The crush at Occupy Wall St.

We visited the Occupy Wall St. encampment Saturday afternoon, and found ourselves in a crush of (other) tourists.

At the northwest corner. Encampment just on the right.

Clearly, the Occupy tent village is a major attraction. No big surprise, really. I mean, we were there just to check it out, too. But the crush of sightseers, tour buses, families, vendors, shoppers and onlookers overwhelmed the little park.

The encampment itself is absolutely chock full of dome tents, shoulder to shoulder. You could take a walk through, but slowly and carefully so as not to step on someone’s stuff, or tip something or somebody over.  You really had to stay on the path, which varied from a few feet wide to almost nothing. I don’t know how the people get around between the tents. It’s really jammed. There was a bit of a line to get into the library. There were tables with pins and pamphlets, but not a lot of the occupiers themselves to be seen. The occupiers we did see seemed mostly to be in their sixties at least, or their 20s.

Stepping down into the encampment.

The park is a few steps down, so not only was there a mass of people seething along the surrounding sidewalks, the mass was literally looking down on the tents. (Though not with the perfect vantage point of the NYPD observation tower across the street.)

The crush on the sidewalk at the lower end of Zuccoti Park.

The park looks to me like not so much a “park” as a corporate plaza, tastefully sunk a little below street level in the middle of, well, a lot of towering corporate glass and steel. A nice shady place where people could get outside for lunch on a workday.

For weird and dramatic juxtapositions, the Occupiers could hardly have found a better location. It’s impossible to tell if there is any dirt or grass under there, but I suspect not. It doesn’t have that look: too much very nice stone. All the trees are the same – all in neat arrangements.

Right across the lane in the Brookfield Properties building there’s a Brooks Brothers with a gorgeous big American flag hanging in the window. Outside on the wide stone veranda, a cameraman was coaching a group of occupiers to get a good shot of a human megaphone in action.  They didn’t seem to have the juice right at the moment. I couldn’t blame them.

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4 Comments on “The crush at Occupy Wall St.”

  1. JDM says:

    What is it they want, again?

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  2. Paul says:

    How do they get the tent stakes in the “ground”? Do they use a drill?

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  3. michael coffey says:

    I went down to Zuccotti Park this morning–all cordoned off by police and the park empty. I didn’t realize it was filled with granite benches, as, on my previous visits, the encampments obscured the structure of the park itself. The sanitation department had just finished steam-cleaning everything. The protesters had moved to Foley square, Martha, and I ran up there as well. A very bedraggled looking outfit, mostly young and tattered, with a variety of speakers addressing the assembled, many of whom had resumed sleeping. Police were present, in groups of 10 or 12 at various points on the perimeter. One protester or at least attendee walked slowly in a trance smoking a big joint and waving it like a censer at the police, as if blessing them. They did not respond. From what i heard on WNYC, the engine of this protest has already relocated from Zuccotti because it had become too crowded to have effective general assemblies, and in fact have rented an office on lower Broadway. This stage of the protest may have made its point, run its course, and will be remembered as a stage in the development of a differently articulated message. Or it may be the beginning of the end. I hope not, as it seemed to be the only loud voice of dissent about the economic decline and imbalance in this country, the rest of which (the country) has taken it lying down.

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  4. Pete Klein says:

    You just gotta understand. American politicians love it when people protest in other countries. Here, we are not supposed to protest about anything other than taxation of the rich.

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