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