A quiet, calm afternoon at City Hall Park. Suddenly, without warning, a horde of … are they men? are they women? performance artists? political activists? monks? … comes running around the corner, heading up Park Row towards Broadway. They are all dressed in red robes. Or, perhaps in … red dresses?
I jump up to get a closer look. Yes, those are definitely dresses, all kinds of bright red dresses. For moment, my view is blocked by traffic. Three more red-clad runners appear. They stand on a traffic island, waving, screaming and drawing chalk symbols on the pavement.
Seemingly in response to the shouting and waving, the first group of runners in red dresses turns around and comes roaring back, rounding a corner, startling drivers and pedestrians and hurrying into a dark lane at the edge of Manhattan Island. I run after them and snap a few photos.
Later, when I get to a computer, I google “red dress” and learn about a worldwide (but previously unknown to me) subculture called the Hash House Harriers that dates back to a running group founded in Kuala Lumpur in the 1930s. What I’d witnessed was announced on the local chapter’s Web site as the:
Red Dress R*n 2005
Trail start will be 3:00 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10th at The Patriot, 110 Chambers St,, off Church. There will be a 2:00 p.m. celebrity makeover hour preceding the start of trail.