Scenes from the New York City Pillow Fight in Union Square

Ali Kenefick

It takes a concerted effort for us to get anything done on Saturdays before 2 p.m. unless it means keeping our pajamas on. Fortunately, the sixth annual New York City Pillow Fight met the criteria perfectly, starting at 3 p.m. and even allotted time for a leisurely stroll through the Union Square greenmarket to pick up a still-gooey cinnamon roll and a hot coffee before all hell broke loose.

Most of the participants for the flash-mob event celebrating "International Pillow Fight Day"were students from the nearby New School and NYU bodies and seemingly took the "fight" portion of the event to heart -- you know things are going to get crazy when you start spotting people smothered in battle-paint and carrying pillows decorated like war banners. The southern section of the park was caged off, and awash with NYC police officers ready for anything. The rules were minimal: don't knock anyone with glasses, and don't knock anyone with a camera. In a swarm of nearly 200 endorphin-surged youth, however, anything can happen -- our camera lens was quickly felled by a rouge pillow and left us scrambling for impromptu photos on our smart phones.

In no time, the park was an undulating swarm of people whirling pillows and decapitated teddy bears and the air was thick with feathers and foam. Pillows with the words "FREE HUGS!" collided with others reading "WAKE UP!" This went on for a good couple of hours before police started clearing the park, and, despite the combative nature of the event, everyone left in good spirits, feeling good about leaving their pillows for collection by Pillows for Puppies, and sustaining nothing more than a few bangs and bruises.             

Subscribe to Get More