Pillow Battle Royale

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There were feathers in the air as far as four blocks from Union Square yesterday, a delicate indicator of the third annual all-city pillow battle royale. There was more floating down nearer to the action, and piles of the stuff around the feet of the combatants. Blinking constantly to keep safe from the pointy end of the feathers, a mass of children, parents and whimsical hipsters slapped their bedding back and forth for hours in a messy act of gentle social disturbance.

Announced via Facebook, the attendance was just short of overwhelming. This reporter caught a thrown pillow in the face, a not-unwelcome violation of the ground-rules, which had been laid out to protect the gang of photographers and cameramen ringing the melee. It’s fun to hit strangers in the face, so the massive crowd was not surprising. Organized by public performance group Newmindspace, who also play capture the flag in parks and have free parties on subway cars, the fight was synchronized with pillow-pummelings around the world, from Hong Kong to scenic Huntsville, Alabama. 

Piggy-backing on the crowd were various protestors and small demonstrations, from an elaborate but unclear posterboard presentation on Israel and Palestine to a small rally for the District Attorney campaign of Harvey Dent, a fictional character campaigning to clean up the streets of Gotham City. People hired by the Warners’ PR chanted “We want Harvey Dent!” and gave out stickers. Annoyed by the intrusion of capitalism into their harmless fun, a group of alternative young teens—a demographic well represented at the fight—murmered something about rushing the fake rally and stealing their signs. They waded through the crowd, were distracted by some shirtless men locked in pillow-combat, and satisfied their rebelliousness by shouting “Shut up!” It was a classic piece of high-school bravado gone soft, and more than any of the costumes or war paint worn by the fighters, it suited the event perfectly. 


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  1. Nina Bell!!!  

    Nina Bell!!! get ready for the pillow fight in front of Butler at midnight before the monday of finals! It's the newest and best of Columbia traditions! and started by that stately and beautiful englishwoman...Nina Bell!

  2. well  

    we could just use our fists instead

  3. c'09

    bwog can't even find columbia students to cover this stuff anymore?? goodness!

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