11.15.2011

The Follow-the-Helicopter Walk (The Clearing of Zuccotti Park)

The news this morning of the overnight eviction of Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zuccotti Park surprised many people, according to social media tweets and postings. For a time in the early a.m., many of the occupiers gathered at nearby Foley Square, the location of the first large community and labor march in support of the movement, and later in the morning in a lot near Canal Street and 6th Avenue. I don't believe many of the occupiers have slept at all. The situation was in flux and is still in flux. The police put on their riot gear, took it off, put it back on. Members of the media have been swept up in arrests relating to these events.

Walk Downtown - The Clearing of Zuccotti Park
9:01 a.m. Follow the helicopter. The M5 stop on Broadway.

Walk Downtown - The Clearing of Zuccotti Park
9:32 a.m. The bus driver received an order to detour. He dropped me off at this corner.
Looking west, St. Paul's Chapel is on the left. 1WTC is on the right.

Walk Downtown - The Clearing of Zuccotti Park
9:37 a.m. Arriving at Zuccotti Park.

Often the first sign that anything might be amiss in the complex megacity of Gotham is the sight and sound of helicopters. They were buzzing early today as they hovered above Lower Manhattan. In a big city equivalent of ambulance chasing, I decided to check out with my own eyes what was transpiring at Zuccotti Park by following the helicopters.

Walk Downtown - The Clearing of Zuccotti Park
9:39 a.m. Empty Zuccotti Park. So it was true, the news reports.

Walk Downtown - The Clearing of Zuccotti Park
9:45 a.m. Typical foot traffic on Broadway this morning.

Walk Downtown - The Clearing of Zuccotti Park
9:48 a.m. Media stakeouts and food vendors at Zuccotti Park.

In truth, I didn't walk downtown but instead jumped aboard the M5 bus that conveniently runs down Broadway. I could have saved more time walking, because once the bus passed Chambers Street, traffic started coming to a crawl. The bus driver announced he had just received orders for a detour due to the Wall Street actions, dropping those of us wanting to go farther downtown off at the corner of Broadway and Vesey. I walked the rest of the way.

Walk Downtown - The Clearing of Zuccotti Park
10:03 a.m. A helicopter hovers above WTC site

Walk Downtown - The Clearing of Zuccotti Park
10:34 a.m. Marchers return to Zuccotti, chanting "We have court order."

Walk Downtown - The Clearing of Zuccotti Park
10:38 a.m. Police line Trinity Place at Liberty Street on west side of Zuccotti Park.

Here are some pictures from this narrative.

As I was leaving to board the bus to go back home, the picture was a little fuzzy on Trinity Place, the street behind the park on the west side. While the police moved into position, tourists were walking by the World Trade Center site or going into Century 21 to shop. I boarded the bus with people who said they were just worried about being late to work.

Walk Downtown - The Clearing of Zuccotti Park
10:44 a.m. Waiting for the bus. Trinity Place near Zuccotti Park.

Images from November 15, 2011 by Walking Off the Big Apple.

Update: 5:03 pm. A late afternoon court ruling allowed the protesters to return to the park but without tents and other camping gear.

1 comment:

Anton Deque said...

Once again you "scooped the pool" on this story by sticking to what you saw.