“You don’t look like a protester.”
I’ve heard that a lot in Liberty Park, where I’ve joined the Occupy Wall Street movement, and in the marches to Foley Square, Washington Square Park and elsewhere. Calling this particular plaza a “park” is a stretch. It’s a cramped slab of marble patio and benches shaded by an occasional tree, but the harsh geometry is animated by the residents who’ve moved in. Sleeping bags, hand-lettered signs, guitars and drums, cafeteria tables, hot food, and a network of laptops pulsing at the center have grown grass-roots vitality on this barren afterthought in the well of skyscrapers. I used to eat lunch here on the punishing benches when I worked my first corporate job, just out of school. Standing at the Occupy Wall Street information area I can see my old office building, a lavish pagoda high in the western sky. I bought my first hand-tailored suit in the Brooks Brothers across the street where a dozen police are talking by the display windows. Pinstriped, with real buttonholes. The suit was a youthful extravagance, especially silly of me to dress like a banker since I wasn’t one and didn’t work for a bank.