#OccupyWallStreet Visits the Upper East Side
Posted: 11 Oct 2011 11:54 AM PDT
What a pleasant surprise. I was on the phone and heard chanting and drumbeats outside, and lo and behold, it was OccupyWallStreet across the street from me (on the west side of Park Avenue). Unfortunately, I have meetings this PM and so I could only run out briefly to see them on the street, but this was a perfect day to come this far uptown. The police told me they had walked up from Zuccotti Park, that’s a good 7-8 mile hike.
Quick impressions: the marchers were fairly densely packed on the sidewalk, extending 2-3 blocks, so I’d say at least 300 people, probably closer to 500.
The cop coverage was intense: several paddy wagons, lots on motorcycles and in the little cars (not standard issue cop cars, a form factor more like little one Postal Service delivery people use). The policing was doing much more to disrupt traffic than the marchers were.
People on the street seemed mainly bemused, a lot of picture taking and people standing on corners across the street to watch. Some seemed to be chatting to people they didn’t necessarily know well. A few perplexed faces and a few genuinely sour faces.
I saw two camera crews, each had picked people who were clearly more affluent looking (not that they necessarily were more affluent) than most people on the street.
One was a grey haired gentleman in an fine cotton shirt who was talking about “the spending, there’s been a $3 trillion increase in spending, health care, in the last two years.”
I couldn’t help myself, I was out out of the line of the camera angles, but interjected, “That isn’t true, the new health care plan isn’t effective yet.” I could have gone on but didn’t want to become part of the interview.
But I did throw the guy off his rhythm which was enough satisfaction.