News / USA

    Occupy Wall Street Neighbors: 'We're Under Siege'

    Peter Fedynsky

    The Occupy Wall Street protest in lower Manhattan has not actually occupied the street that is synonymous with American finance, but rather a park several blocks away.  The area's small business owners and residents feel under siege.

    Virtually constant drumming from mid-morning until late at night, for nearly a month now.  Neighbors are not pleased.  Steven Abramson is among them.

    “There are families in this building with young children,' he said. "There are some older people who live here as well that would like some peace and quiet.”

    “We are here to support a movement!  Drumming helps that movement." said a drummer.

    This drummer is reacting to yet another request by residents to stop.  He refuses, saying drums are the heartbeat of a movement aimed at helping all Americans, including nearby apartment residents.  

    Many protesters say they understand the plight of the locals, just as many residents and shopkeepers say they support the movement.  Nonetheless, neighbors complain their grievances are ignored.  Stacey Tzortzatos and her husband own the Panini and Company Café across the street from the protest park.

    "Somebody told me yesterday, well, I’m just collateral damage, because of my location," said Stacey Tzortzatos. "I shouldn’t be collateral damage.”

    Despite all of the people in the park, nearby restaurant owners complain business is down. Tzortzatos says one reason is the police barricades that block access through the park for customers.  Even food vendors in the park say tourists are doing most of the buying because protesters enjoy donated food. Sean Harper, a protest volunteer, dismisses the concerns of business owners.

    “They have the right to not like it, but we have a right to deliver free food to the people," said protest volunteer, Sean Harper. "That’s what we’re doing. If that's an effect, it's an effect.”

    The lobby of Steven Abramson’s apartment building is pungent with the smell of disinfectant to disguise the stench of urine outside.  He says some protesters relieve themselves in the area at night.  The problem - no portable toilets at the park.

    “There’s a lot of people across the street - hundreds of people, but out of the hundreds of people, maybe 10 will come and eat here," said Tzortzatos. "Other times, they just want to use the facilities and wash themselves and brush their teeth and take showers in the restroom.”

    Many nearby restaurants have closed their restrooms.  Owners say their facilities are not equipped to handle so many people.

    Unsanitary conditions prompted New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to order the park closed in stages on Friday for a cleanup.  Bloomberg says the city is trying to protect the rights of protesters, as well as the rights of people who live and work in the area.  

    You May Like

    Video US Observes Memorial Day With Wreath-laying, National Concert

    Obama lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora