Occupy THIS, Pal
by, November 15th, 2011 at 11:07 PM (3408 Views)
For a couple months I've been watching, fascinated, as hundreds of, um, occupiers jammed their tents and cardboard shacks into skinny Zuccoti Park, a new New York landmark that future generations will visit and ask the same question that we all ask ourselves today, which is WTF???
Why did Bloomberg wait so long to put an end to it?? TWO MONTHS of this absurd angst?? WTF is THAT all about, Mike??
Why did the cops patiently bide their time, and what wimpy decisions led Brookfield Properties to meekly allow the peasants to pitch tents on their nice piece of (private) property-- for 2 freaking months??
And shouldn't they be calling themselves "Occupy Liberty Street"??
Wall Street is a block over, people.
I know that park well, having last been there in '07, strolling through the benches and trees eating streetcart hot dogs with my daughter on a pretty summer's day. It wasn't always called Zuccoti Park, I told her as we munched and walked.
Many years ago, when it was known as Liberty Plaza, my friends and I would squirm into the hole in Noguchi's red Cube in front of Marine Midland and others would spin the thing around on its base for us until someone either flew out the hole or barfed. It would take a few people to get it started and it sounded like a boxcar on a bad piece of track as it began to rotate, but then it would speed up and begin to hum. The view out of the red hole was a dizzy, spinning parallax of stacked towers, a lot of brand new additions to the Financial District's skyline. Trippy, especially at night or right after consuming certain Mexican agricultural products.
The late '60s/ early '70s saw a construction boom in the area, with a cluster of new skyscrapers jutting up around the little block-long park. I worked near there for 5 years ( at Barclay and West Street) and watched the changes as I ate my bag lunch in the little park. There were always a few tall buildings going up. There was Marine Midland, the new Chase Tower, US Steel's new hulk already rusting away at the corner and the nearly-finished Trade Center Towers down the block. A lot of new skyscrapers were being built all over the area.
Later, a LOT of falling debris from a couple of the taller ones destroyed the park, and a few of the nearby highrises got damaged. I went past it in '02 and '03, and it was fenced off and full of junk, in the process of being rebuilt and renamed. I thought that the park's owners did a fine job rebuilding it.
It is a legitimate piece of my past, and after a month or so of watching this senseless occupation on the news I began to grow territorial, resenting the way these people were treating the place. WTF is actually going on there, I would ask my friends. I got wild guesses, zero answers, so I stopped asking and I waited for Bloomberg or someone to do something...
Initially, the "Occupy" crowd seemed to me to be a flash mob, united and directed by instant broadband, students and the underemployed out to bait the wealthy and the City into doing something stupid by performing some advanced street theatre, but in a few weeks time I started to view them as latter-day Yippies, similar in ways to the humorously anarchistic band of '60s street people, sometimes led by Abbie Hoffman, who would stage absurd demonstrations to bring focus on their cause--an in-yer-face anti-war thing. I liked the Yippies, despite the societal suicide they tried to sell. They were funny. The "Occupy" people are not.
The Yippies had a cause, actually several --things like end the war, legalize pot, kiss my ass, free Eldridge Cleaver-- stuff you could immediately understand, but even after a couple months the "Occupy" guys STILL did not show their hand or clarify their reasons for being, except for the ass-kiss part.
I get it that they are supremely dissatisfied with the rich, the banks, the economy, hell, the freaking SYSTEM. It all sounds oddly familiar, like muffled drumbeats just over the hill, lightly resembling the numerous demonstrations of my youth that pockmarked the '60s.
Difference is, in the Olden Days, the cops would quickly break up a group like this and send them back to their dorms or their slums, busted, bloodied and convinced that, whatever the cause, they would not do THAT again. They never went on for months, no matter how strong the cause. Remember the Columbia occupation, Chicago in 1968, or the dozens of sit-ins about civil rights or the draft???
Good causes all, and they all lasted a few days at most.
What cause do they want to cloak themselves in, these "Occupiers" and why have they kept us all guessing for the last 60 days???
They've formed refugee-like camps, right in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods on the Planet and began living on the street. Maybe that is their ideological cause, to have the inalienable right to live on the same streets--in any fashion they should choose-- where the wealthy make their money. It's curious that the Constitution doesn't address that.
It was a month into it that I began to realize what a bonanza these people will be for New York's army of the homeless. By just trudging downtown, all those hapless folks who sleep in the bushes on the West Side and the doorways of the Village can con their way into the Occupy camp, bum some food, maybe get a warm tent to stay in, you know, move on up as they exercise their First Amendment rights.
WTF do all these desperate, angry protesters, who seem to have no real organization, chain of command or visible leadership actually want? No one knows.
But they ought to get out of Zuccoti. That has been proven.
I wonder if you can still spin the Noguchi Cube???
Maybe that's why they are there.