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March 6, 2012
The monthly Community Board (CB) meeting for the BPC region was held tonight, and the main topic was the review of the application from “Occupy Wall Street” (OWS) to host their six-month anniversary march through Battery Park City that has been named “The American Spring”, similar to the “Arab Spring” that led to the violent overthrow of much of the Middle East and Northern Africa. Three people representing OWS gave a PowerPoint presentation (video to come).
The planned march would take place on St. Patrick’s Day, Saturday, March 17, beginning at Zuccotti Park and crossing West into BPC, stopping at the Irish Hunger memorial for at least several hours. There was no planned departure. Therefore, concerns were raised that the real agenda of OWS was to encamp in the region around the Irish Memorial near Goldman Sachs, World Financial Centers, and numerous residential high-rises.
Despite this imminent threat of chaos to the community, and of BPC becoming the next site of encampment for thousands of OWS, the leadership of the Battery Park City Authority was absent from the meeting. BPCA Chairman Bill Thompson and CEO Gayle Horwitz were not present for the meeting. BPCA employees Anne Fenton and Matthew Monahan were in attendance.
The OWS presentation began to drag on into a lengthy digression about hunger and social injustices when CB member Jeff Galloway interrupted and began to ask questions. Most members of the audience and the CB began by politely throwing their support for the causes represented by OWS, but then mentioning the bad experiences at negotiating with the Zuccotti Park OWS “representatives”. Jeff Galloway and Anthony Notaro mentioned that brokered deals were not honored last year, and then the excuses used were, “OWS has no leadership”.
Other concerns raised were the differences between the parks in BPC and the urban Zuccotti park. Wild birds nest in the Irish Memorial. Fish are in the nearby pond, and children play in the nearby parks. In addition, the Irish Memorial is surrounded by thousands of residents living in apartment buildings.
An edited video of the meeting will be posted shortly.