Touring Occupied Wall Street

New York City — Today was my second visit to the “Occupy Wall Street” rally at Zuccotti Park. (Zuccotti Park is privately owned, which is why they seem able to stay there…a public park might require a license or permit I guess).

The park is down the block from the World Trade Center, and you can see some of the construction and some towers rising above. The entrance to the recently opened memorial park is around the corner, so that adds to the number of people in the area.

The street around the park is lined with fences, and NYPD officers are everywhere. They try to keep people moving along the sidewalk, and try to be nice. It is cramped…one has to contend with the fences, people, police, food and t-shirt vendors, and plenty of media. The streets around the park are full of TV vans and police vehicles.

Although people are demonstrating because they are angry about the economic and social situation, it was not an angry crowd. There are many people sharing their story, either with the signs they hold, or by speaking out to those who will listen. It is hard to take it all in as one has to move along, and be careful of all the others around. A bit claustrophobic for me today. There were cameras where one can speak “to the world”, and a video monitor showing Twitter and other social media updates.

In the park itself, I could see a first aid tent had been set up. There appeared to be locations where food and other items were being distributed. Sitting areas with people talking story. Music in several locations. It was the Jewish holiday “sukkot” this week, and there was even a “Pop up Sukkah”, (designed in New Jersey, no less) although I can’t confirm it is was being used for the stated purpose. I did not notice many other tents, and I wonder how it had been the night before during the heavy rain in the city, and what will the protesters do this coming winter.

Megaphones aren’t used, instead a “town crier” system is in place. “The groups leaving for Times Square…will be leaving in 5 to 10 minutes…people will be taking the train…” One person finishes, another person within ear shot repeats it, and so on as it makes its way around the park. (I saw one report estimating there were 20,000 in Times Square later in the day).

The restroom at the Burger King gets heavy use. One good thing about that corporate giant! A small pizza place next door seems to do well in feeding the protesters.

Getting good photos, because of the close quarters, was a bit of challenge, so I only caught a smattering of the signs. I saw a good one that I didn’t get a good photo of…”The CEO of Citibank makes more in one year than I will make in an entire career as a teacher…is that fair?” There were many more. I hope to make another visit, maybe with a different camera.

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Photos taken Saturday, October 15, 2011, Zuccotti Park, New York City.

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