In the early morning hours of November 15th, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg changed the face of Occupy Wall Street forever. Teams of police officers flooded the park, pulling protestors out of tents, sending them scrambling into the black of night, leaving in their wake the remnants of their 33,000-square-foot piece of paradise.
Before that moment Zuccotti was amorphous, a thermometer of the ever-changing scope of the Occupy Wall Street movement. In the early days, when the nights were warm and the company few, Zucotti resembled a mountain valley—a couple hundred protestors – heads resting against the cool, slick granite – dotting the otherwise open space like columbines, enveloped by the towering peaks of the financial district.
But as the movement grew, the park evolved. In true homage to Manhattan, space became a sought after commodity. Mattresses, airbeds and possessions wrapped in blue tarps turned Zuccotti into an ocean of inaccessibility; a stroll in the park was no longer an option. Tents sprang up in erector-set fashion—the domed domiciles, each decorated with the flair of their respective occupiers, made Zuccotti look more refugee camp than urban picnic spot.
One look at the park now and there’s no sniff of a revolution. When the sanitation plows rolled in after the raid of Zuccotti Park, they pushed out a nearly two-month accumulation of personal items: tents and tarps, homemade signs and mattresses, but most importantly, the occupiers. A Friday night at Zuccotti no longer hears the methodical beat of drums, or homegrown acoustic melodies set to lyrics of protestation.
Now the ground is clean, almost too clean for the outdoors; the sheen of granite reflects the sparkle of honey locusts draped in white lights; and the steps, once battered with the words, “All day, all week,” now only hear the laughter of a playful child.