

        In response to beforewisdom, I think it takes a remarkably positive perspective to miss a big event (because you spent 2 hours waiting in line for the metro), and still think it was a fantastic experience. Maybe you’re the one who needs an adjustment. 🙂

        • Prince Of Petworth


        • Anon is right: You people seem like the least happy people on earth. Between your constant grousing and hilariously inaccurate real estate speculation (fueled by jealousy, mostly), this place is a constant laugh riot.

  • Took the D6 all the way to 7th&E, used the ladies room in the sculpture garden, and met friends at 11:45 – got stuck in the crowd trying to enter on 7th so we walked alongside the portopotties and snuck in the side and had a not-terrible view of a jumbotron. Its too bad they didn’t do a better job of directing people to areas within seeing/hearing distance. The rally itself was pretty good- I got a big kick out of the NPR joke and my favorite quote from Jon was”if we amplify everything, we hear nothing”

  • Metro awful. Couldn’t see/hear. Poor, poor planning. Sanity restored with a good crowd and margaritas in front of a TV at Austin Grill. Phew.

    • I was looking for a TV (or even a place without a TV to get a bite to eat) and everything in Penn Quarter/Chinatown/Mt. Vernon Square, etc. was overflowing with people. We finally gave up and took a cab out to VA where sanity was restored.

  • Got to the metro at 11:30 and got to the rally at 12:30. Archives/Penn Quarter was closed for some reason, so I had to exit at L’Enfant with everyone else. Could not get anywhere near anything. Would not have even known there were Jumotrons had I not read about it later! Still had fun. Weather could not have been better.

  • We were literally stuck in the middle for 2 hours on 7th street exit. At one point I lifted my feet up and was still standing because bodies were holding me up. Great feeling and vibe and all unless you have health problems. You couldn’t get to an ambulance if you tried. As I was crushed with everyone else I saw babies in strollers and babies carry bags and thought what were you thinking? Get them outta here NOW! Poor planning of this event on their part. I knew I should stayed at Capitol Lounge and watched it on their big screen tv with my do-it-yourself bloody mary bar.

  • NPR just reported that Metro says it broke the all time record for ridership (on a weekend I think) with 800,000 riders! It beat 780,000 from a Staturday rally about 20 years ago vs. desert storm 1st war in Iraq!

  • Waited 90 minutes for a train on the Red Line before giving up. Metro was a complete failure. After reading about everyone’s experiences on here, I’m kind of glad I just walked back home and watched it on TV.

    It’s amazing how Metro handled about 10x as many people going to the inauguration without too much trouble, but this thing on Saturday was a total clusterf**k.

  • I went down with 3 other people who came into town – I live at 12th & Mass Ave so we were able to walk easily. Had 2 additional friends come in from DE Saturday morning – they drove to New Carrolton and took Metro in from there. We never met up with them during the rally because cell service was null, but we did meet after.

    I thought this rally was amazing. I had low expectations only because I had such high ones for the inauguration (I never made it past 12th & E, ended up watching on CNN). We went down at 11:30, got a spot on the mall between 6th & 7th, couldn’t see a jumbotron, but could hear pretty well. Amazed at how quiet people were – it really was sane. This rally restored one thing for me; it restored the belief that our entire country is not comprised solely of right-wing extremists or left-wing nut jobs. There is a large, albeit not so vocal, group of people who are satisfied to just *be*.

    I feel strange not really having to get out and vote tomorrow – our important vote already happened. Wish I had a voice.

    • clarification: I AM voting tomorrow

    • “This rally restored one thing for me; it restored the belief that our entire country is not comprised solely of right-wing extremists or left-wing nut jobs. There is a large, albeit not so vocal, group of people who are satisfied to just *be*.”


  • I went and managed to get a good spot (arrived at noon after walking over from Capitol Hill where my husband dropped me off) – guess that driving was the way to go after reading all the bad metro experiences. We had a good spot near Air & Space in the middle of the mall and could see & hear the jumbotron – I think makes us luckier than about 2/3 of the people who went. Still, it was scary crowded and really uncomfortable leaving after – my heart was pounding thinking people where going to start shoving. It was so quiet leaving you could hear a pin drop because I think a lot of people were really nervous. I really wish they had added more jumbotrons and spread this further down the mall. Were they really surprised at how many people showed up? They should have known…

  • I had two friends in from Ottawa for the rally, so we were bound to have a good time no matter what. We started walking down there from the Hill at 10:30 or so, and entered the rally from behind the stage. After that, we got caught in a giant swarm of people, so we headed north to Constitution to get some breathing room while we walked up to 10th and then went back to the Mall. We were supposed to be meeting with someone arriving by Metro at L’enfant (didn’t catch up with him until after the rally) so we headed to the south side of the Mall, and spent most of the rally near the Air & Space Museum.

    It was fun, but I didn’t love Stewart’s speech at the end. I was really just there to laugh and be entertained and am not especially interested in the politics or opinions of entertainers – even if I agree with the sentiment – so I was just bored and kind of irritated by it. But, it’s his event – and I got to have fun and laugh for most of it, and he can do what he wants. I would have liked a little acknowledgment that a city comprised of 600,000 disenfranchised people was hosting him, but didn’t even get a “Thank you, DC!” out of it. Donating the proceeds to the Trust for the National Mall was awesome and all, but that’s really a Federal thing and has very little to do with the DC I care about.

    But, that’s just a little whining about an overall great event and fun day that I enjoyed despite not seeing any of it, and hearing only 75% or so!

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