On Sunday, 40,000 mostly Hasidic Jewish men in black hats and black suits gathered at Citi Field for a series of speeches concerning the corrupting influence of the Internet. The talks were broadcast to the JumboTron, betwixt the oversized bottles of Cholula censored with a white cloth over the label, which shows a woman.
The 7 train from Grand Central had become packed with men in black, all in a fine mood, before we poured out at the Mets-Willets Point train station like kids on a field trip. Now there were all kinds of ultra-Orthodox Jewish men in the stadium: fat, skinny, young, old, short, tall, with glasses, without beards, wearing watches, smoking cigarettes, talking on cellphones. “Hats off! Hats off!” the ticket-takers barked as the throng of yidden crowded around the entrance to left field. Jewish Reporter, one of the few media outlets approved by the organizers, said on Twitter that it was one of the biggest crowds the stadium had ever seen.
Yes, the stadium was full of men, and the women’s bathrooms were reportedly locked. Yet there were at least three females present: a ticket-taker, an usher, and me, in a pair of $15 Payless loafers, my brother’s dress clothes, and a donated kippah. Oh, and the white duct tape around my chest, G.I. Jane style.
I tested my disguise at Duane Reade and the 6 train and was relieved to see I wasn’t getting any longer-than-usual stares; but it wasn’t until the first Hasid asked me for directions that I breathed a sigh of relief. Or would have, if the duct tape weren’t so tight.