Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Well Of Course I Went Downtown to Visit

 After a long day working in my studio, I decided to walk downtown and check out what, if anything, was going on in Liberty/ Zuccotti Park on the first anniversary of Occupy.

These are all my pictures taken with my trusty little digital camera.  It was a beautiful evening yesterday with just about perfect weather.

Center Street with the old Police Headquarters.  Where Theodore Roosevelt once worked as police commissioner is now ultra-high end luxury condos for celebrities and international plutocrats.

The San Genaro Festival was going on in Little Italy.

Foley Square, usually full of lawyers during the day, was empty in the evening.

I followed the regular streams of police vehicles down Broadway, always traveling with sirens blaring and lights flashing, down to Zuccotti/ Liberty Park to see the last night of the Occupy protests.  There were so many cops around including police helicopters that I thought the Soviets were invading.

When I arrived, it was like old times.  Lots of people in the park; lots of small groups like this one having intense conversations.  The mood was earnest, but happy.  For many of these folks, it was a reunion.  I saw lots of hugs of recognition.  Kids in their early 20s acted like 60 year olds at a high school class reunion seeing old friends after decades.  And yet, it's only been a year.

The speakers returned to their old platform next to the diSuvero sculpture.  The human microphone was back.

A German Expressionist Lady Liberty pleads on behalf of Bradley Manning.

My favorite sign of the evening.  Someone reads Eschaton.

The Guy Fawkes masks were everywhere once again.

And the drum circle was back and louder and more enthusiastic than ever.

Lots of remarkably media and tech savy folks at this event, just as a year ago.

And one last look at the speeches before I left for home.

This was definitely a much smaller crowd than last year, and it seemed that a lot of these folks were veterans coming back for a reunion.
People complained now as they did then about all the hippies, eccentrics, and disruption, but I think the Occupy protests were the happiest events this park ever saw.  People then, and people yesterday, were happy to be there and to find each other.

I wish I could say that I was optimistic about where all this will end up.  It was a great time for like minded, and even not so like minded people, to find each other.  Certainly events like this are desirable and necessary.  But I wonder if they are enough to build a sustainable and effective force for a long hard struggle ahead for changes in policy, let alone for the changes in the culture of politics and economics that Occupy represented in its beginnings.

1 comment:

Ciss B said...

Thanks for the pictures and the thoughts that remind all of us there are still many who are not finding work and are in need.