There is increasing concern that the authorities have made a rod for their own backs. “Are we seriously suggesting that if a jihadist or neo-Nazi group moved in, they would have been indulged like this?” asked a community-board member pointedly. “Or the Klan!” interjected another. Meanwhile, the chairman worried about the precedent: “If any other group moves in in the future, would we be able to evict them, given the example we have set?” His ashen expression answered his own question.
At the last meeting, as I reported, “some of the members of Community Board One took turns to make brief speeches. With the exception of one woman, who spoke movingly of the Zuccotti Park area having been ‘under siege’ for ten years, each endorsed the OWS movement.” This time, each took it in turns to express disappointment, concern, and even anger. The rebels have lost their enablers.
“It’s a crime scene down there, and it’s attracting all of the worst people in this city,” said a board member. “We’re hearing reports of rapes, assaults, violence, drug use. The mentally ill are assembling. It’s a public hazard.” There is also concern for businesses. “At this rate, they’re not going to make it through the Christmas season,” the chair of the Small Business Committee said, bluntly. He mentioned Mark Epstein, owner of the Milk Street Café, by name. “This is a new business and he’s not going to make it. It’s an outrage. After all of the economics problems with the loss of the World Trade Center, this is too much to take.”