Things are getting more organized at Zuccotti Park.
As the Occupy Wall Street protesters were scrubbing down their digs last week to stop the parks’ owners from booting them out, they decided to rearrange their facilities to make it easier to navigate.
“People are always coming up to ask where things are,” said Nate Barchos, of Providence, R.I.
While the information booth still hands out an old map that Barchos refers to as “B.C.” for “before cleaning,” he’s working on a more updated version to be kept at the library.
“I’m doing everything in pencil so it can be changed,” said Barchos, 23.
Here’s amNewYork’s guide to getting around the park:
The People’s Library
Thousands of donated books are catalogued for an online database, and sorted into bins by genre. There’s a reference section of books that can’t be taken out, including Jon Stewart’s “America” and Snooki’s “A Shore Thing.” “People’s Librarian” Sean Allingham, 30, of Winnipeg, Canada, said this library is like any other, just without cards or due dates. “If you bring a book back, that’s wonderful. If you can’t, that’s also wonderful,” he said.
Shirt Silk Screening Lab
While some people are spending upwards of $30 to buy Occupy Wall Street merch online, hundreds of people get their own for free every day at Zuccotti Park. Bring your own garment (or grab one from the comfort station) to the North side of the park, where three silk screeners add “Occupy Wall Street” or “We are the 99%” logos. “They are designed, created and printed by the people at Occupy Wall Street,” said silk screener Julie Goldsmith, 29, of Astoria.
A small circle around “The Tree of Life” where people can meditate and the incense is almost always burning is one of the quieter spots at the park. “We wanted a place where people could congregate and to get people from all different belief systems involved,” said Jacques, 29, of the Lower East Side, who wouldn’t give his last name.
Clothes, toiletries, sleeping supplies and tarps for when it gets rainy gets handed out here by the likes of unemployed actor Michael Glazer, 26, of Chicago. Glazer joined the protest after selling his guitar to pay for a bus ticket a week and half ago. “We’re really stocking up on warm clothes,” he said. “Winter’s coming up.”
Medical Center and Tent
About 100 patients stop by each day, and there are scores of doctors, nurses and other people with first aid training on call. The healthcare workers helped out with a heart attack over the weekend, and one drug overdose. As the city gets colder over the next few months, medic Chris Carter, 28, of New Jersey, said he worries hypothermia will become a big problem.
Three hot meals and snacks to munch on in between are distributed daily to the demonstrators. The protesters cook some pasta and veggies at kitchens on the East Side and in Brooklyn, and store surplus donated food in a facility a few blocks from the park. Pizzas from nearby Liberatos are a staple at mealtime. “We’re definitely getting enough food,” said Carlos Gomar, 23, of Salt Lake City, one of about 15 people who work in the kitchen.
In their efforts to make sure every voice is heard, information and a daily schedule are provided to Spanish speakers. Daily meetings are also held in Spanish. “There is a lot of people who [find that] it is very difficult for them to understand the information in English,” said Lucia, 29, of Manhattan, who wouldn’t give her last name. She said she assists about 100 people every day.
- Hundreds marched from Zuccotti Park to Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s office Tuesday night to protest alleged police brutality during their month-long demonstration and to demand an end to the NYPD’s “stop-and-frisk” searches.
- The deputy inspector caught on video last month pepper spraying female protesters at a rally near Union Square was docked 10 vacation days after an internal investigation found he violated NYPD rules.
- The new Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises,” may soon be filming near Zuccotti Park, the Los Angeles Times reported.