NEW YORK CITY — An estimated 400,000 people packed the streets of Manhattan on Saturday to march in solidarity following President Donald Trump's inauguration, city officials said.
Organizers had been expecting about 100,000.
The Women's March on NYC had to stagger start times alphabetically by the marchers' last names and get more than 15 permits from the NYPD in order to accommodate all of those who signed up to participate, organizers said.
Official count on today's #womensmarchnyc: in excess of 400,000.— Eric Phillips (@EricFPhillips) January 22, 2017
A rally began at 10:45 a.m. at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near Second Avenue and 48th Street, before a sea of people began to flow down Second Avenue to 42nd Street and west to Fifth Avenue before heading north towards Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue at 56th Street.
Police stopped protesters from actually reaching the president's New York residence, with the street blocked just south of it at East 55th Street and crowds being dispersed west.
"What's at stake is everything you believe in," Whoopi Goldberg told the gathered before the marchers started the procession shortly after noon.
"Sex and the City" star Cynthia Nixon and British actress Helen Mirren also spoke.
"Today, I am a New Yorker," Mirren told the cheering crowd.
"The turnout is extraordinary," said 88-year-old Helen Evarts, a lifelong resident of the Upper East Side.
"I've lived here all my life. I protested against the Vietnam War and it was nothing like this."
"It's so important that we stand up for civil rights, for women's rights, for disability rights," said Edisa Weeks, 50, a dance teacher at Queens College.
"We're putting Trump on call. ... We are watching you."
The atmosphere was jovial, with a lot of families bringing their children.
Cherie Ronayne, a nursing student, drove to New York on Friday night from her home in Wooster, Massachusetts, to march in her first ever protest.
"All I'm doing is sitting at home harrumphing at the TV," she said. "I felt like I needed to be with people who were like-minded.
"I'm looking for the unity and the solidarity."
Many of those in attendance were marching for their first time, including 73-year-old Joan Woklenberg.
"I have never been to a rally in my life but I feel very strongly in favor of women's rights. There are so many issues," said Woklenberg, a bookkeeper for a law firm in New Jersey who carried a sign that read: "Our daughters will break your glass ceiling."
Her sister-in-law, Rosemary O'Hanlon, 75, of Connecticut, called Trump's inauguration "depressing."
She said she fears Trump's "tions are going to devastate what we fought for."
Merle Robine, of the Upper West Side, held a sign saying, "Women's rights are human rights."
"We all have to get out there and say something and say 'no' and protect each other," she said.
Others led chants urging Trump to "grow up."
On Saturday evening a spokesman for the New York City mayor's office tweeted the official crowd estimate for the event was "in excess of 400,000." An official NYPD Twitter account tweeted out a gallery of officers "ensuring a safe day for everyone."
New York City's march was one of many held across the world after Trump's inauguration Friday, including one in Washington D.C. where the newly elected president was beginning his first full day in office.
Organizers upped their turnout expectations for that event from 200,000 to half a million Saturday, the Associated Press reported.