Strike gains supporters in N.Y.


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NEW YORK -- The writers strike returned to Manhattan on Wednesday, with honks from passers-by on the West Side Highway showing support in their third day of picketing.

The lines went up Wednesday at Chelsea Piers on Manhattan's West Side between 11th Avenue and the Hudson River. At least 200 writers and supporters joined the picket lines that were put up near the studios where NBC's "Law & Order" is filmed.

While there isn't the foot traffic of Rockefeller Center, the guild's first target in New York, Chelsea Piers was better attended than Tuesday's location of Silvercup Studios in Queens.

"We're back in Manhattan and as a result we have more people," WGA East president Michael Winship said.

The WGAE was planning to roll out the guns as the strike wound down its Week 1. The WGAE heralded that a number of New York-based actors including Susan Sarandon, Meg Ryan, David Hyde Pierce and writer Nora Ephron would join the picket line today at the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle.

Others, including the casts of "Law & Order: SVU" and "Saturday Night Live," also were expected to show their support, the guild said.

On Wednesday afternoon, half of the picketers marched in front of Chelsea Piers' Sky Rink building, blowing whistles and beating drums. The other half pressed up against one another on the 11th Avenue median, garnering cheers and honks. Several picketers, including "SNL" cast member Seth Meyers, went for their second tour of duty. Others who showed support Wednesday included Sam Waterston and Richard Belzer.

"Even truck drivers. You wouldn't think they would support writers," said Tim Harrod, who has written for "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" and "Late Show With David Letterman."

WGAE assistant executive director Ann Toback said the continual support shows that the strikers are in it for the long haul.

"It means a huge amount to us to have the industry support because we know support is critical for us to move forward," Toback said. "It brought home the meaning of being on strike and standing in front of a work site."

Paul J. Gough contributed to this report.