The protestors occupying Wall Street/Zuccotti Park are worried about the new plans to clean up the park tomorrow, calling it an eviction notice. The mayor showed up last night, politely informed the occupation of the move, and asked them to make way for Brookfield’s cleaning crews.
The protestors have responded by calling for bucket brigades, but according to a source with intimate knowledge of the site, they may not have to. It appears Brookfield, and not the occupiers, would be breaking the law if they tried to return and were denied access.
Our guy, who has worked on POPS across the city, including Zuccotti Park, emailed us with this take on the clean-up:
That section of the zoning code I sent you yesterday or the day before is the only zoning section that touches on what can be prohibited in POPS, and it’s not much. Based on my all my interactions with City Planning technical staff, they are advocate aggressively for the public and often use the example of homeless people occupying benches and seats as things the owner cannot prohibit. It is, after all, public space, regardless of who “owns” it. The zoning resolution is on the occupiers’ side.
On the other hand, Brookfield does have an obligation to clean up the site, but between Mayor Bloomberg supporting the occupier’s Constitutional rights to be on the site and the narrow latitude given to POPS owners on closing down the site, it would be hard for Brookfield to somehow post new signs, or security, to prevent protestors from returning. Were they to do so, the public retribution would be swift and look bad for the city and the developer. Instead, the administration seems prepared to wait this out, until the weather grows worse.
Part of the challenge is that the signage Brookfield is allowed to post prohibits listing any already illegal activity, because the city did not want to promote POPS a place where such activity would take place. Speak no evil, so no evil. Now, it’s complicating matters. When the weather turns, it will be interesting to see what happens, but our source thinks he has the perfect solution.
“Bloomberg is just banking on the cold weather to disperse the crowds,” the source writes, echoing something protestors have already been telling The Observer. “OWS needs to pick up the POPS book and see if they can’t find an indoor POPS open 24 hours and set up camp their for winter.” Or, just consult the online list.