A few weeks ago as I was walking from the World Trade Center Oculus to a doctor’s appointment in Lower Manhattan, I passed by Zucchotti Park on Broadway and I was flooded with memories from 2011. On my way back to the train, I passed by some tourists with a map and I overhead them mention Occupy Wall Street. I apologized for interrupting and told them that yes, this is where Occupy Wall Street took place.
Although this is not necessarily a place to which I traveled to, it is a definitely a place that is going to go down in history books whenever they’re updated. And as I witnessed that day recently, this is some place that people are still traveling to so they can “see where it [OWS] happened.”
I spent many weekends down in the Financial District in 2011. I had no large part in OWS, nor was I an organizer, but I was a loud and proud participant. I marched, although I was never arrested (but my boss at the time was awaiting a call that never came to come bail me out of jail), though one of my best friends was. We chanted, handed out fliers, sang protest songs, and marched. It was a sense of community that can only be found when you get a group of likeminded people together who have one common goal.
What was that goal? This was one of the downfalls of OWS. They didn’t have one leader, or one goal. It was a movement of the people, by the people, and for the people. They refused to have one list of demands or one person to speak for them. OWS was a fucking amazing idea but it wasn’t executed efficiently.
They did however change what everyone spoke about. Politicians everywhere were now talking about the 99% and that’s a pretty badass achievement for an unorganized group of protesters. Later in 2015, I read the book “The Occupiers,” by Michael A. Gould-Wartofsky. It was an insiders look at how the movement was started and where it went wrong. I highly recommend it.
So although Zucchotti Park is spotless now and any memories of the movement have been erased, I believe it was only the beginning of things to come. Here are some of my favorite pictures from those days in 2011.