Last week, sub-committees of Lower Manhattan’s Community Board 1 drafted a resolution in hopes of easing tensions with their new neighbors, Occupy Wall Street. Last night, the full board passed the resolution by a large majority.
Held at a public school in Tribeca, the board meeting attracted about 150 people including a small but vocal contingent from OWS. Though a handful of Community Board members spoke in opposition to the resolution, its passing means that OWS has won the board’s blessing to continue their occupation — within certain parameters, that is.
The resolution includes clauses on limiting drummers and “all other sources of noise” to two hours a day; arranging access to bathrooms; enforcing the Good Neighbor Policy; and working with area small businesses to “address economic impacts”, as well as stipulations requesting a meeting with the NYPD about the barricades in FiDi and that the city establish a “consistent policy” of appropriately handling Zuccotti-related 311 calls.
A series of speakers stood up at the beginning to weigh in on the document and on OWS in general, including James O’Brien, owner of Trinity Place on Cedar Street overlooking the protests. He described his restaurant as a “sacrificial lamb” and said business was down 30 percent since the protests began, though he, like nearly everyone else, was careful not to say he was against the protests themselves.
A few protesters spoke. Daniel Zetah, who wore a crisp suit, told the crowd that he’d been sleeping in the park for three weeks and that “it’s a lot louder there.” He asked the crowd not to get hung up on details; “it makes me sad that people focus on drummers or on people peeing in the street,” he said.
Drumming was the big issue of the night again. The question of whether the drummers can drum for two or four hours has turned into an increasingly large albatross, dominating negotiations with the Community Board at a series of meetings over the last few weeks.
Elijah Moses, a member of the drumming working group Pulse, said that “there have been some problems with you guys trying to control the drummers.” He held a pair of drumsticks while he spoke.
He later told the Voice that “If you keep telling me two hours, I’ll keep doing four.”
When the resolution was put to a vote, it passed with 33 in favor and 3 against, and one abstention. Board chair Julie Menin said that the resolution covered “the First Amendment right to protest and assemble, and we absolutely have to proactively protect the quality of life of this community.” Another board member hailed the resolution as “one of the best things CB1 has done including Park51.”
One of the board members who voted against was Tribeca resident Allan Tannenbaum, who said that “it’s wishful thinking to think that they’ll get any meaningful co-operation.”
The protesters are “hiding behind a façade of GAs and non-hierarchy to avoid responsibility,” he said.
But, he said, “it’s just a resolution.”