Apparently Mayor Bloomberg is very concerned with cleanliness and hygiene down in Zuccotti Park. And so the heroic Occupy Wall Street movement that has captured the imagination of the world over the last four weeks is now being asked to move elsewhere while the Sanitation Deparment goes in to sanitize the area they have peacefully inhabited over the last month. Once known as Liberty Park, this open space is currently known as Zuccotti Park, although its recent rebel occupants tend to prefer the old moniker. Zuccotti Park is not a city park as such, but is privately owned by Brookfield Properties who keep it open to the public as part of a deal they made with the city. Probably having something to do with air rights or something.
Who are Brookfield Properties? Well,they are some serious players. In Midtown they own: 245 Park Avenue, 300 Madison Avenue, the Grace Building, 450 West 33rd Street, and Manhattan West. In Lower Manhattan they own 1, 2, 3 and 4 World Financial Center, the Winter Garden/WFC Retail, Liberty Plaza, and One New York Plaza. Not to mention Jersey City. But as Mitt says Corporations are people too! Or as Lisa Rosen’s mom says “They will be when the State of Alabama executes one.” Brookfield is Ric Clark, Tom Farley (fluffy hair), Dennis Friedrich (with cocktail below), and Mitch Rudin (with palm trees.) These are some seriously clean looking guys who manage some of the cleanest buildings in New York City, not to mention Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Houston, Denver, Boston, Minneapolis, Toronto, Calgary, Ottawa, Vancouver, Sidney, Perth and Melbourne. Naturally a clean operation like Brookfield that controls 78 million square feet of offices wants to keep their 33,000 square foot park tidy.
Zuccotti Park, formerly called Liberty Plaza Park, is named after John Zuccotti, the chairman of Brookfield Properties, who is versatile enough to have served on both the National Republican Congressional Committee , as well as in Joe Biden’s campaign.
How does it look for the proprietors of gleaming crystalline spires to have a nice free park that you let people in 24 hours a day occupied by a bunch of soiled people with no access to showers or cologne. Well, Brookfields stock has dropped from $17 to about $14 a share. They must feel a bit besmirched, even in their clean shirts. Well actually the stock ticked up a bit in the last day or so, perhaps in response to the Mayor’s call for a clean up and scrub down. By the way, the Mayor’s main squeeze, Diana Taylor, sits on the board of Brookfield, a company with a very clean sounding name. I can practically smell the meadows and hear the bees.
Cynics think that Mayor Bloomberg’s call for a clean up is just an excuse. They believe he wants to bust up this protest which has spawned many other protest camps around the country. But the Occupy Wall Street crowd has to be somewhere. Especially since they aren’t actually allowed to occupy Wall Street, which is occupied by police and millionaires. But why couldn’t the kids be allowed to go there just for the cleanup weekend, while the butlers and maids and bedbug consultants tidy up the park? Or how about Battery Park? Or how about the spacious City Hall Park which has running water?
Or how about the historic mayoral palace Gracie Mansion. I mean the mayor doesn’t even live there?
We seriously doubt that this move by the mayor is a subterfuge, having more to do with his oft expressed view that the protesters are here trying to take jobs away from New Yorkers, jobs that mean millions of dollars in bonus money to the restaurants and fashion retailers of New York City, than it does to his high standards of personal cleanliness. He is probably the cleanest looking mayor we have had since John Lindsay at least. Here is the mayor looking, as Miles Davis would say “clean as a broke dick dog,” escorting Brookfield board member Taylor. Also, as something of a collector, he may be concerned about the cleanliness of the Mark di Suvero sculpture Joie de Vivre (Joy of Life) which sits in the park and resembles two masonic lapel pins having sex.
There is no doubt that during his many terms our ambitious mayor has cleaned up New York a great deal. Abe Beam’s New York was trashed. Ed Koch’s New York was grimy. Abe Beame’s New York was fetid. David Dinkins’ New York was dingy. Giuliani’s New York was tarnished. But Michael Bloomberg’s New York is shiny. The mayor is all about cleanliness. You have only to look at the West Side Highway, or to the clever parks he has installed in the middle of Broadway, or to the kind of energy he hopes to make billions on. But if the mayor is really so devoted to cleanliness, shouldn’t he do something about cleaning up the filthy practices of Wall Street financial institutions? Or cleaning up the practices of the New York City Police who have been using truncheons and pepper spray on unarmed kids while padding their overtime?
I suggest that Mayor Bloomberg go downtown himself, to personally supervise this clean up and ensure that the First Amendment doesn’t get thrown out with the bathwater. And he shouldn’t go down empty handed. He should make a symbolic gesture and take the protesters something to remember him by.