Well, that was quick. When we started covering the Occupy Wall Street march at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge this morning, about 150 marchers were cruising by City Hall, around the same time Mayor Bloomberg was giving his press conference to rationalize the clearing of Zuccotti. Within an hour, the group had about doubled in size and relocated to the open plaza at Sixth Avenue and Canal Street. (We’re not even sure what this space is called, though there’s a large statue of Juan Pablo Duarte, the founder of the Dominican Republic.)
Within minutes of arrival, two structures were up, a construction wall was covered with signs, and a dozen people had climbed up on it.
Is this the beginning of Occupy Wall Street 2.0? Or just a temporary base, like Hoth was for the Rebel Alliance?
This square seems to be a natural place for the Occupy Wall Street folks to regroup: It’s large, it’s open, and they’ve already found a dramatic way to decorate the space in a way that’s impossible to ignore. Also, while this patch of Manhattan has a lot less foot traffic than Zuccotti Park, it has a huge amount of car traffic passing by, as it is located by the mouth of the Holland Tunnel.
On the march over, the protesters got a fair amount of support in terms of honking by drivers of the industrial vehicles that were passing by. An interesting moment occurred when a sanitation worker on a private sanitation vehicle was yelling his support. After getting some heckling, he had to say, “It wasn’t me!” who had cleaned the park. (Protesters have to go to the Department of Sanitation to reclaim their belongings.)
It’s fascinating how quickly the scene here is resembling Zuccotti. The medics were walking around with their kits the whole time, while others handed out food and water to their fellow protesters. When the marchers arrived, there was a yellow and black tent with the words “Occupy” and “Liberate” on it, which resembled some kind of mash-up of a Jewish chuppa as designed by a road safety specialist. A second one appeared within seconds. Drummers, a point of celebration and contention within this community over the past 60 days, occupied one of the tents. One of the drummers, though, defied the stereotype of a gentle hippie, screaming in an enraged tone at someone (who we presume had been at Zuccotti), “We’re only here, because you don’t know how to fucking defend yourself!”
As of now, we can only see two helicopters overhead; there were five at one point during the march. The police seem to be hanging out at the perimeter of the gathering. A General Assembly seems to be starting, and they are discussing returning to Zuccotti Park at 11:30. Another flank is planning to head back there presently, in the kind of typical march pattern Rosie Gray identified some time ago.
There’s the familiar scent of a certain weed in the air, too.
Here are some pictures of the march over and the beginning of this space’s occupation.