Monday, September 26, 2011

2nd Avenue Agitation

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.


Popepepe said...

The disparity is simple to understand: The drunken vikings are contributing to the rise of corporate and capitalist suppression, approving and validating it. The protesters are not spending any money and are not allowing themselves to be distracted. The media has been entirely dismissive of the travesties that have been perpetuated on the Occupy Wall Street group. They do so because they're scared.
The two images bring one phrase to mind..."Let them eat cake..."

Anonymous said...

The vapid outlook of societies mentality of "I have mine, why should I care about you?" This is the result of 30+ years of reaganonmics and an ever increasing gap between the rich and the poor. Then there are those who think they are rich but choose instead to live the lie, because reality will cost them their "cool" status. And in our vacuous national existence of denial, that's all that matters.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post.

It's actually quite a close contest.
Which group is more obnoxious: the young drunks in the East Village(and elsewhere in NYC), or those foolish protesters downtown.
Hopefully the protesters will return home soon.
Unfortunately the obnoxious college-type drunks are here to stay.
LOVE your blog Jeremiah, I read it often even though it makes me sad.

ElwoodBluez said...

Beer and frozen yogurt? What happened to pizza? Philistines.

City Of Strangers said...

Hi Jeremiah,

The Times article was a disgrace. Why the disparity? Well, one poses a threat, however limited, the other doesn't. It's amazing to think that if the protestors were simply misguided, mostly out of town, kids indulging in a prolonged performance art piece (as the Times article implies), there'd be this kind of police presence. Since when have the powers that be been scared of performance art?

Foreign press coverage of the protests has been interesting.


Anonymous said...

I live away from NYC. Occupy Wall Street has received zero coverage in the major media.

Kurt said...

"vomited, stumbled, and danced before the glowing lights of the Chase Bank"

That's worshiping at the altar in Bloomberg's NYC.

Little Earthquake said...

What exactly was the goal of Occupy Wall Street?

Filmatix said...

Why are the protestors obnoxious? Are they wrong that Wall Street and its allies are repsonsible for the financial crisis and millions of people suffering around the world?

I'm from here, and would rather have 20,000-30,000 of those kids come down to our universities than the pampered kids of means I see clogging downtown, braying their sheeplike "Like Like Like" litany as they shop and walk/text their way over the homeless on their way to parasitic jobs in finance.

If people can't see the connection between the hypergentrification of NY since 9/11 and our diminishing freedoms in this country, the media blackout is working real well.

Yes, protestors can seem shrill sometimes, but without the work that generations of "obnoxious" protestors, we'd all be working 18 hour days alongside our 5 year olds, and dying in garment factory fires.

esquared said...

nyc's young people (aka yunnies) have not risen up in riots because it isn't all about them

and as el bloombito would say: "yo no care-o atención about los protesteros. yo sólo pay-o about los richos, touristos, y dinero.

Jeremiah Moss said...

i'm with Filmatix. i would much rather have the protesters than the drunk Vikings. if the pepper-sprayed girls in the video are overdoing it a bit with the screaming (which i don't think they are), at least their screams are for something, unlike the aimless, stupid screams every night in the EV streets.

Filmatix said...

El Bloombito, ha!

Back to the sobering reality at hand, I love how things are always phrased to change the context of what actually happened--"show violent clashing between protesters and the police"...Did I miss something, or is there actual footage of anyone actually attacking cops in any of the videos? Because, if there isn't, then's it's not a "clash," but "people getting beaten up by cops." Right?

I know plenty of cops, plenty of military (in my family, too), but the sad fact is that if you give these forces too much power, they take it, and they won't give it back.

This post is very telling, and thus very glad J-Moss put it up: because the powers that be are starting to get scared, and they are praying that more kids join the ranks of the mindless pubcrawlers than the protestors.

Yes, be a good girl and eat your frozen yogurt. Some new shoes, and a cool address in the East village, and forget about the rest of the world blowing up around us.

David said...

digitally mesmerized and alcohollicaly lobotomized meat sacks. i'll side with the protestors anyday, at least they are aware, at least they see what coming down the pike.

Anonymous said...

From Common Dreams:

Anthony Bologna, NYPD officer accused of pepper-spray incident, is accused of civil rights violations at the time of the 2004 Republican national convention protests

Marty Wombacher said...

The ending to this post wss genius, great work.

Anonymous said...

"They block the sidewalk, stumble screaming into traffic, dump garbage on the street, but no cops come to stop them."

This reads as a preference for more police action against young folks drinking (oh, the horror) rather than less against young folks protesting.

Jeremiah Moss said...

i'm not anti-police. i'm anti-stupid police. yes, i'd love to see cops walking the beat in the EV and keeping the peace from these nightly terrorists.

Anonymous said...

it looks like 2nd ave is a commerical area. maybe thats why the police do nothing. if thousands of people wrote a petition etc maybe they can do something. everything shifts around. so downtown 2nd is exactly like yorkville 2nd. correct??