Amid two weeks of impeachment hearings airing live, streaming online and dominating headlines, it’s been hard to miss what’s playing out in Washington. Yet on the streets and in the shops of Midtown, many New Yorkers remained intent on going about their days unaware.
“We’re too busy working. Ain’t got time for that,” says Boris Mikay, 29, a barber at the Park Ave. Barbershop on 40th Street.
Mikay and his brother, Mike, 31, say they don’t like to talk about political matters, especially at work, around the customers. “Politics is not something we care about,” Mikay said while carefully performing a trim.
Juliana Mora, 45, of Queens, at work in the Bryant Park Winter Village, says the relentless coverage of the impeachment of Donald Trump has caused her to stop engaging with the news altogether. “I’m not following it because I honestly don’t know what to follow,” she said. “There is so much misinformation and so much fake news. I don’t know what’s real anymore.”
Brandon Bowman, 25, of Queens, who works at a seasonal T-shirt stand in the park, said it’s been difficult for him to keep up. “I feel like it’s one of those things like where a friend gets you on a TV show, but it’s already on episode eight,” said Bowman. “How did we get to episode eight? I’m definitely interested in it, but not enough to see it on CNN every day when I get home.
Others said they’re too busy to get pulled in. “I’m not really into that stuff in general,” said Deena Rosenberg, 23. “I probably should know more about it but I’m in nursing school now also, so I feel like I’m just kind of concentrated on that.”
Tilly Evans-Krueger, 27, a professional dancer, says she has distanced herself for her mental well-being. ”I don’t like reading about it,” she said. “The more I can feed myself positivity and love and change…I think it’s better for the world.”
Not all New Yorkers are steering clear. They think it’s important to understand what the country is facing. Testimony has provided more evidence that Trump wanted Ukraine’s leaders to investigate potential Democratic rival Joe Biden in connection with his son Hunter’s business activities there—in order to get further U.S. military aid.
Jay Jones, a Greyhound bus driver, managed to stay abreast of developments on a work break this week. He scrolled through a CNN article while he picked up a coffee in the Port Authority Bus Terminal. “I’m keeping up with it,” he said. “I think they need to impeach him…I think that he’s guilty.”
Retired special ed teacher Evelyn Raymond, 75, who is watching, said she hopes the hearings unite a deeply divided Congress: “I’d like to see if I can actually believe in justice. I also want to see if people can actually discern the truth and go with the truth, even though their party says something else. But it doesn’t define our day. Life goes on.”
Terry Ross, 71, a jewelry designer, has been “watching whatever I can…I watched the Nixon impeachment. It wasn’t until the tapes were released that the Republicans came around. It was just a smoking gun they couldn’t deny. I don’t know if that will happen here, unless something else major comes out.”
The live presentation of the hearings is part of why John St. Croix, 29, an actor from Queens, thinks “it’s important to watch when you can. Because that’s the purest form of news, you know? There’s no commentator to interpret it for you.”
This story was reported by Megan Burney, Sarah Gabrielli, Jackie Harris, Violetta Nespolo, Isoke Samuel, Katherine Smith, and Erika Wheless.