On Saturday, Occupy Wall Street protesters marched to Union Square. The NYPD made several arrests. At one point, they corralled a group of young women in a net and hit them in the face with pepper spray. The images on film are disturbing.
Maced on Broadway and 11th, Davids Camera
In a dismissive report, the Times conjectured that most of the Occupy Wall Street protestors have traveled from somewhere else and do not live in New York City. Wrote Ginia Bellafante, "It is a curious fact of life in New York that even as the disparities between rich and poor grow deeper, the kind of large-scale civil agitation that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg recently suggested might happen here hasn’t taken shape."
It raises a good question: Why haven't New York City's young people risen up in riots?
Fast forward a few hours from the Union Square march. Later Saturday evening, just three blocks east, masses of drunken revelers, many from the Big Apple Beer Marathon, swarmed Second Avenue.
Young people in Viking helmets and Mardi Gras beads, in t-shirts with a beer-drinking whale on the front and a list of bars on the back, clogged the block. They vomited, stumbled, and danced before the glowing lights of the Chase Bank.
It's like this every weekend. The block between 9th and 10th, especially, on the west side of the avenue, is out of control. The crowds surge and jostle, grabbing at beers and buckets of frozen yogurt, throwing them down their throats as they whoop like wild animals. They block the sidewalk, stumble screaming into traffic, dump garbage on the street, but no cops come to stop them.
At The 13th Step, the tables ache beneath multiple mugs of beer. The spicy vapor of hot wings is so fierce in the air that inhaling actually hurts. I swear you can feel the spices burning through your nasal passages as you walk by.
It's the only taste of pepper spray in this part of town.