It is plain that the occupiers are breaking the park’s posted rules, which explicitly prohibit “camping and/or the erection of tents or other structures” and loitering in a way that “interferes with the use of” the park by others. It is also clear that their continued presence is a magnet for grift and violence and a growing threat to public safety. Though the park’s owner, Brookfield Office Properties, is required, per the original development deal with the city, to keep Zuccotti open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, city zoning code does contain provisions whereby it can move to shut it down if that “closing is necessary for public safety.” If the political will existed, the eviction of the occupiers could thus be undertaken righteously. But the political class’s early decision to indulge the OWS set and the park’s ambiguous public/private status have Brookfield and Mayor Bloomberg deferring to each other. Bloomberg’s line has been that he can’t enforce the rules unless Brookfield asks him to. Brookfield’s line has been that they will follow the mayor’s lead.
And what of the residents and business owners around Zuccotti? Thus far, the members of Community Board 1, who nominally represent them, have been less than robust in addressing the situation: By a vote of 33–3 the board passed a flowery resolution in support of the squatters, and the greatest concession it has managed to secure in ongoing talks with the umpteen “working groups” at OWS is an informal agreement that the latter’s infamous percussionists would limit their drumming to a few hours each day. The obsequiousness has to this point continued up the line: Lower Manhattan’s city councilwoman, assemblyman, and state senator, along with borough president Scott Stringer, and even U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler have for weeks presented a united front in hedging between representing the concerns of their constituents and flattering the gauzy generalities of a group of no-account out-of-towners.