Sunday, February 12, 2012

Occupy Town Square at West-Park


For one day, what was the best of what was Zucotti Park came back to life at West-Park. There were banners, perfromers, teach-ins, workshops, artists, information tables. And lots of people.  In some ways it was one part reunion for some folks who hadn’t seen themselves together in one place since the eviction and later Tompkins Square Town Hall.  And also as usual, it's part political protest and part performance art.  
Shorlty after arriving, I had my first visit of the day from the police. (They’d been there bright and early, before I arrived.) This time led by the commander,  Inspector Barry herself. A grand larceny and two assaults were of course enough to raise a red flag or two. I introduce them to Rafael to make sure that there’s a direct connection with our security. They decide to leave a squad car parked there all day.
The next visit coms at shift change time with another request to entern and tour the building. Teddy handles this. People begin to crowd around.Rafael handles that. Especailly when he sees a ski masked protestor approaching. No, no, no he says, moving him away. They will make other visits throughout the day and into the evening.
Paul on the accordion
Sweatshop Free Upper West Side
My old friend from the neighborhood and PS87 parenting days Jean Fox is here with her with he single payer health care activists and Physicians for Social Responsibiity. Union musician and  cultural worker Paul Stein  is here with his accordion. The Sweat Shop Free folks have left the  Saigon Grill picket an set up a table in McAlpin.  Kelly’s leading a workshop on Open Space facililtation. Yuri is makig amazing little chain art signs. Occupy West Harlem has a table too. Teddy and Steve are running a table on the West-Park Coop and taking donations for the church. It’s good to see some freinds who have moved on like Sage and Stan. 
All the rooms have labels like Brimingham, Paris Commune, Bannockburn, Stonewall..and there’s a people’s stage. And I again ponder #ows filling all the spaces where where  Woodshed lived for so many months. 
Sarah is taking it all in, again wondering how we can use this and just enjoying the vibe. She takes my camera to grab some shots.  John H wants me to take  a panoramic view. Bob, this looks very much like the church you wanted to have. And he’s right. Why couldn’t this be a congregation? But then there’s the hard to connect all this energy, all this spirit to the actual congregation that lives here. Feeeling this connections is one thing, actually  making it another. But he’s onto something worth following. 
I'm amazed at the level of logistic planning deserve a lot of credit. For working it all out down to the orange security  and information: please ask me..vests. 
Upstairs as the day gets late, the floor has opened up for dancing, everyone moving to Iko, Iko... With Michael Jackson ringng in my ears, I’m heading downstairs. I hear someone say to his friend, Hey, I don’t want to miss that workshiop on active listening...

Kelly's workshop

Bob and Sarah

The Town Square


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