Zuccotti Park Cleanup Called Off, Occupy Wall Street Protesters Remain

The owners of the New York City park where the Occupy Wall Street protesters camped out for a month have called off a scheduled powerwashing that would have forced a showdown between the movement and the NYPD.

The park is privately owned by Brookfield Office Properties but in an agreement with the city it’s open to the public 24 hours a day. On Wednesday, the landlords sent a letter to the NYPD asking for their assistance in clearing the park so that it may be cleaned, and cited concerns about the health and safety of the protesters, nearby residents, and the park itself.

Protesters spent Thursday mopping down and brooming the park. They removed mattresses, tarps and other signs of encampment. Under rules the park added after the protests began, camping is not allowed.

In a statement published by the New York Times, New York Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway said, “Late last night, we received notice from the owners of Zuccotti Park — Brookfield Properties — that they are postponing their scheduled cleaning of the park, and for the time being withdrawing their request from earlier in the week for police assistance during their cleaning operation.”

“Brookfield believes they can work out an arrangement with the protesters that will ensure the park remains clean, safe, available for public use and that the situation is respectful of residents and businesses downtown, and we will continue to monitor the situation.”

Shortly thereafter, jubilant protesters later leaped over police barriers and marched on Wall Street, reports the New York Post.

Several arrests were made and riot police amassed at Exchange Place with batons and plastic handcuffs, but they ended up getting into their vans and driving away, according to live Twitter updates by CNBC’s Jay Carney who is on the ground. @marikatogo reports that work ID’s are now being required to walk down Wall Street itself.

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  1. agent 47 says:

    Oh good.

    • agent 47 says:

      “‘We tell them, ‘Hey the park is clean, there’s no need for you to be here,” she said. ‘If they insist on coming in, we will continue to occupy the space.’

      Brown said he lost his job at McDonald’s a month ago. He spent the past week and a half sleeping at the park and protesting, but he didn’t want the end to be ugly.”

      How does one lose their job at McDonalds anyway unless they were doing a bad job? Besides, couldn’t you just walk next door and apply at Taco Bell?

      • Smiley Massacre says:

        Honestly, it’s not too hard to get fired, depending on what your doing. During my time at the McDonald’s I used to work at there were quite a few people that were let go, ranging from not showing up to work to stealing hash brown sleeves that had the Monopoly stickers on them, and once someone got fired for pushing his girlfriend (who also worked there) into the ice cream machine.

        • agent 47 says:

          Right, but they make it sound like losing his job prompted him to fight against the 1% when he was probably just fired for eating cookie dough in the walk-in freezer.

        • Murph1908 says:

          However, it’s pretty hard to get fired if you show up to work, don’t steal, and don’t assault your co-workers.

          • Smiley Massacre says:

            Yeah, but some people just don’t want to admit that it’s their fault sometimes if they got fired for a stupid reason.

        • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

          Remember, also, that the vast majority of jobs in the USA are ‘at-will’, meaning you can be fired at any time for any reason, and that includes for no reason. He could have been fired because the owner of the franchise was in a poopy mood that morning.

          • Smiley Massacre says:

            And that’s what happened when I worked at NAPA Auto Parts. One of the weekend shift guys got shitcanned when he came in one morning because the boss said he reeked of alcohol, where we smelled nothing on him. The boss never liked the guy, and nobody ever liked the boss. He later got fired for his attitude.

        • StarKillerX says:

          So “it’s not too hard to get fired”, all you have to do is not show up, steal or be abusive to other employees?

          Seems to me these are all valid reasons no matter where you are working and not picky little issues a company jumped on just to ditch someone.

      • deathbecomesme says:

        I have a friend that worked at BK and he got fired for “putting too many pickles on burgers” after being warned about it. 5 was too many, 4 or under is what they wanted. They suspected he was a pot head and tried to get him fired with a “randon test” but when he passed that a few times they fired him for the above reason. Granted they didn’t need a reason to fire him in Texas they tried to keep him from getting unemployment with that reason. Hes filing for it anyway. He worked there for a year btw.

        • agent 47 says:

          Ok, but he can’t just walk down the block and land a spot at Wendy’s?

          • deathbecomesme says:

            You would think it would be that easy but it’s not. Rather than having the bottom of the barrel aplicants like they did before (high school students/felons/people who didnt graduate) they have all kinds and basically have their pick. They don’t want to hire someone that just got let go from another fast food place when they can have their pick from 40+ other applicants

          • aloria says:

            Considering everyone who can’t find work in their normal fields are now also applying to fast food places out of desperation, it’s not as easy as you’d think.

    • MeowMaximus says:

      A pity they backed down. I would have loved to see them turn the fire hoses on these idiots.

  2. Mr_D says:

    I was secretly hoping for some heavy-handed and thuggish behavior that would spur more into action. No such luck, it seems.

    • eccsame says:

      You mean thuggish behavior like not leaving a private area after you’ve been asked to leave by the owners, thereby starting a confrontation with the NYPD who are, after all, blue collar workers that make up part of the 99% your movement says they represent?

      Yeah, that would have been pretty awesome.

      • headhot says:

        Brookfield did not provide the park to the city out of the kindness of their heart. It was no doubt part of a deal to be allowed to develop the surrounding area. If its a public park, the public can use it.

        • DarthCoven says:

          Brookfield didn’t provide the park. US Steel did back when 1 Liberty Plaza (formerly known as the “US Steel Building”) was built. They wanted to build a much taller building than was allowed by zoning restrictions and had to cut a deal with the city. That deal included the creation of Liberty Park (now known as Zuccotti Park) as a space open to the public 24/7. Brookfield purchased the property along with the US Steel Building some years ago and along with it came the park and the mandate that it be publicly accessible around the clock. There is no curfew at Zuccotti like there is at all city owned and operated parks (some close at dusk, others later in the night) so #OWS got lucky when they chose it as their base of operations.

          • Jevia says:

            How do you know OWS didn’t know its history as you do and chose it for that reason?

            • DarthCoven says:

              From what I have read #OWS chose Zuccotti Park for its proximity to Wall Street. They had originally intended to occupy Wall Street itself (hence the name “Occupy Wall Street”) but were blocked by the NYPD. Zuccotti was the next best location. I do not know whether or not #OWS knew the loophole provided by the park’s private ownership.

            • Nobody can say "Teehee" with a straight face says:

              Because it wasn’t their original plan to go there. They wanted to go to some other plaza, but it was blocked off. So they went to the nearby Zucotti park.

        • KyBash says:

          They made it into a park open to the public so they could get numerous tax write-offs while waiting for the property value to skyrocket.

          • frank64 says:

            Scum.

            • alstein says:

              Glad to see you agree with the protestors opinions of the politicians who keeping handing this country over to the oligarchs.

          • atthec44 says:

            So, the protestors are willingly and knowingly taking advantage of the assets of the 1%.

            Hypocrites!

            • SOCIALISM MARXISM WELCOME TO OBAMA'S AMERICA *fart* says:

              Fighting fire with fire is an idiom that you may be familiar with!

              Or not, judging by the intelligence level of most of your posts!

              • atthec44 says:

                You question my intelligence because my opinions don’t align with your opinions?

                How liberal of you!

                • SOCIALISM MARXISM WELCOME TO OBAMA'S AMERICA *fart* says:

                  No, I question your intelligence because you say stupid things like calling protestors hypocrites for using a public park to protest in.

                  Ah, but it’s interesting that my disagreeing with you puts me opposite of your political spectrum. Projecting much?

                  • atthec44 says:

                    I think you’re confused about the differences between private property and a public park.

                    The protestors are using the assets of a corporation as the base camp for their protest against corporations having assets.

                    That is textbook hypocrisy.

          • DarthCoven says:

            This is not accurate. Please see my post below.

        • atthec44 says:

          You see, that’s the thing. It’s not a public park. It’s private property that the owners allow the public to use.

    • zibby says:

      Ya, maybe somebody could be seriously injured, that would be cool! Anything for whatever the cause is, I guess…

    • Nobody can say "Teehee" with a straight face says:

      It’s a pretty common tactic to try to incite police response to get yourself in the media as victims, so I was thinking it would occur too.

  3. mauispiderweb says:

    I guess Brookfield realized there was no way they were going to “clean up” the park. Back to the old drawing board!

  4. SkokieGuy says:

    “Brooming” the park? This became a word when? Was I sleeping when the announcement was made that the word “sweeping” was archaic and difficult for people to comprehend.

    Perhaps the brooming will be impactful during this historical event.

  5. rmorin says:

    Brookfield: “Hey we gotta clean up the park”
    Protesters: “We’ll do it so we don’t have to leave”
    Brookfield: “That just saved us big $$$, and bad PR”

    Regardless of which side of the fence you are on, this seems like a win for all parties right?

    • exit322 says:

      That was my interpretation.

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      This is kind of what I was thinking…

      Just because you’re a protester doesn’t mean you’re an asshole. (Doesn’t mean you’re -not- either, but I digress) The company wanted the park cleaned, the protesters wanted to stay, so protesters clean the park and everybody comes out ahead!

      Well, except maybe the people the park would have contracted to clean the park anyway…

      • Toffeemama is looking for a few good Otters says:

        I’m still interested to find out how the park will look once the protesters finally leave. Chances are they won’t bother picking up after themselves.

        • mollyflogs says:

          Why do you think those are the chances? What evidence have you seen that these folks aren’t interested in cleaning up after themselves and maintaining the park?

          • Toffeemama is looking for a few good Otters says:

            Because throngs of people generally aren’t particularly clean. According to the article, they cleaned up “In a last-ditch bid to stay,” which is a completely different situation than if they were actually leaving. Like the protesters keep saying about themselves, these are just “regular people”, and regular people tend to be inconsiderate.

          • jebarringer says:

            I spent three years working in a public works dept for a mid-size college town (~50,000 people). Part of my duties were picking up barricades after public events (such as July 4 fireworks show, downtown parades, festivals, etc). Anytime there was a large crowd, the downtown streets would look like a disaster area – litter everywhere (of all types) and damage to trash cans, trees, structures, etc. So a PERSON can be responsible – but PEOPLE are definitely not.

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      I don’t see Brookfield being such a household name that they’d care about PR. Rather, they probably don’t want to side with The Man (TM) and have the protesters burn the park to ash.

      • DarthCoven says:

        Brookfield is a big name in the financial, real estate and construction industries. You’re right in that they’re not exactly a household name.

    • aloria says:

      Sweeping occasionally != daily powerwashing. Sure, it’s better than nothing, but god knows what kinds of funk is growing under all those tarps.

    • TasteyCat says:

      What I want to know is how these people have lived at the park for a month and only now when threatened decided to clean. In addition to the lack of sanitary conditions, it’s not like they have anything else to do. Wouldn’t hurt them to clean or perhaps even search for a job rather than camping out all day while collecting unemployment.

  6. Murph1908 says:

    My neice lives a block from Wall Street. These protesters are getting on the nerves of the residents of the area, most of which have no association to Wall Street except their address.

    • NarcolepticGirl says:

      Well, sometimes that’s the price you pay for freedom.

    • LanMan04 says:

      Maybe if your niece joined in, it would be over sooner rather than later.

      Sorry that a social and economic justice is getting “on her nerves”. How inconvenient for her.

      • RickN says:

        *snort*

        Maybe she just doesn’t like stepping over stoned hippies while she’s walking to work.

      • zibby says:

        I see these people, and I’d love to join in. Looks like a fun time, meeting new people (and hopefully sleeping with them, natch), hanging out, soaking up some attention, etc. Alas, work to be done, taxes to be paid, selfish family wants me to spend time with them…life sucks, I guess :(

      • StarKillerX says:

        Says the person uneffected by any of it.

      • aloria says:

        The people being there isn’t all that invasive, but the drumming and music at all hours of the night is what is annoying a lot of residents. People need to sleep, you know.

  7. falnfenix says:

    from a friend’s twitter post about an hour ago:
    SWAT just raced through Clinton Hill toward #OccupyWallStreet Makes me angry, scared, & sad. Be careful over there. #fb

    so…i wonder if they’re booting ‘em anyway.

  8. NarcolepticGirl says:

    wait, what? ” work ID’s are now being required to walk down Wall Street itself.”

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      i.e. you must have a piece of identification proving you are an employee of a business on Wall Street itself.

      “Papers, please.”

    • axhandler1 says:

      Yeah that part kind of threw me. So to walk down a public street in NY, you now must have identification on you, and must present that identification on demand? Seems pretty messed up.

      • sponica says:

        it’s not unprecedented…based on my memories of life in NYC during certain events like the Republican National Convention, certain streets were closed to the general public for security reasons. you either had to have a work ID or a proof of address indicating that you had valid business on the street…

        • LanMan04 says:

          for security reasons
          ———-
          As soon as you hear those words, you know fascism has arrived.

          • RickN says:

            Spoken like someone who as never seen real fascism.

            • MrEvil says:

              Oh, so we’re just supposed to take this lying down because it’s not REALLY Fascism, or we don’t know what real fascism is? Thanks for clearing that up.

              • rmorin says:

                No one said that, stop being so reactionary. Hyperbole doesn’t have a place in legitimate political discussion is the more important point you need to understand.

                Consider the statement “I disagree with Barack Obama’s proposed tax structure”. That’s a legitimate opinion to which to have a conversation around regardless of whether you agree or not. Now consider the statement “Barack Obama is a socialist!”. That is sensationalist crap to which people are not going to respect unless they have the exact same world view.

                This all came up because someone alluded to the situation in New York being “facist” which is the aforementioned sensationalized crap. You can say “I’m uncomfortable with putting restrictions in a situation like this”, but calling it fascism is hyperbole and does nothing to forward conversation or understanding. Saying that NYPD is acting “facist” right now makes you the same as the people who say “Barack Obama is a socialist”. Regardless of your beliefs always have meaningful conversations around issues or nothing gets solved.

                • DarthCoven says:

                  Hyperbole is destroying America!!!

                • Tombo says:

                  Fair enough. Unfortunately the megaphones that yell “SOCIALIST!!” tend to get much more of a following than TL;DR intellectually honest discussions these days. Sensationalism sells, intellectualism gets ignored quick. It doesn’t fit into 5 words or less.

            • axhandler1 says:

              Have you? Please elaborate.

          • sponica says:

            yeah…right. I don’t know about you, but when I lived in NYC I was perfectly comfortable with most of whatever NYPD did for security reasons. granted I never carried the bag of the day that resulted in a random bag check on the subway.

            although I understand the restriction around the RNC was annoying because they filtered all train traffic through ONE entrance…if my memory is correct

        • axhandler1 says:

          Right, and I could understand requiring ID to show you worked there if the president was speaking on Wall Street and they were setting up a security perimeter or something like that. The “security reasons” here seem to be “hey, we don’t want you protesters on Wall Street anymore, so we’re going to start requiring work IDs to be here.”

        • Rachacha says:

          I am not in NYC, nor have I really been following the protests, but I believe that NYPD is trying to keep the protesters on the sidewalk. This is likely disrupting pedestrian traffic, so they are allowing pedestrians who actually work (or live) on Wall street to walk in the street, however to get into this “secure” area, you need to present appropriate ID.

          I suspect that NYPD has also closed the street to vehicular traffic so they can get emergency vehicles through, and so they can establish and hold a defensive line in case the protests turn violent.

        • Southern says:

          Happens all the time with natural disasters too, like areas affected by wildfires, hurricanes, tornados, etc.. Neighborhoods will get sealed off, and when they do start allowing people to go back into the area, they only allow residents in during the first few days – so you have to prove you live there.

      • cyberpenguin says:

        “Seems pretty messed up”

        Especially if you were a tourist interested in the architecture of the area.

        So, I guess now if you’re not one of the 0.0001% that works on Wall Street plebes aren’t allowed to view the historic area.

  9. SagarikaLumos says:

    How about at least some respect for private property rights and allow the property owner to carry out some maintenance? It’ll take months and lots of money to put that place back together, and already everyone’s acting like it was some kind of crime to declare camping to be off limits. I promise the real 99% would be in unanimous agreement that they don’t want random people camping on their land.

    • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

      Not unanimous. If someone wanted to camp out in my yard as part of a protest that I agreed with, I’d probably let them so long as they didn’t do any damage to my property.

      • falnfenix says:

        you’d have damage simply from them being there for a stretch of time…unless you don’t consider mud pits to be “damage.”

        • NarcolepticGirl says:

          yeah, but have you seen the park? It doesn’t have grass or dirt.

          • Southern says:

            I don’t see how they can call it a “park”, honestly.. it’s only 33,000 square feet, which is just over half the size of a *football field* (57,600 square feet).

            • chizu says:

              There are tons of “pocket parks” (or neighbourhood parks) in New York City, given how there’s limited land in the area. They could also be called plazas, but just because it doesn’t have lawns and tons of vegetation, it doesn’t mean it’s not a “park”, probably a little different from the traditional sense of open fields and trees, but it’s still a park.

              • Southern says:

                Yeah, I can see calling them a “plaza” (that’s what we call ‘em in Houston, anyway), but parks kinda give the impression of acres and acres of land, trees, streams, benches, etc.. This is nothing more than a patch of concrete between 2 downtown streets. :-)

                You’re right though, for downtown Manhattan, space is at a premium, so every tree counts. :)

      • arcticJKL says:

        And if you didn’t agree?

        By the way ‘Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich’ would you please send ME the money you want to pay in taxes. I promise when I get rich I will give the amount that makes me rich to charity.

    • NarcolepticGirl says:

      The agreement when the owners originally “bought” the park is that It will and is a 24/7 public park.

      • jeffjohnvol says:

        So why are the NYPD allowed to evict homeless but not these people?

      • frank64 says:

        Even public parks are closed for cleaning. That it acts like a public park doesn’t mean it has to act different from a real public park, the protesters shouldn’t have more rights because it is not owned by the city.

    • mollyflogs says:

      Months and lots of money? No. No it won’t. This is Zuccotti Park: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6b/WTM_tony_0128.jpg

      It’s concrete and granite. No one is ripping out the trees, no one is breaking the concrete or granite. Sweep the park, hose it down, it’s clean.

    • intooblv says:

      Your comparison is misleading. You’re probably right, most people would likely have a problem with that, but most people don’t simultaneously say, “My land is open to public use at all hours of the day.”

      • atthec44 says:

        Open to public use at all hours of the day doesn’t mean the owners have to allow camping and sit idly by while their property is destroyed.

    • frank64 says:

      Property rights? I am not sure the protesters would understand the concept.

    • KitanaOR says:

      A FB friend said removing people from that park was against the Constitution. When I pointed out the Constitution said that private property should not be used for public use without proper compensation, her friend’s response was “hmmmm, a lot of private property has been taken by wall street banks without just compensation.” She then concluded that I was born rich and that I thought all the protesters were “lazy criminals that should just DIE already”.

      If you are for respecting private property, you are against this protest. Apparently.

      • Absinthe says:

        actually that private property is mandated for public use…It’s what allowed the original owners to bypass zoning laws in the area. The private owner cannot select who can use that property & for what purpose. It also will not take “months” to clean. It is a small space.

  10. jeffjohnvol says:

    Stinking hippies.

  11. atthec44 says:

    Dammit – I was hoping for tear-gas and fire hoses.

    • SOCIALISM MARXISM WELCOME TO OBAMA'S AMERICA *fart* says:

      Fascist

    • mollyflogs says:

      You were hoping that the police would tear gas thousands of peaceful protesters in the middle of NYC’s financial district? Really? That’s the kind of imagery you want to be associated with the United States?

      Oh my. The peasants are getting uppity. We can’t have that. Gas them all!

      • atthec44 says:

        If the police order the protestors to vacate private property at the request of the property owner and the protestors defiantly ignore a police order, they are no longer peaceful. That’s when I’d like to see the police use necessary force.

        • SOCIALISM MARXISM WELCOME TO OBAMA'S AMERICA *fart* says:

          You were “hoping” for it. That is different than expecting it.

          You were excited at the prospect of human suffering to further a political agenda.

          • atthec44 says:

            Yes, I was.

            If the protestors are unwilling to abide by the rules set forth by the owner of the property they’ve taken over, there needs to be consequences.

            • Tombo says:

              How about if some elected officials threatened said property owner with “making things difficult” if they didn’t evict the protesters, even if the said properly owner was fine with the people protesting on his property?

              • atthec44 says:

                Did you know that the exact opposite of your scenario actually happened. A few NY politicians threatened to “make life difficult” for this property owner if they didn’t allow the protestors to stay.

    • Phil Keeps It Real [Consumerist] says:

      How about we replace the tear-gas, with laughing gas which is pumped at high speeds through the fire hose ? That sounds like more fun, less violence ! Gitty-UP!

    • zibby says:

      Communist.

  12. axhandler1 says:
  13. falnfenix says:

    hey, he brought up his yard…i was responding to that comment.

  14. brinkman says:

    Frank Rizzo would know what to do.

  15. Beefsteak says:

    I want to see Riot Sheilds and tear gas. This is getting ridiculous! I work right off of Broadway and Wall and these stinky bastards are the most worthless group of under acheivers I have ever seen. By the way, everyone who works on Wall Street is not loaded. i have worked for finance companies for the past 15 years and I’m struglling to get by like everyone else. These faceless big banks that are getting killed in the media employ hundreds of thousands of people who take the subways and buses to work each day and bust there asses for a paycheck. Wall Street is not what you people see in the movies.

    I don’t own a smart phone, but I do put in 10 hours a day at work. It makes me shake my head when I walk by these unemployeed able bodied protestors and they are taking pictures with iPhone 4’s and Droids. Where are these “poor” people getting the money from?

    • NarcolepticGirl says:

      Do some research.
      Also, I am employed and not poor. I am an occupier in my city. Along with others who are employed. And some who are not. And some who are retired. Some who are veterans. Teachers. Some union workers. We even have a priest.
      But you can go ahead and assume whatever you want.

    • Kuri says:

      Yes ,just forget that some of them might have degrees that for some reason or other make them “over qualified” for jobs they would be willing to take.

      Giving the job you have no wonder you’re so stressed, especially in that your boss likely won’t give half a piss and you could be let go for any reason with no notification more than an email.

  16. Debbie says:

    Do I understand this? Mob trashes park. Authorities say they have to leave for a while so authorities can clean the park. Mob whines, “No, please don’t! We’ll behave! See, we’re cleaning up our mess.” Authorities back down. Right?

  17. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    “The park is privately owned by Brookfield Office Properties but in an agreement with the city it’s open to the public 24 hours a day.”

    It’s open to the public, not just protesters. What about other members of the public who would like to go to and enjoy the park? What gives the protesters the right to deface this property?

    I agree with their right to protest, but not to take over a privately owned piece of property and refuse to leave. We call that tresspassing where I live.

    • DarthCoven says:

      They’re welcome to visit the park as well. Nobody will stop them from entering Zuccotti Park. Whether they will enjoy their experience is another matter altogether. Enjoyment of an activity is not a right, though.

  18. bgeek says:

    Time for the firehoses.

  19. HogwartsProfessor says:

    HEY PROTESTERS!!
    Here’s an idea…..CLEAN UP AFTER YOUR DAMN SELVES.

  20. PercyChuggs Was Found At JFK Airport says:

    I was going to participate in this, but I had work today.

  21. DragonThermo says:

    Holy crap! That photo says it all about the OWS Marxist movement. They claim to love the planet yet they leave it in such a mess wherever they go. That’s actually worse than a Section 9 housing neighborhood. I thought the hippies believed in “take only pictures and leave only footprints”?