Posted by: Dan Beucke on October 28, 2011 at 6:11 PM
On Friday, Occupy Wall Street marched north. Long before the marchers arrived, knots of New York City police could be seen in front of just about any financial office in midtown; the big banks also had barricades and security checks. The protesters were orderly (they even waited for traffic lights to turn before crossing, which is rare for anyone in the city), carrying signs such as “you got bailed out, we got locked out” and “Billionaire Pigs” with pictures of Jamie Dimon and other bank CEOs wearing snouts.
Once in place, they took to chanting (“modify loans, keep us in our homes”) and reading from letters sent by OWS supporters to bank executives. The big difference uptown was that there are a lot more bona fide bankers. If you want to yell at big banks, don’t go to Wall Street — go to Park Avenue. That’s where JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup have their headquarters; the Bank of America Tower is a few blocks away. As demonstrators dressed as “bank pirates” rode up in pirate ship/bikes, curious Chase employees snapped pictures and watched from the windows above. (According to a tweet from @TheOther99, while at the Morgan Stanley building, demonstrators invited CEO James Gorman to lunch: “We’ll pick up the tab..we’ve been doing it for five years!”)
Earlier in the day, in what OWS demonstrators saw as a clear attempt to freeze them out, the New York fire department removed gasoline cans and generators from Zuccotti Park — just as forecasts call for snow over the weekend. Mayor Michael Bloomberg (the founder and majority owner of our parent, Bloomberg LP) cited safety concerns on his weekly radio program. Mark Bray, an OWS spokesman, told Bloomberg News the action was “a pretext to make the protest less sustainable and more difficult for us.” He said the group has about 14 fire extinguishers to handle any safety issues.
(Photo: Ramin Talaie/Bloomberg)