Posted at 11:22 AM ET, 10/14/2011

Zuccotti Park has ties to Mayor Bloomberg

The ownership of Zuccotti Park, the 33,000-square-foot makeshift center of the Occupy Wall Street protests that was supposed to be cleared out today for cleaning, is a contradiction in terms.


Members of the Occupy Wall Street movement fill Zuccotti Park in New York. (Emmanuel Dunand - AFP/Getty Images)
Which could be good or bad for the protesters, depending on how you look at it.

The New York Times points out in a piece Friday that the park exists in a “strange category of New York parkland” — while it’s privately-owned, it’s also a public space.

“The park was established in a wave of development that spurred corporate plazas after changes were made to the city’s zoning laws in the early 1960s. The laws generally give real estate developers zoning concessions in exchange for public space,” according to the Times.

Zuccotti has proved to be a great location choice for protesters in part because it’s in the heart of New York’s financial district, but also because it is privately owned.

Since it is not a city park, park owner Brookfield Office Properties need to ask for the assistance of police if they want it, which it did shortly before canceling today’s cleaning.

While the city’s parks all have strict rules and curfews, the latest at 1 a.m., Zuccotti is open all night and has yet to enforce new rules against camping and sleeping bags.

Brookfield has also so far been unwilling to intervene much in the protests, issuing an initial statement that it was okay with them if the protesters stayed on their private property.

But Zuccotti may also prove a bad location choice for protesters because it is privately owned.

A number of bloggers, primarily public accountability blog LittleSis.org, have pointed out that Bloomberg’s longtime, live-in girlfriend Diana Taylor sits on the board of Brookfield.

Many have said a move by Brookfield to reassert control over the park could backfire, but Kevin Connor of LittleSis.org thinks the “cozy” connection means Brookfield will follow the city’s lead.

John Zuccotti, chairman of Brookfield, told the Times last week “that we [will] basically look to the police leadership and mayor to decide what to do.”

No matter what happens, Connor writes that Zuccotti has already illustrated one important point:

The cozy, overlooked relationship between Bloomberg and Brookfield... highlights the very dynamic Occupy Wall Street is protesting: the control of public resources, and government itself, by the wealthy and powerful — the one percent.

By  |  11:22 AM ET, 10/14/2011

 
Read what others are saying
     

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company