As Occupy Wall Street stretches into its third week at Zuccotti Park, it seems the fate of the protest in its current incarnation rests in the hands of the park's landlord—not the NYPD. According to DNAInfo, an NYPD detective said that the executives of Brookfield Properties, who manage the park, are the only ones who can kick out protesters.
Det. Rick Lee, a community affairs officer at lower Manhattan's 1st Precinct, explained the situation to locals at Community Board 1's Financial District Committee meeting last night. "A representative for Brookfield would go into the park and say, 'You're in violation of the rules of the park. You have to leave.' If they don't leave, they're trespassing. Then the police would get involved." So it's Brookfield's move to make: "That’s the scenario. Politically, when that button is going to be pushed is beyond my pay grade...I couldn't tell you."
Last week, Brookfield officials released a statement saying that the park management recognizes people's right to peaceful protest, but they "also have an obligation to ensure that the park remains safe, clean, and accessible to everyone." It also notes that the park hasn't been cleaned since September 16, one day before the protests began, and that "sanitary conditions have reached unacceptable levels." OWS spokesman Patrick Bruner told us the group was trying to address many of those problems before things got any worse.
But the larger point is that despite his ominous intonations, Bloomberg can't personally remove protesters from the streets of the park. And even if Brookfield doesn't kick them out, protesters have another major problem on the immediate horizon: the weather. Many protesters and OWS organizers are scrambling to find a solution to cold weather conditions, and thus far have only found that they can't afford the proper gear to keep people warm.