Oddly enough, both music editor Bill Forman and I traveled to New York City during October. He was visiting family, and I was attending a work-related conference. But with the Occupy movement growing nationwide and locally, we both wanted to visit the mothership. You'll read Bill's thoughts as part of this week's cover package.
As for my experience, what I noticed first was the heavy presence of law enforcement. Hands resting on their holsters, officers dotted the park's perimeter every 10 feet or so, and cop cars and motorcycles were lined nearby.
But inside Zuccotti Park, it felt like a miniature town. Tents sidled up tight against one another. Dogs peeked out of some, people's feet out of others. Volunteers scooped mac 'n cheese for residents from a kitchen in the park's center. Children poked through books in a makeshift library. Residents recycled and composted and obeyed signs saying please don't step on the flowerbeds. And music — drumming, Native American chanting, sounds from a three-piece jazz band — filled the air.
Amid this were the individuals of Occupy. An unemployed grandmother knitting her way through her 26th day. A 40-something man sitting on the ground with six others, discussing the best use of OWS volunteers. A young woman whose husband was killed in Afghanistan.
Here is where I connected with "the 99%" and those who, like me, dream of greater equality and compassion.