They poured into the vast main concourse of Manhattan's Grand Central Station 3,000 strong, wearing their customary capes, gowns, feathers and beads. They tossed hot cross buns and firecrackers, and floated balloons up toward the celestial blue ceiling. They hummed the cosmic "Ommm," snake-danced to the tune of Have a Marijuana, and proudly unfurled a huge banner emblazoned with a lazy "Y."
The Yippies1968's version of the hippieswere celebrating spring. Hardly had the equinoctial orgy begun, when it turned as bleak as a midwinter blizzard. A dozen youths scaled the information booth, ripped off the clock hands, scribbled graffiti and defiantly passed around lighted marijuana "joints" in full view of the Tactical Patrol Force. The fuzz charged, billy clubs flailing, and arrested 61 demonstrators. Battered but unbowed, the celebrants coursed off to the Central Park Sheep Meadow to "yip up the sun."
Creeping Meatball. After a winter in which the hippie movement seemed so moribund that its own members staged mock burials in honor of its death, the Yippies have suddenly invested it with new life through their special kind of antic political protest. The term Yippie comes from Youth International Party, an amorphous amalgam of the alienated young that coalesced in Manhattan two months ago around a coterie of activist hippies, all in their late 20s and early 30s. "The YIP is a partylike the last word saysnot a political movement," argues the East Village's Abbie Hoffman, who last fall tried to levitate the Pentagon (TIME Oct. 27, 1967). Says Yippie Leader Ed Sanders, 28, of the Fugs rock group: "It's the politics of ecstasy."
Ecstasy begins with a platform certain to make any hippie yell yippie: an end to war and pay toilets, legalization of psychedelic drugs, free food, and a heart transplant for L.B.J. Also advocated: "juvenile exhibitionism"a favorite hippie habit most recently practiced by at least 50 young men and women from San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury, who stripped to the buff in Golden Gate Park before a crowd of ogling onlookers.
"Rise up and abandon the creeping meatball!" goes the rallying cry, and it has brought to the Yippie standard such underground gurus and goblins as Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg, Realist Editor Paul Krassner and Jerry Rubin, a key organizer of the Pentagon March. Hard-core Yippies may number as few as 400 nationwide, but Fug Sanders reckons that the total following may now have reached 250,000.
Festival of Life. "Our attitude is basically satirical," says another YIP leader, Keith Lampe, 36, in a rare Yippie understatement. Already Yippies have demonstrated their distaste for air pollution by invading the Manhattan offices of Con Ed to deposit black chrysanthemums with secretaries, hurl soot at executives and detonate smoke bombs. They parodied the police by staging their own mock predawn narcotics raid at the Stony Brook campus of the State University of New York. Next month Yippies from coast to coast are planning an Indian ghost dance* against American foreign policy.