September 30, 2011

Situating Zuccotti Park: The Landscape of the Wall Street Protest

The nerve center of the ongoing Occupy Wall Street protest, one that began September 17, is a gently shaded urban space called Zuccotti Park, once named Liberty Plaza Park and now renamed Liberty Square by the protesters. The park is situated on prime real estate in the Financial District in Lower Manhattan. The boundaries of the park are Broadway on the east, Trinity Place on the west, Liberty Street on the north, and Cedar Street on the south. The site of the World Trade Center is a block away to the west. A prominent feature is the bright and tall red steel abstract sculpture titled Joie de Vivre (1998) by Mark di Suvero.

Zuccotti Park/Liberty Square


Brookfield Properties, the developers of One Liberty Plaza, the skyscraper just to the north - formerly known as the the U.S. Steel Building and built in 1973 - are the owners of the park, but the large real estate company made an agreement with the city of New York to operate the park as a space with 24-hour access by the public. Such an agreement is typical in the city. When developers add extra square feet to a building or construct outside the normal guidelines, they are often required to construct an adjacent area for the public. During the events of September 11, 2001, Liberty Plaza Park was covered in debris. The park has been extensively renovated, financed by Brookfield, and it was renamed Zuccotti Park in 2006 in honor of the corporation's New York-born chairman, John E. Zuccotti.

Zuccotti Park/Liberty Square


Zuccotti Park/Liberty Square



Zuccotti Park/Liberty Square

Just to the south of the park are two richly detailed Gothic buildings from 1904-1907 - Trinity and U.S. Realty Buildings. And just beyond these buildings to the south is the historic Trinity Church, a brownstone landmark of old New York. Alexander Hamilton, the first United States Secretary of the Treasury, is buried here in its churchyard, along with other luminaries of the city's history. The looming spire of Trinity Church on Broadway faces directly down onto the western blocks of Wall Street. Trinity Church is a power in its own right in the area of real estate, the result of extensive land holdings since its origins in the early 18th century. From this small area of downtown Manhattan, wealth and power flow in every direction, symbolized by the nearby Bank of New York Mellon, Bankers Trust Company Building, the Trump Building, the New York Stock Exchange, One Chase Manhattan Plaza, and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, etc., etc..

Zuccotti Park/Liberty Square


This spot is not a bad place at all for pointing out the maldistribution of wealth.

Images by Walking Off the Big Apple from Sunday, September 25, 2011.


View Zuccotti Park/Liberty Square in a larger map

For further reading:
https://occupywallst.org/

We are the 99%
http://wearethe99percent.tumblr.com/

(New York Times) Park Gives Wall St. Protesters a Place to Call Home
September 27, 2011
by Colin Moynihan

(The Nation) Abysmal Occupy Wall Street Coverage: Rubbernecking At The New York Times
by Allison Kilkenny

See Walking Off the Big Apple's page on Wall Street and Social Class for a timeline of events and related walks.

2 comments:

Phil Davis said...

Nice pictures and description. I was down there yesterday and shot a lot of video, which I'll post as soon as I edit it.

It reminded me of my youth. It's nice to see young people get involved.

Terry B, Blue Kitchen said...

Just beautiful, Teri, And informative as always. Now I want to see Hamilton's burial site on my next visit.