October 22, 2020

How the Police Ousted ‘Occupy City Hall’

Weather: Severe storms threaten in the afternoon, possibly bringing hail and high wind. A high around 90 could seem like 100.

Alternate-side parking: In effect until July 30 (Eid al-Adha). Read about the new amended regulations here.

Image
Credit…Dave Sanders for The New York Times

Before the sun was up on Wednesday, the “Occupy City Hall” encampment in New York was dismantled.

Police officers in riot gear descended on the site, which had been occupied for about a month by protesters in demonstration against police brutality. Homeless people had also begun staying there, using resources provided by activists.

The encampment, at City Hall Park in Lower Manhattan, had been a political thorn in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s side. But the number of demonstrators had recently dwindled, which the mayor said prompted him to shut it down.

[From a dawn raid to scrubbing off graffiti, the “Occupy City Hall” encampment falls.]

Here’s what you need to know:

Dozens of protesters and homeless people were camped at the park overnight when hundreds of police officers arrived just before 4 a.m. People were given 10 minutes to leave, Raymond Spinella, the Police Department’s chief of support services, said at a news conference.

Video posted on social media showed officers walking behind plastic shields. The police tore down tarps used for shelter and threw them in garbage trucks. Seven people were arrested after clashes with officers.

By 8 a.m., cleaning crews were scrubbing sidewalks and buildings to remove the anti-police graffiti that had accumulated.

Demonstrators who supported the Black Lives Matter protests set up camp in the park, just feet away from City Hall, on June 23. About 100 people then began staying overnight to put pressure on Mr. de Blasio and the City Council to significantly cut Police Department funding in the city’s next budget.

The group soon grew into a makeshift community, with free meals and a library. Peaceful crowds listened to lectures about topics like mass incarceration.

City officials did end up shifting $1 billion from the police, but protesters described the budget cuts as smoke and mirrors.

The homeless population grew at the camp. The protesters who remained took on the role of caring for the homeless people, but eventually fights broke out and passers-by were harassed. Some area residents portrayed the scene as a disorderly shantytown.

“Occupy City Hall” was reminiscent of Occupy Wall Street in 2011, when a few dozen people started spending the night at Zuccotti Park to protest economic inequality. Soon, more than 200 people were camping there.

The leaderless encampment ran into several problems, and local residents complained about constant drumming and filth.

Want more news? Check out our full coverage.

The Mini Crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.


The city’s Department of Education has abandoned a plan to overhaul how 164 schools are supervised. [The City]

Some New Yorkers say illegal fireworks are keeping them awake at night. [Gothamist]

Restaurants owners question if their businesses can survive a second coronavirus shutdown. [Eater New York]


The Times’s J. D. Biersdorfer writes:

With New York City partly closed and most out-of-town travel disrupted, it might seem as if your phone’s maps app is just sitting there gathering digital dust. But even if you’re not tapping Apple’s Maps or Google Maps to explore a vacation spot or to belt out turn-by-turn directions on a road trip this summer, your interactive travel aid can be useful. Here are a few things you can do.

Both the Maps app from Apple, for iOS, and Google Maps, for Android and iOS, have been updating their map labels and listings pages for specific businesses to note adjusted hours, curbside pickup service and temporary closures.

Many dining establishments have stayed open with reduced service, while others have been forced to close. Apple’s Maps often notes temporary or permanent closures and operating hours on its Yelp-assisted restaurant listings pages. As part of its Covid-19 updates, Google Maps now adds a line on a restaurant’s info page that lists the status of dine-in, takeout and delivery service.

Like Google Maps, Apple’s Maps includes the restaurant’s phone number and website for details straight from the source. Use this contact information to confirm delivery and takeout services, or outdoor-dining options.

[Read more about how maps apps can help you find what you want.]

If you have symptoms of Covid-19 or your medical provider advises you to get tested, Apple and Google now include the locations of coronavirus testing sites in their maps apps using data gleaned from government agencies, public health departments and health care institutions.

Enter a variation of “Covid-19 testing” into the search box in the maps app. When you select a location from the resulting list, it should show any requirements for getting a test there, like an appointment or a doctor’s referral.

It’s Thursday — go a new direction.


Dear Diary:

It was a Saturday morning in February 2002. A few months earlier I had sold everything I owned and bought a one-way ticket to New York City.

I was determined to start a career in book publishing. I had a sub-sub-sublet in the West Village, and I spent the weekends walking the city.

One day, I was walking down Prince Street when I saw a display of breads in a light-green storefront. The faded gold letters on one of the windows spelled “Vesuvio Bakery.”

I opened the door and inhaled the scent of warm bread. An older man in a white apron stood behind a low counter. I looked at the breads, carefully choosing something that was in my modest food budget. I smiled and pointed to a small sandwich roll.

The man in the apron asked if I was sure. He pointed to a larger, round loaf topped with sesame seeds that looked like a crown. It was the one I secretly wanted.

I said I was sorry, but I didn’t have enough money.

“No, young lady, never say that,” the man said, pointing to his heart. “You are rich in here.”

With that, he took the $1.50 I put on the counter and handed me the round loaf.

— Laura Holmes Haddad


New York Today is published weekdays around 6 a.m. Sign up here to get it by email. You can also find it at nytoday.com.

We’re experimenting with the format of New York Today. What would you like to see more (or less) of? Post a comment or email us: [email protected].