There was a time that I walked by Zuccotti Park, the epicenter of Occupy Wall Street, daily on my way to work. Not wanting to deal with the additional crowds of the express trains headed downtown from Grand Central and having a few minutes to spare, my commute consisted of taking the local 6 train downtown to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall, walking through City Hall Park, past my favorite fountain in all of NYC, and down Broadway to my office at 120 Broadway, exactly kitty corner to Zucotti Park, a full city block between Broadway and Church Street in lower Manhattan.
I have sat there at Zuccotti Park innumerable times on one of the many benches or stairs to eat my lunch, whether brought from home or purchased at a local deli or maybe even from one of the local street carts that was stationed there. The Park served as a refuge when needing to take a break from a hectic day or in passing between the WTC to Trinity Church and Wall Street on one of my walking tours for out-of-towners. I even remember the Park prior to its beautification and the installation of the thirty-foot, orange-red abstract erection on the Broadway side and the in-ground lighting. The Park I largely remember was much grittier. It was New York, a place where the working class, immigrant, tourist and businessman were forced to mingle. It was an equalizer.
From 2005 to 2008, Zuccotti Park was a staple of my weekly grind. For the past few months it has been the site of the 99% as they rally. And now I am in California, far from Zuccotti Park, but following the news daily. If the Occupy movement has achieved nothing else, the NYC Occupy crowd has managed to achieve the removal, for all intents and purposes, of a valuable public site at the heart of the financial district. And that, my friends, is something I cannot support.