Meanwhile Security group member Brendan Burke, a tall bad-ass looking dude who has been volunteering at the park since the second week, told The New York Observer that there have been “three or four” incidents of sexual assault in Zuccotti Park. But since Security — now working with a group called Community Alliance — deals in mediation and conflict resolution and have no authority to check people’s tents or act as bouncers to the park — they have directed these women to file complaints with the NYPD.
Nor will they be feeding them gourmet meals: as reported, the kitchen has scaled back its services in attempt to dissuade homeless people and the rumored convicts from Rikers Island that the NYPD is allegedly dropping off at the park from cohabiting the park and turning the movement into something more resembling a soup kitchen/homeless shelter. We overhear a conversation between a woman and a member of the Comfort station: she is asking for a tent for a party, and he is taking down her information. “We’re making sure everyone has a phone or email address,” he tells her, “just so we’re not giving away our supplies to the uh…you know…the homeless.” He then quickly apologizes for saying “that word.” But it’s clear that resources, especially for food, shelter, and clothing, are being rationed as closely as possible.
If this seems a little harsh — what happened to the ‘come one, come all’ mentality? — it is obviously out of necessity. Maybe it is the cold weather, or the drop in morale from the lack of Internet connection, but the scene down at Zuccotti Park is much grimmer than ones we’ve previously encountered. There seems to be a lot more heated arguments, a lot more panhandlers, and at least 10 guys stop and chat us up about our legs.
What’s the statistic on how many sexual assaults get reported? 1 in 10?
Yeah, Zuccotti Park is definitely the kind of place you want to bring your teenage daughter to visit.