Adventures, escapades and impressions from Zuccotti Park – by Steve Norris
There was a group of us, 4 people, who set out to go to New York City in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement at 8pm Wed; me, the driver Dana, and 2 youngsters in their early 20′s: Cameron and Logan. We took the scenic route thru NY State, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and it took us 8 hours to get there. My other friend Sue, a professional photographer, a mutual friend of me and Dana, waited for me outside the Grand Army Plaza Subway Station in Brooklyn (we drove past Manhattan into Brooklyn, and then took the subway, which costs $2.25 in NYC, to the Financial District where Wall Street is located. That event was to commemorate the 2 months anniversary to the inception of the OWS movement. Logan and Cameron ended up being arrested roughly an hour after the rally started. I, however, ended up staying with Dana and Sue in order for me not to get lost in the crowd. I have to remark that what people do NOT know, is that 99.9% of the police officers are as peaceful as the overwhelming majority of the protesters; it’s just a small group of either side which seeks to provoke the other one. Dana, Sue and I witnessed first-hand people who were blocking the sidewalks, and when approached by officers, they did not listen and ended up getting pulled to the ground or arrested for disturbing the peace. Therefore, the whole image of people, as portrayed in the media of the OWS protesters getting beaten up by police are totally twisted and untrue. And it’s usually a very few number of protester to start a commotion, not the other way around. The reason Logan and Cameron were arrested was beacuse they didn’t obey the cops’ orders not to block…
After resting up and refreshing Sue, Dana and yours truly took the subway back to Manhattan. We attended different rallies. Dana had a makeshift cardboard sign, reading “We The People”, which got lots of camera shots by random people, and she ended up giving 3 or 4 TV interviews, at least, because of it. Previously notorious as a “camera hog”, I let my buddy bask in the limelight and was happy for her. Anyway, at 7 pm we were ready to cross the renowned, hyped up Brooklyn bridge from Foley Square. 10,000X of diverse people were gathering, so you couldn’t even let a pin thru. It took us over an hour to cross from Manhattan into Brooklyn. But we did, with at least 35,000, we were told. However, according to some estimates, the actual number was closer to 60,000. There were some rallies at the other side, in Brooklyn, in front of the Clark subway station. It was 8:30pm. Throughout the march, Sue took photos and so did Dana, who also shot a few videos, later on sharing it on Occupy Buffalo’s FB page (Sue is a professional photographer, so she was taking pictures while marching with us).
After waking up and taking a shower, we headed into Manhattan circa noon, and just stayed at Zuccoti Park to talk to people and relay experiences. We were talking to many people who were camping our at Zuccoti. (Dana and I walked back across the Brooklyn Bridge). Walking across it ONCE is epic, can you imagine doing it TWICE? The renowned landmark, the B.B., a constant feature of flicks. We could even get a glimpse of the (tiny from distance) Statue of Liberty on Staten Island.
We met a guy named Mike (aka “Rose”), who used to live in Buffalo (Wow! In the middle of a city of 18M denizens!!!) and chatted with him. We stayed there, but on that Friday there was nothing planned, nothing going on, people just chilling after the long day on Thursday. Cameron and Logan got out of the holding center and had to go back to court in January. Logan decided to stay with Mike in Staten Island, so Cameron, Dana and I headed back to Brooklyn and left at 9pm, driving back to Buffalo. I got back to camp at 4:45am and almost immediately went to sleep. Woke up at 8:00am.
The whole experience in NYC was life changing: it was as if I came back to Buffalo a new person: I’ve been to 3 states in 2 days, we experienced the NYC coffee shop scene, but most importantly – I was there, at the center of the movement, at an EPIC event, so when my grandhildren ask me in 50 years, “Grandpa, where have you been when Occupy Wall Street crossed the Brooklyn Bridge?”, I can proudly reply: “Son, I was THERE, RIGHT THERE, crossing the B.B. with my friends”.We TOTALLY occupied WS, PEACEFULLY. Nonetheless, our main role was to represent Occupy Buffalo as its envoys, delegates, and we did that well.