You either support Occupy Wall Street or you don’t.
For those who do?
They are getting a bit tired of the ‘dirty hippie’ cliché meme…
It just won’t go away.
[via OutsideTheBeltway] Even those sympathetic to the causes that have sparked the Occupy Wall Street and related movements continue to express frustration with the squalor and other negative externalities of the protests.
The notion came to my attention last Tuesday, when Huffington Post recounted some of the complaints in a report called “Occupy Wall Street Causing Problems On Main Street.” I wrote about it it a post called “Occupy Wall Street Hurting the 99 Percent.”
Friday, the New York Times followed up with “For Some, Wall Street Is Main Street,” which recounted some of the same anecdotes that have appeared elsewhere about broken sinks and befouled restrooms.
The anticorporate participants in Occupy Wall Street, which began three weeks ago, say they have no intention of leaving soon. The protest has been building in size, with sister demonstrations erupting in other cities, and politicians, labor leaders and celebrities adding their support. But for many neighborhood businesses, the protest’s end cannot come soon enough. In interviews, business owners said they were especially annoyed that the organizers of the grass-roots movement neglected to include portable toilets in their plan to bring down Wall Street.
Residents, too, say they are losing patience.
Mothers have grown weary of navigating strollers through the maze of barricades that have sprouted along the streets. Toddlers have been roused from sleep just after bedtime by chanting and pounding drums.
Heather Amato, 35, a psychologist who lives near the protest area, said she felt disturbed by some of the conduct of the protesters. She said she had to shield her toddler from the sight of women at the park dancing topless. “It’s been three weeks now,” Ms. Amato said. “Enough is enough.”
Local politicians have expressed sympathy for the residents’ complaints, even as they try to avoid offending the protesters. The speaker of the State Assembly, Sheldon Silver, a Democrat whose district includes Zuccotti Park, the site of the protests, said on Wednesday that the neighborhood had been burdened enough by the protesters’ takeover of one of the few parks in the area. “I would suggest that they move their message to other parts of the city and state,” Mr. Silver said.
Of course, it’s hard to occupy Wall Street unless you’re occupying Wall Street.
Mike Keane, who owns O’Hara’s Restaurant and Pub, said that the theft of soap and toilet paper had soared and that one protester had used the bathroom but had failed to properly use the toilet. Both Ms. Tzortzatos, owner of the Panini and Company Cafe, and Mr. Keane said the protesters rarely bought anything, yet hurled curses when they were told that only paying customers could use their bathrooms.
Steve Zamfotis, manager of another nearby store, Steve’s Pizza, said: “They are pests. They go to the bathroom and don’t even buy a cup of coffee.”
Mr. Zamfotis closed his bathroom after it repeatedly flooded from protesters’ bathing there.
Kira Annika, a spokeswoman for the protesters, wrote in an e-mail that she had not heard such complaints: “We were under the impression that the local business community appreciated our patronage.”
In a widely distributed pamphlet, “Welcome to Liberty Plaza: Home of Occupy Wall Street,” participants were instructed where to find relief. “After you’ve dined,” it reads, “feel free to refresh yourself in the restrooms of neighboring businesses like Burger King and McDonald’s without feeling obligated to buy anything.”
Yesterday, the UK’s Daily Mail piled on with “Stinking up Wall Street: Protesters accused of living in filth as shocking pictures show one demonstrator defecating on a POLICE CAR.”
This are the shocking scenes that have led some people to accuse the Occupy Wall Street protesters living rough in New York’s financial district of creating unsanitary and filthy conditions. Exclusive pictures obtained by Mail Online show one demonstrator relieving himself on a police car. Elsewhere we found piles of stinking refuse clogging Zucotti Park, despite the best efforts of many of the protesters to keep the area clean.
The shocking images demonstrate the extent to which conditions have deteriorated as demonstrations in downtown Manhattan enter their fourth week. Further pictures seen by Mail Online have been censored, as we deemed them too graphic to show.
‘Normally the park is cleaned and inspected every week night. . . because the protesters refuse to cooperate. . .the park has not been cleaned since Friday, September 16th and as a result, sanitary conditions have reached unacceptable levels,’ CBS News reported. Although many of the protesters are understood to be making strenuous efforts to clean up after themselves, after three weeks of occupation, the strain of hundreds of people living on the street has begun to take its toll.
And for those who DON’T support it?
There is a reason WHY the ‘dirty hippie’ cliché meme can’t be put to rest.
Given the conditions?
[via NYTimes] The chorus began quietly at a recent strategy session inside Zuccotti Park, with a single cough from a security team member, a muffled hack between puffs on his cigarette. Then a colleague followed. Then another.
Soon the discussion had devolved into a fit of wheezing, with one protester blowing his nose into the mulch between clusters of tents.
“It’s called Zuccotti lung,” said Willie Carey, 28, a demonstrator from Chapel Hill, N.C. “It’s a real thing.”
As the weather turns, the protesters in Zuccotti Park, the nexus of the Occupy Wall Street protests in Lower Manhattan, have been forced to confront a simple truth: packing themselves like sardines inside a public plaza, where cigarettes are shared and a good night’s sleep remains elusive, may not be conducive to good health.
“Pretty much everything here is a good way to get sick,” said Salvatore Cipolla, 23, from Long Island. “It’ll definitely thin the herd.”
Dr. Philip M. Tierno Jr., the director of clinical microbiology and immunology at NYU Langone Medical Center, said the conditions could leave park-dwellers susceptible to respiratory viruses; norovirus, the so-called winter vomiting virus, which can lead to vomiting and diarrhea and which could quickly overwhelm the limited bathroom facilities in the area; and tuberculosis, which is more common in indigent populations and can be spread by coughing.
Even some camping in the park have grown concerned in recent weeks with the living quarters. Damp laundry and cardboard signs, left in the rain, have provided fertile ground for mold. Some protesters urinate in bottles, or occasionally a water-cooler jug, to avoid the lines at public restrooms. Food, from orange peels to scrambled eggs, is often discarded outside tents.
“I’m amazed that in a park full of revolutionaries, there are large contingents that can’t throw away their own trash,” said Jordan McCarthy, 22, a member of the protesters’ sanitation team. [Read More]
I suppose if participants of OWS wish to banish the stigmata of the ‘dirty hippie’ cliché?
Maybe they should stop acting the part.
Crazy thought, I know!