While I was back east last week, I got to see some things that I have always wanted to see but never thought I would have the opportunity. My family is largely on the west coast, so if it weren’t for my SO I wouldn’t really have a chance to visit back east. I was going to go to NYU film school when I was coming out of high school. However, the requirements were a bit high for a poor child with no access to film equipment.
When I found out that I finally was going to get a chance to go to New York City I had many places I wanted to see. Most of them are fairly predictable. You know, Grand Central Station, Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge… you know, the typical places tourists see in New York City.
I also had a strong desire to view Zuccotti Park. A small park, 2 block from Trinity Church, a few blocks from Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange.
Visiting Zuccotti Park… I don’t know if I could find the words to describe what I was feeling. It was overwhelming. I was filled with a sense of something like pride, but it wasn’t pride. I felt like I found something, some place where everyone shared the same sense of anger and frustration. We all wanted a change. We all want the government to once again be of the people and for the people.
In a lot of ways I felt energized. Being there, seeing the dedication that everyone had to Occupy… it was breathtaking.
I walked around the encampment (it would have been rude to walk through the encampment). And seeing all the people just going through their day, as if protesting daily were the most normal thing.
More importantly, for 2+ months it was the greatest show of first amendment rights. This is what the Bill of Rights were written for. All of this taking place blocks away from Federal Hall. Cops surrounded the encampment as well. Telling people to not block sidewalk traffic.
And the next day, it was moved. I won’t say over as Occupy Wall Street still has a presence. But the Zuccotti Park encampment doesn’t exist at this point.
I was speechless that I got a chance to experience Zuccotti Park as it was with Occupy Wall Street. And in many ways, I feel lucky.
And while it Occupy may no longer inhabit Zuccotti Park, it’s legacy most certainly goes on.