Tuesday, September 25, 2012

9/17 New York City: Occupied Part 3

9/17/2012 12:00PM - End of Day
Huzzah! I'd heard from my friend from the station and made my way to the back of the park. We were to meet at the Statue of Liberty Cruise terminal, which as it turns out I'd wandered past earlier and completely ignored.

By the time we'd met up the Occupy folks had cleared out for the second half of the days actions. I gave my buddy a heads up about how to keep track of the days events and we settled on posting up somewhere in the financial district so he could keep a weather eye out.
We arrived at Zucotti, only to be denied entrance due to the fact that I have a stick and a big ass back pack. My buddy cracked wise, and in my cranky state I basically told him to fuck right off. Wisely figuring that I was crabby due to low blood sugar, he bought me a slice of pizza and we found a bar at which to grab a beer. We grabbed a seat and started catching up on gossip. A few moments later several police officers jogged by the window. Figuring that was our cue to head out, we stepped out of O'Hara's pub near Greenwich St and looked up the street.  Only to see two folks, one of which had been the leader of the first spokes council I attended getting arrested. A reporter asked what the charges were, to be told by an officer to get back on the sidewalk. When the reporter persisted, the officer asked if he wanted to get arrested too. I guess he didn't want to join the protesters, because he stepped back out of the road and into the press of bodies being held back by police.

I gave my friend a look, it was time for us to part ways.  He was there to witness the action and write about it, I was there to eat and stay out of trouble. I thanked him for the beer and pizza, he thanked me for taking a long walk and we resolved to meet up later in the evening once we'd located our mutual friend. Heading away from the action once more, it was nearing time for me to head to the bank so I pointed myself in the direction of Gold St. On arriving, dropped my pack at a burrito joint and ordered food. It was ominously silent in the square as I ate. I was reading up on what was happening a few blocks away on twitter, and by the cell alerts sent out by Occupy Wall Street. Seconds before the crowd arrived I got a text saying that a crowd of protesters were headed down Williams Street only a few yards from me. I stayed where I was figuring it was a good vantage point without putting me at risk. Watching as about 100 protesters, surrounded by police walked down Williams and were shunted up another street away from the Federal Reserve.

This was the name of the game for the rest of the day. Get alert, avoid action, get alert, avoid action. No matter where I went in Lower Manhattan I felt like Pac-Man eating my way across the city avoiding the ghosts that were protesters and police. It was nearing evening time when I met back up with friends from Boston and we set up in a bar off of Maiden St. with a few folks from Occupy Boston. Both myself and my friend from UNregular had a sneaking suspicion that our reporter buddy had been arrested.

"Have you heard from (so and so)?" I asked

"No I haven't he's usually pretty good about getting back. He hasn't tweeted in like four hours" he said

"Hmmmm indeed that is worrisome, I'll check in with dispatch" I replied.

The New York NLG had a dispatch line that you could text with a name to find out if someone had been arrested. I sent the text with my friends first and last name and requested the information. Almost immediately I got a response "we're not sure, but we think so".  I laughed a little bit, knowing that they were overloaded with nearly 100 arrested on that day alone. I hit up station friend and started heading for the 7th precinct on 14th Street near Union Square.

We all met up at a bar a few blocks up from the police station. Reporter friend's elbow got busted up when the cops took him down.

"I did not come to New York to BE national news!"

After shouting a few more expletives he'd calmed himself down, and we ordered beers.  It turns out that the arrest had been videoed by a day trader that was on his way to lunch, who had also been arrested.  I asked the day trader if he smoked cannabis, and he indicated that he did, offering up his apartment as a spot to rip a bong or two while I waited for my ride off the island. We parted ways with reporter friend, who'd decided to head back to the financial district to get some writing done.  On arriving at the day trader's place, the location was entirely incongruous to his appearance. As a sort of raggedy hoody wearing twenty something, you wouldn't expect him to be living in a penthouse apartment off of 5th Avenue.  I didn't question my good fortune rather packed the bong and enjoyed the view. 

We talked about the state of things, he shared some rather spotty opinions, it seems changing them to suit the situation. In one breath saying that he would protest but wear a mask, then in another saying that he respected Anonymous, but didn't understand why they wore masks. Not about to argue, and figuring it had something to do with him being high and a little drunk, I listened to him and my friend from the station swap opinions back and forth about the "state of the union" so to speak. A few minutes later I got a call from my host in New Jersey letting me know that they were around the block. Bidding both farewell with hugs and thank yous I headed to the elevator, and off to my next stop. It was time for me to get the fuck out of New York.

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