|This is the cleverly edited frame used by CNN for their video link on |
the removal of protesters from Zuccotti Park last night.
If you watch the whole video (click here) you'll find its really rather
boring and innocuous. But we don't watch content do we?
We just absorb headlines.
When I visited Zuccotti Park in October I tried to speak to staff at two adjoining restuarants, but neither would speak to me on the record about any effects the protests were having on their daily business. Off the record, they were not happy but did not expect the protests to last this long.
Mayor Bloomberg (D-NY without having the backbone to admit it) has so far been more sympathetic to the Occupy Wall Street protesters (who are incidentally mostly not New Yorkers) than he has been to the citizens of his own city. That story changed last night after a group of business owners in the area marched on City Hall yesterday to let the mayor know how deeply the protest movement has cut into their livelihoods.
Here is the complete text of the Fox 5 story from last night:
(NewsCore) - The "Occupy Wall Street" movement has cost surrounding businesses $479,400 so far, store owners said.
A New York Post survey of a dozen restaurants, jewelry shops, beauty salons, a chain store and mom-and-pop establishments tallied almost a half-million dollars lost in the 53 days since the Zuccotti Park siege began on Sept. 17.
"We're done with them!" barked one Broadway business owner. The restaurateur -- who requested anonymity for fear of reprisals -- said his profits drained as soon as campers moved in.
"My customers used to take food to eat in the park, but now they can't," he lamented.
With clogged streets, aggressive signs and stories of predators and criminals lurking among the knot of protesters, business owners and managers say shoppers are not taking the risk of coming to the area.
"They think the protesters are violent," said Jewelry 21 manager Danny Nia.
It's worst on Saturdays, when protesters parade up and down Broadway all day long, the businesses said.
"When they march on the sidewalk, everyone runs away," said Mike Rauach, owner of VIP Men's Suits on Broadway. "They kill business."
Some businesses have suffered higher staffing costs. Stubborn occupiers, for example, often hold impromptu meetings inside coffee shop Pret a Manger, forcing workers to stay hours past closing time.
"They'd keep asking for 20 minutes, 20 minutes," one worker complained.
And the coffee shop has lost loyal customers who now can't find a place to sit.
"But we can't tell [OWS protesters] to leave," the worker added.
The movement costs the dozen businesses just over $9,000 a day.
That figure doesn't include money spent on toilet paper, cleaning supplies and repairs, businesses said, as the tent dwellers turn bathrooms into personal washrooms.
On two separate occasions the owner of the Essex World Cafe has rolled up his gate to find someone had defecated on it overnight.
"It must be a good place for them to hide," the owner cringed.
Next door at Ho Yip, a Chinese restaurant, filthy clothes and underwear carpet the bathroom floor, the manager said.
"I have to pick it up," the manager groused.
At Cafe Health World on Maiden Lane, delivery calls have slowed down from Goldman Sachs, where mid-level analysts burning the midnight oil would often order takeout. Now, manager Alex Furkov said, no one wants to stay in the Financial District.
"They're making it look like everyone's Warren Buffett over there," he said. "They're our livelihood. That's what keeps the lights on in this place."
The OWS folks insist, to the point of whining, that their First Amendment right to protest must be protected by the very society they are protesting against. I have a couple of questions regarding rights:
- What gives these people the right to keep other people from earning a living because they have decided they don't want to be part of a capitalist system?
- What gives these people the right to leave their dirty underwear on the floor of another person's business simply because their mom is not around to wipe their bottoms and pick up after them?
- What gives these people the right to force a business to stay open past its posted operating times (thereby incurring extra cost to the owner) because they want a warm place to meet?
- What gives these people the right to defecate where it is convenient for them to defecate?
After that we can talk politics.