A Great Big City

March 26 in History: Central Park "Be-In" on Easter Sunday in Sheep Meadow

1967 Central Park Be-In
1967 Central Park Be-In via Psycles of Eidolon on Youtube

One of the first hippie "be-ins" of the '60s came to Central Park on March 26, 1967.

As many as 10,000 people gathered for the festival-like celebration, including hippies, families, and neighborhood residents wandering in to investigate the event.

Film footage from the day shows a peaceful, playful atmosphere with many types of people lounging on the Sheep Meadow, carrying balloons, and watching several performers. Looking more like a circus performance than a protest, the be-in was focused on fun and had no political overtones.

From a 1967 Village Voice article on the event:

The costumes ranged from Easter Parade hats and morning suits to high mod gear to psychedelic robes. Many people painted their faces in wild designs and colors ranging from chalk white to glowing lavender. They often included a dot, a tiny mirror, or a defraction disk pasted on the forehead. One man was dressed in a suit of long, shaggy strips of paper. Another person wore a jacket covered with buttons, all upside down. "This isn't a day for slogans," he explained.

As the day came to a close, the small group of police watching over the event moved in to break up the last revelers gathered on a hill, but the tense showdown resulted in police backing down to observe them from a distance and the attendees dispersing shortly after sunset.

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