I eat pizza across the street from the Occupy Wall Street protests maybe three times a week. With the exception of staring at some people drumming once or twice, I’ve never paid it much attention. Now that it’s grown significantly I figured I should stop and take a look around.
To start with, the weather today has been terrible. All morning it was misting rain in that way that makes you either feel stupid for forgetting an umbrella or stupid for using it. It finally let up just before I started walking towards Liberty Plaza during lunch. Before I got there I passed by Wall Street.
… which is being occupied by bored cops and metal barricades. Exciting!
This is Helmsley Plaza. It’s being occupied by falafel carts immediately off camera and outside the property line. The plaza takes extreme pains to note where this line is, within which they can kick you out without discretion. The crowd seen above turned out to be for Tom Morello from Rage Against The Machine on his way to perform an acoustic set.
I crossed the street to Liberty Plaza (or Zuccotti Park, depending on who you ask). Up until last week there were still construction workers in here eating their lunches or playing chess around scattered protestors. I recall hearing drums and seeing a topless woman* who had to be in her early 60’s and decided I didn’t need to have anything to do with this. Now though the park is roughly filled to capacity with protesters and every shade and variety of tarp imaginable.
There was some kind of recital of grievances and goals that were impossible to make out over traffic and the falafel cart generators. While watching this a woman changed into a Marie Antoinette costume in front of me.
The revolution will not be televised but it will occasionally get soggy and placed aside for recycling.
The sign on this lady’s cart stated how many articles of clothing she’s donated so far. Impressive.
To the right of this feed was a clothesline lined with sopping cargo pants.
A poor picture of the aforementioned drums I heard every day while eating pizza. Here lies a key problem with this protest: you can’t see anything past anyone standing around gawking.
Speaking of which, this is Charlys [sic] Pizza. Or Steve’s Pizza. Whatever. If you’re ever in NYC, don’t eat here. Oddly enough a tourist wearing a UM hat came in today and I almost warned him off. I only come here because it’s never crowded.
Overall I was truly impressed with the level of cooperation and politeness present in the protesters. This was a very large group of people who obviously all cared deeply about what they were doing.
To close: some random observations:
- Generally the cops are far more consumed with giving directions to tourists than doing anything else. An organizer was thanking a pair of them for their civility as I walked through.
- I have never seen more white women with dreads.
- I have never heard more people randomly yelling numbers (SIX MILLION someting something something)
- Cameras to protestors: 20 to 1. Which is good, frankly, although it’s funny how many Leicas I saw.
- Some dude in a stenciled t shirt gave me a fist bump and asked how I was doing while typing this into my phone, which was kind of cool.
- Where the hell do these people pee?
*Totally legal in NYC by the way.