We didn't plan on covering Donald Trump's arraignment on Tuesday. Then, we lucked into an amazing spot on the press line outside of the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse—and decided to get in on the action.
Hell Gate's very own Max Rivlin-Nadler was first on the scene and second on line in what became a 30-hour, all-hands-on-deck chase for our own slice of one of the biggest stories we've ever seen, from the standpoint of news. In the process, we yelled at George Santos and watched Marjorie Taylor Greene get shut down by Congressman Jamaal Bowman, City Councilmembers Sandy Nurse and Chi Ossé, and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. We asked tourists if they gave a shit about Trump's legal debacle—they didn't!—and spent a day in court watching as the city's criminal court system marred the lives of non-celebrity New Yorkers.
And we waited—and waited—on line all night long, battling petty bureaucracy and playing cards with our fellow line-sitters: harried stringers and dedicated TaskRabbitters hired by better-financed outlets. What did all of this add up to? A front-row seat to Trump's arraignment itself. (Yes, his hair looked crazy under the weird courtroom lighting. No, he wasn't visibly upset.)
This episode of the Hell Gate Podcast is about looking beyond the obvious story to find out how "history" touches the lives of normal people who live through it (and cover it) every day.
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Katie Way is a writer-editor at Hell Gate. Previously, she was a senior staff writer at VICE. Her work has also appeared in The Nation, Study Hall, Lux Magazine, and MEL. She loves talking to strangers.