Today we were in lower Manhattan and decided to drop in on Zuccotti Park, lately the home of the Occupy Wall Street gang. You can find it in the financial district, very close to the location of the Freedom Tower and the 9/11 Memorial.
Zuccotti Park has a sign that says “Open to the public” but, ironically, it was totally blocked off from public access by temporary fencing — presumably because it was being cleaned by a guy riding a street sweeper machine — and there was a significant police presence in the immediate area. The area also featured a decorated Christmas tree and lots of holiday lighting, rather than tents, so it didn’t bear any resemblance to the encampment of protesters that was the subject of so much media attention.
Still, we could make a few observations. First, Zuccotti Park is not really much of a “park.” Instead, I would call it a plaza. It’s almost entirely covered with concrete and stone, with stone benches and a few trees. It couldn’t have been a comfortable place to camp, or sleep. Second, it’s much smaller than I thought it would be — a small square, really. It’s hard to imagine it was the site of dozens of tents, a working chow line, and so forth.
The Occupy Wall Streeters appear to be largely gone from their former headquarters, although I did see a few people with signs — including one guy who seemed to be protesting Occupy Wall Street and what its leaders had done with the money they received in contributions.