Outside the Trump Trial: Sock Puppets, Sex Pills and Smutty Balloons

The trial of former President Donald J. Trump has drawn the eyes of the world to the dim hallways and dingy courtrooms inside the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse. Outside is New York at its most colorful.

Gawkers, demonstrators, politicians and hustlers gather in Collect Pond Park, a square plot of cement and trees across Centre Street from the courthouse’s front doors.

Although the crowds have been smaller than the police prepared for, each day has featured someone creating a spectacle. There have been arrests and a shocking self-immolation. Republican officials have recently used the park to praise the defendant at news conferences.

Protesters for and against the former president have appeared, but their numbers have been negligible.Credit…Maansi Srivastava/The New York Times

Here are voices of some characters who have traveled from near and far to see and be seen.

The Puppet Masters

As an antidote to the intensity inside the courtroom, amateur puppeteers turned up with doppelgängers of the defendant early on the morning of May 9.

As she stood in line waiting to attend the court proceedings, Rose Brennan, 63, of Bernardsville, N.J., had her left hand inside Donald J. Puppet, an orange athletic sock with button eyes and yellow yarn hair.

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