Washington Square Fountain Often Left On To Deter “Protester” Use?

It’s past the time of year when the Washington Square fountain is typically shut off and yet, up until this morning, the fountain has been on – presumably to deter protester use of it. The fountain – when not on and also empty – has traditionally been used as a gathering space and a place for, yes, protest. The Bloomberg Administration is apparently so worried of that usage that the fountain is often left on in the rain, and long after the park’s water fountains have been shut off. (When it’s not on, water is left within it to discourage usage.)

Here are photos from yesterday – the NYPD preparation for Arundhati Roy’s scheduled visit to the park (it was moved inside to Judson Church due to rain). Fountain was on this morning but is off as of now (3 p.m.).

NYPD on the Fountain Plaza

NYPD - TARU: Technical Assistance Response Unit






NYPD TARU = Technical Assistance Research Unit.

I love seeing the fountain on but it’s getting a bit ridiculous. At least, the Arch is no longer barricaded.

Video of Arundhati Roy at People’s University yesterday.

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Why Was Washington Square Park Rejected as Site for Veteran’s Day Rally Concert with Joan Baez?

Updated — Joan Baez has a history at Washington Square Park and it would be fantastic for her to return to perform at the park. Yet when that was attempted for today’s Veteran’s Day Rally, now being held further downtown at Foley Square, the city refused to allow – “balked” at – WSP as the location.

From the New York Daily News:

Legendary 1960s protest singer Joan Baez will headline an Occupy Wall Street rally Friday.

“It’s official. Joan Baez will be here tomorrow,” said organizer Aaron Black. “She’s an icon. We are unbelievably excited. In the ‘60s, protests and music went hand and hand.”

The “11/11/11” Veterans Day Rally will be held at at Foley Square from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The slogan for the day: “Honor the Dead, Fight Like Hell For the Living.”

Ignoring the weekday timeslot and the short notice, Black said he expects big crowds – possibly tens of thousands of people. …

Baez, born a New Yorker, is an icon of the 1960s who marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chavez, dated Bob Dylan and Steve Jobs, and sang about civil rights, human rights and the Vietnam War. …

The concert/rally was originally planned for Washington Square Park but city officials balked. They allowed Foley as a compromise.

I reached out to city’s Parks Department to inquire as to why Washington Square Park was not allowed as a location for the concert. The response I received back was “Check with NYPD.” The Parks Department issues permits for use of the parks. In addition, an earlier Daily News piece stated this:

It was originally supposed to be at Washington Square Park but park officials had concerns about the guest lineup. They allowed protesters to use Foley as a compromise.

Could this have something to do with the park’s redesign – this change of usage of the park? Is the historic nature of the park as a place of music and activism further in danger, even when permitted? Is the 25% reduction of public space around the Fountain Plaza figuring into this? Is Washington Square now considered off-limits for big events?

What exactly was the problem?
****************************************************************

Previously at WSP Blog:

* City “Regulations” Cause Musicians and Artists To Be Ticketed for Performances Near Fountain, Arch, Benches at WSP – October 28, 2011

* “Honey, I Shrunk The Park” March 17, 2008

Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Weekend at Washington Square

Fall at the Fountain - On!

Still wondering about the health of the remaining trees that line the fountain. They certainly did ‘turn’ color early (see one in background here and a few shots below) and I’m thinking they have also met the fate of their predecessors.

Guitarist by Arch; Sand Painting on Plaza


Piano Player On Fountain Plaza East

In defiance of the newly and seemingly arbitrarily enforced “regulation” that musicians and artists must be 50 feet from the fountain or a monument or 5 feet from a bench at the park, musicians and artists were found Sunday near all, as it should be. Although artist Joe Mangrum, who has been sand painting at Washington Square for a really long time, was ticketed on Saturday.

Debt and Money Forum - Occupy Washington Square

Speaker Andrew Ross at Occupy Washington Square Forum

Occupy Washington Square held another forum Sunday, “Debt and Money: Demand the Impossible,” which was very interesting (I’ll add in some notes from it later). These forums will address new topics with new speakers and will be held weekly on Sundays at 4 p.m. Towards the end of this one, WSP resident Bobby flew by and made his way west of the Arch!

Arrow Pointing East - To Where is Unknown

Sunday, November 6th: Occupy Washington Square Forum — “Debt & Money: Demand the Impossible”

Occupy Washington Square announces a Public Forum in Washington Square Park this Sunday, November 6th at 4 p.m.:

DEBT & MONEY — DEMAND THE IMPOSSIBLE

The General Assembly of Washington Square Park (www.OccupyWSP.org) is hosting a Public Forum this Sunday, November 6th at 4 p.m. on imagining new responses to debt.

  • Are other systems beyond money possible?
  • How can the Occupy movement address the issue of student debt?
  • What is the currency of community?

Following from the success of recent Forums featuring Judith Butler (2 weeks ago) and Angela Davis (last week), this weekend continues the tradition of presenting challenging and inspiring ideas and speakers in the public space each Sunday.

This Sunday’s Forum will consist of presentations by four speakers, followed by extensive Q&A. Speakers include:

DANIEL PINCHBECK is the co-editor of the new anthology, What Comes After Money?, co-founder of websites Reality Sandwich and Evolver.net, and author of the books 2012: The Return of Quezalcoatl and Breaking Open the Head, all of which encourage looking at an emerging new paradigm.

ANYA KAMENETZ is the author of Generation Debt, DIY U, and The Edupunks’ Guide, all about the intersection of education and economics, and self-organized solutions.

McKENZIE WARK is the author of The Hacker Manifesto and The Beach Beneath The Streets which focuses on the history of the Situationists International including the liberating promise of public space.

ANDREW ROSS is the author of many books including Celebration and Nice Work if You Can Get it: Life and Labor in Precarious Times. He is interested in the new Student Debt Moratorium Proposal.

4pm this Sunday, in Washington Square Park NYC, near the archway. All welcome.

See original at Occupy Washington Square web site.

Photo: Gamma Blog

David Harvey on the Right to Public Space and the 99 Percent


NYC-based author and professor David Harvey often speaks out on the use of public space. While reading this piece (excerpted), I couldn’t help thinking about New York’s billionaire (and out of touch) Mayor Mike “Wall Street, real estate and tourists are all I look out for” Bloomberg.

The Party of Wall Street Meets Its Nemesis (Verso Books blog)

The Party of Wall Street has one universal principle of rule: that there shall be no serious challenge to the absolute power of money to rule absolutely. And that power is to be exercised with one objective. Those possessed of money power shall not only be privileged to accumulate wealth endlessly at will, but they shall have the right to inherit the earth, taking either direct or indirect dominion not only of the land and all the resources and productive capacities that reside therein, but also assume absolute command, directly or indirectly, over the labor and creative potentialities of all those others it needs. The rest of humanity shall be deemed disposable.
….
The Party of Wall Street ceaselessly wages class war. “Of course there is class war,” says Warren Buffett, “and it is my class, the rich, who are making it and we are winning.” Much of this war is waged in secret, behind a series of masks and obfuscations through which the aims and objectives of the Party of Wall Street are disguised.

The Party of Wall Street knows all too well that when profound political and economic questions are transformed into cultural issues they become unanswerable.

But now, for the first time, there is an explicit movement to confront The Party of Wall Street and its unalloyed money power. The “street” in Wall Street is being occupied—oh horror upon horrors—by others! Spreading from city to city, the tactics of Occupy Wall Street are to take a central public space, a park or a square, close to where many of the levers of power are centered, and by putting human bodies there convert public space into a political commons, a place for open discussion and debate over what that power is doing and how best to oppose its reach. This tactic, most conspicuously re-animated in the noble and on-going struggles centered on Tahrir Square in Cairo, has spread across the world (Plaza del Sol in Madrid, Syntagma Square in Athens, now the steps of Saint Paul’s in London as well as Wall Street itself). It shows us that the collective power of bodies in public space is still the most effective instrument of opposition when all other means of access are blocked. What Tahrir Square showed to the world was an obvious truth: that it is bodies on the street and in the squares not the babble of sentiments on Twitter or Facebook that really matter.

The aim of this movement in the United States is simple. It says: “We the people are determined to take back our country from the moneyed powers that currently run it. Our aim is to prove Warren Buffett wrong. His class, the rich, shall no longer rule unchallenged nor automatically inherit the earth. Nor is his class, the rich, always destined to win.”

It says “we are the 99 percent.” We have the majority and this majority can, must and shall prevail. Since all other channels of expression are closed to us by money power, we have no other option except to occupy the parks, squares and streets of our cities until our opinions are heard and our needs attended to.

To succeed the movement has to reach out to the 99 percent. This it can and is doing step by step. First there are all those being plunged into immiseration by unemployment and all those who have been or are now being dispossessed of their houses and their assets by the Wall Street phalanx. It must forge broad coalitions between students, immigrants, the underemployed, and all those threatened by the totally unnecessary and draconian austerity politics being inflicted upon the nation and the world at the behest of the Party of Wall Street. It must focus on the astonishing levels of exploitation in workplaces  from the immigrant domestic workers who the rich so ruthlessly exploit in their homes to the restaurant workers who slave for almost nothing in the kitchens of the establishments in which the rich so grandly eat. It must bring together the creative workers and artists whose talents are so often turned into commercial products under the control of big money power.

The movement must above all reach out to all the alienated, the dissatisfied and the discontented, all those who recognize and deeply feel in their gut that there is something profoundly wrong, that the system that the Party of Wall Street has devised is not only barbaric, unethical and morally wrong, but also broken.

All this has to be democratically assembled into a coherent opposition, which must also freely contemplate what an alternative city, an alternative political system and, ultimately, an alternative way of organizing production, distribution and consumption for the benefit of the people. Otherwise, a future for the young that points to spiraling private indebtedness and deepening public austerity, all for the benefit of the one percent, is no future at all.

In response to the Occupy Wall Street movement the state backed by capitalist class power makes an astonishing claim: that they and only they have the exclusive right to regulate and dispose of public space. The public has no common right to public space! By what right do mayors, police chiefs, military officers and state officials tell we the people that they have the right to determine what is public about “our” public space and who may occupy that space when? When did they presume to evict us, the people, from any space we the people decide collectively and peacefully to occupy? They claim they are taking action in the public interest (and cite laws to prove it) but it is we who are the public! Where is “our interest” in all of this?

David Harvey teaches at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (Anthropology), often writes and speaks on public space, and is the author of many books, including Social Justice and the City, The Condition of Postmodernity, and A Companion to Marx’s Capital.

Angela Davis Speaks at Occupy Washington Square Yesterday, Sunday

Angela Davis Speaks Occupy Washington Square

People listening while Angela Davis speaks

Occupy Washington Square General Assembly Takes Place

And perhaps the most exciting sight to see…

The Arch Un-Barricaded!

UpdatedProfessor, author and activist Angela Davis spoke at Occupy Washington Square yesterday Sunday 10/30 in an inspirational and engaging talk with the Arch as a backdrop, stating: “Your movement calls upon the majority to stand up against the minority. The old minorities are the new majorities.”

Update! See really good Village Voice piece on Davis’s visit to the Park!

And see video here:

Part I Video of Angela Davis speaking at Occupy Washington Square yesterday(Sunday 10/30).
Part II Occupy Wash Square Q&A with Angela Davis
She then headed over to Occupy Wall Street at Zuccotti Park.

Next Occupy Washington Square General Assembly Meeting Wednesday, November 2nd 7 p.m.

Top Photos #1, 2 and 3: Johanna Clearfield

Photos #4, 5: Cathryn.

Previous WSP Blog: Occupy Washington Square Hosts Angela Davis Sunday, October 30th 5 p.m., followed by General Assembly

Occupy Washington Square Hosts Angela Davis as Featured Speaker Sunday, October 30th, 5 p.m., followed by General Meeting

Occupy Washington Square will be joined by professor, author and activist Angela Davis as speaker on Sunday, October 30th at 5 p.m. (Meet near Fountain or look for chalked directions on the Plaza.) More on Davis here.

This will be followed by Occupy Washington Square’s General Assembly which now meets on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays at the Park typically around 7 p.m.

Yesterday at the Park (Photos)

Two Squirrels enjoy the "Hanging Elm" NW Quadrant

Cleaning Up Chess Plaza - Work Resumed ?

Plants Arrive SW Quadrant

Arch Still Barricaded Off

??

Chalked Plaza -- Occupy Washington Square Park

Fall Colors or Another Fountain Tree Dying?

The squirrels in the park were in fine form yesterday … enjoying visitors and regulars, and, of course, the park’s trees — pictured at top is the famous and very old “Hanging Elm” in the North West Quadrant. …

Work appears to have resumed somewhat on construction on Phase II-B – South West Quadrant/Chess Plaza  – signs that someone was there appeared in the form of potted plants and a wheel barrow. …

The Arch is still mysteriously barricaded off. It’s hard to know what to make of that. (Think of the “poor tourists” and visitors wanting to get their pictures taken in front of the Arch! Kidding, sort of.) …

Occupy Washington Square chalked the plaza to announce the location of their meeting the other night. Next meeting is on Wednesday (tomorrow), October 26th at 7 p.m. and the community is invited! …

It’s hard to say if the remaining 3 – living – trees around the fountain — the ones that remain — are now exhibiting fall colors or are dying.

Photos: Cathryn

Arch Remains Barricaded … Occupy Washington Square Next Meets Wednesday, October 26th 7 p.m. at Park

Arch Still Barricaded 10/22

Barricades at the ready at fountain

From Occupy Washington Square meeting notes of October 22nd:

Welcome!

Who we are: The General Assembly of Washington Square Park – we are different from “OWS” in Zucotti Park, which is a 24-hour occupation.

What does “occupy” mean? – can mean ‘occupy your mind’; ‘occupy the space your mind’; ‘occupy public spaces’

This is a space for open forum and discussion, to give all voices a chance to be heard.

In addition, via Twitter:

Our next #GeneralAssembly meeting will be Wednesday, 10/26 at 7pm in #WashingtonSquare. Town Planning – nurturing the local WSP community.

Occupy Washington Square — Welcome!

Live Feed Projected Onto the Arch

Updated 2:15 p.m. — All this blogger can say is “It’s about time!” Washington Square Park has been feeling a bit dead in terms of activism and protest and just overall spirit since Phase I of the Bloomberg Administration’s dramatic redesign, the Fountain Plaza, opened in May of 2009. It is, uh, refreshing to find people using it for this purpose, for the ‘greater good,’ and a way for all of us, who see the opportunity for a much different world and ways of being — certainly markedly distinct from the one offered here in NYC under Mayor Michael Bloomberg — to join in.

The Arch was again barricaded last night — a police officer told me last week, when I asked “Does the Arch need defending?,” that this was so, in a large crowd, people didn’t get “smushed” — although, a live feed was projected onto it. The fountain was not barricaded and people met within it.

What is projected on the Arch says — “Discussing a proposal to hold GA at wash sq park every day of the week. #OWS” It was voted on to hold a meeting at Washington Square every day of this week. I was told 5:30 p.m. and that this will be in addition to the GA at Zuccotti Park.

Yes, I know the Parks Department has rules about not staying in the Park after midnight – but we as people in this city are so used to honoring and obeying rules at this point; we are so used to having cameras everywhere and presenting ID everywhere we go – it wasn’t so long ago that we weren’t all so used to being so rigid and monitored.

This administration has gotten away with so much – Bloomberg’s coddling and wooing of developers, corporations, media, business improvement districts, and the Mayor’s affluent friends while paying off non-profits and arts organizations essentially buying their silence tipped the scale further in favor of the 1% in NYC. The rest of us have not had the space to fight back. But now we do. Third term blues? Couldn’t happen to a more deserving target.

Keep it coming, Occupy Washington Square!

Post-Meeting in the Fountain with the Arch

Today marks one month of Occupy Wall Street at Liberty Plaza/Zuccotti Park and the start of events and protests that have transpired since.

Photos: Cathryn