Friday, September 21, 2012

9/15 Brooklyn, NY - Sunset Park #opwalkabout

I woke Saturday morning with a start to three snoring Slovenians. 

I wasn't sure where the fourth had gone, I was assuming he was asleep on the porch or on whatever floor space he could nab in the mad rush to pass out the evening before. Hoping to keep from waking them I tiptoed around the tiny apartment, I'd been brusque at best the evening before and I wanted to make a clean getaway. I packed the top third of my bag putting things away quietly and stepped onto the porch for the mornings first cigarette.  Taking in the early morning air from the 9th floor, the suburb of New York I was staying in had just started to wake up.

I snubbed out my smoke and shouldered my pack winding my way back through the pile, heading out to the train station to catch a bus into the city. Since I hadn't landed a spot to stay that night in the Bronx, I had decided that walking from New Rochelle was silly. I'd had to consider the only hint of a location to lay my head that evening looked to be in the Sunset Park area of Brooklyn.  I hopped the 42, then took the 2 train from the Bronx all the way to Brooklyn near "Washington Park."

I'd heard that there was going to be a meeting at the park for folks interested in the S17 festivities. I was more interested in what to avoid. I arrived in downtown Brooklyn and consulted my GPS, getting myself sorted I set out West and South to the park. On arriving I found out that the park in Brooklyn was in fact "Fort Greene Park" and was rarely called "Washington Park" since there was a perfectly good "Washington Square Park" in Manhattan, which is actually where I was supposed to be.

A friend from Boston contacted me just about as soon as I'd found out the error of my ways, he'd just so happened to be in Manhattan that day and was looking to grab lunch. He hopped the subway to Brooklyn and we posted up at a commissary style eatery, and he bought me a tasty roast beef sandwich.  Talking for a bit we both realized we hadn't seen each other in over two years. It felt odd thinking of it in those terms considering we'd stayed in touch via facebook and twitter, only to have our first "real" meeting entirely by happenstance 240 miles from home.  Still it was good to see a familiar face, even better still to see such a dear friend from college as neglected as the relationship had been. I've promised myself not to let those connections fade in the future, it's too easy to forget the folks I love while "being busy".

Almost as soon as lunch was done, and pretty much right on schedule with letting the Universe dictate my actions for the day, I got a message from a friend who'd come to the city for the OWS anniversary. As it turns out she'd been staying a few blocks up the street, and was free to meet. I said my goodbyes to my college pal and headed over to meet up with a friend from Free School University. She had been planning to be in the city for a couple of months over this weekend, I'd hoped that at least one of the days I was in town would overlap.  Since my schedule had been blown to hell, it looked as if she would be stuck with me for the weekend.

We met and chatted for a bit, catching up on what had been a blistering busy Summer for me and a bit of a vacation for her. Festivals attended interns trained, even though we hadn't seen each other in a few months it was like coming home. Come to think of it, my stay in NY was basically old home week, having seen more folks I knew from Boston in that city than in any other I'd visited thus far. We talked about the goals for the weekend, I was pretty clear about my desire to avoid both arrest and getting caught up in a protest with my 50 some odd pound pack. She had wanted to attend the teach ins as well as some of the educational meetings that had been set up by New York's Free University. 

Taking a look at the schedule for events that weekend, we agreed to head over to Washington SQUARE Park on Manhattan. The idea was to attend the "Spokes Council" meeting and get a feel for OWS's over all plan for the weekend and Monday. On arriving I posted up on a bench looking around for any familiar faces from the Occupy Boston crew. Striking out I kept my head on a swivel, and an ear out for any plans that I might need to be aware of.

Eventually getting up to stretch my legs I wandered the park a bit, checking in with my FSU friend on occasion until the folks from Occupy Boston came out of the woodwork.  I'm still not quite sure where I sit with those folks. Frankly after walking nearly 200 miles to get to New York, the fucks I could give were pretty tiny to non-existent. Giving hugs where appropriate, I picked up a t-shirt, planning on adding "I survived.... and didn't get arrested" to the top and bottom of the text just for giggles. They seemed pretty intent on taking care of business so I checked in with my friend, we parted ways and I continued to wander.

I asked a cop where I might find some good falafel, he pointed me to Mamoun's in MacDougal St.  I went up the street grabbed a pocket of amazing and a bottle of hot sauce for my boss then headed back to the park.  I grabbed a map of the festivities, hearing that the New York Stock Exchange was to be blockaded for the day of September, 17th and had been for three days before. By the time night fell the park was surrounded by police, two officers every 15 feet around the circumference of the park.  There were also several commanding officers in white stationed at the center of knots of blue in several places within the park.  I found out a short while later that I would be staying at the community housing set up by "ministry" down in Brooklyn.

I posted up with a documentary photographer and a gentleman who'd hitched down from Maine, we shot the shit commiserating the lack of cannabis, and waited for our "daddy" to lead us to the common space. And waited, and waited. We got the word to move out to the space around 9:30PM, so of course we didn't leave the park until nearly 11:00PM. It turns out the delay was caused due to the eviction of the Trinity Church Occupiers, many of them had been arrested (13 of the hardcore 24 or so), so they'd been on jail support and needed to be guided to the space with the rest of us.  Once the rest of the crew arrived, we got a head count and a local guide then headed out on the subway to sanctuary.

On arrival, I swiped a sleeping bag from the hosting crew, powdered my shoes curled up and fell asleep. Given the talk tonight, and the way folks were acting September 16th and 17th should prove to be interesting.

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