Sunday, 6 November 2011

Occupy Wall Street

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

More of my OWS photographs can be seen on The Leica File.

Yesterday morning was sunny in New York City, but it was cold in the canyons of Wall Street and its neighboring streets.  And yet, Zuccotti Park was full to the brim with the currently residing protestors, sympathizers from all walks of life, gawkers and tourists...and naturally the members of the NYPD, whose main function it seemed (at least when I was there) was to tell the onlookers not to block the sidewalk.

The atmosphere in the Park was jovial and collegiate. Reasonably clean, with the protestors expressing very friendly vibes to the sympathizers and tourists alike. It was not unexpected that a few weirdos were in attendance, but they weren't getting much attention. Photographers were a dime a dozen...pros as well as non-pros. Television crews were ambling about, trying to get footage that hadn't been done before. Two ladies were busy knitting woolen things for the OWS protestors, while a long and orderly line snaked to the tables where fresh and appetizing food was being served.

At one end of the Park, a lively group of protestors were drumming eclipsing the valiant efforts of a saxophonist, whilst a man was typing some manifesto on -inexplicably- a manual typewriter. A few American flags were hoisted here and there...and vendors seemed to be doing a brisk sale of commemorative lapel pins.

I was gifted a small Hohner harmonica by a protestor who urged me to attend some demonstration later on. Whilst walking around the part, I was accosted by a photographer who asked me if I was The Travel Photographer! It was Charles Meacham, a photographer I featured a number of times on this blog. What a small world! Since he had been featured for his excellent work on the Sikhs, I had assumed he lived in India...but he's from NYC as well.

Like many other sentient individuals, I sympathize with most of the OWS positions...however I fear that all this remarkable civic energy would be better expended in Washington DC. This is where the responsibility for our difficulties lie.

PS. The mellowness that I witnessed may not have lasted long. The NY Times has this.