From Angry Protest to Solemn Commemoration

As a rainy World AIDS Day opened at the Brooklyn Public Library in Grand Army Plaza, several dozen demonstrators affiliated with Housing Works, some of them in bagel costumes, others holding up bagel protest signs, turned out to protest a bagel breakfast Mayor Michael Bloomberg hosted for AIDS service organization leaders inside.

The “bagel” protesters called for a “schmear” campaign against the mayor, highlighting — among other issues Housing Works faults him for — Bloomberg’s successful lobbying to convince Governor David Paterson to veto a measure that would have limited rents of people with AIDS receiving public assistance and living in private housing to 30 percent of their incomes.

Charles King, the Housing Works president, who was arrested along with eight others in the protest, said, “We bagels refuse to be implicated in the mayor’s World AIDS Day hypocrisy.”

Bloomberg chose the Brooklyn library for the event to highlight a new city initiative to test up to half a million residents of the borough.

In the evening, amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, hosted a “Light For Rights” event at Washington Square Park. On hand to help illuminate the arch in honor of World AIDS Day were Liza Minnelli (pictured alone), and amfAR chair Kenneth Cole, Carson Kressley, Tyson Beckford, Stockard Channing, and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.