Looks like Brookfield Properties' planned 7 A.M. cleaning of Zuccotti Park—headquarters for the Occupy Wall Street movement—has been postponed, meaning that the protesters and their tarps can stay. And Russell Simmons won't have to go to jail!
A huge crowd of protesters, NYC Council members, union members, Rachel Maddows, Russell Simmonses, and others gathered at the park this morning to either see if the clear-out would take place or, in the case of the protesters, resist. From where we're sitting (a jewel-encrusted computer desk in a palatial Midtown penthouse suite), the scene down there sounds pretty intense and celebratory.
No word from Mayor Bloomberg himself, at least on his personal Twitter. But the Mayor's Office Twitter feed confirms the clean-up cancellation. The official statement released by Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway has been posted on Pastebin:
"Late last night, we received notice from the owners of Zuccotti Park – Brookfield Properties – that they are postponing their scheduled cleaning of the park, and for the time being withdrawing their request from earlier in the week for police assistance during their cleaning operation. Our position has been consistent throughout: the City's role is to protect public health and safety, to enforce the law, and guarantee the rights of all New Yorkers. Brookfield believes they can work out an arrangement with the protesters that will ensure the park remains clean, safe, available for public use and that the situation is respectful of residents and businesses downtown, and we will continue to monitor the situation."
We tried to decorate our post with a photo from this morning's massive gathering, but the Twitpics and other pics we saw were all taken before dawn. So here's an AP picture from yesterday's DIY protester clean-up effort. You can watch all the chanting and drama unfold in real time via this Livestream. [Image via AP]