"Is this the end of the line for the anarchists' buffet?" We nodded at the smiling, silver-bearded man as he took his place at the very end of the Occupy Wall Street chow line in Zuccotti Park. A few hours earlier, demonstrators had marched from Washington Square Park to Lower Manhattan without incident—a peaceful result that had eluded the last three major Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. A blue-shirted sergeant strolled through the crowded park, sipping a Slurpee-like beverage. One man asked where he had purchased it, and in the ensuing exchange we snapped a photo. The sergeant leaned into our ear and peered down through his aviators: "You're not gonna post that on YouTube, right?"

While yesterday's event was far smaller than Wednesday's affair, well over a thousand people crammed into the park for the nightly general assembly meeting, including Gail Moran and Sarah Underhill, who had driven in from New Paltz. "We had to see it and we just had to support it," Underhill said. Both women dispelled the idea that the protesters were mainly young and white. "If you just walk around here you know that's not true," Moran, an administrative assistant at a manufacturing company said. Would they be spending the night? "Oh no," Underhill said. "I'm staying with my friend in the East Village." She did have a week off from her job as an RN coming up, "so now I just want to come back down—I don't really want to leave."

As the movement grows, the task of coexisting in such a small space with so many people becomes increasingly trying. Halfway through the meeting, a young man approached an older, thickly bearded protester munching on a plate of food. "Get the fuck off my bed, yo!" He was referring to a thin ground pad underneath a tub of baby wipes that he had apparently arranged on one of the marble benches. "I thought it was a bench," the bearded man meekly replied, as those around him bristled at the young man's hostility. "Use those big eyes you got. This is a bed, dumbass."

Another older man in a helmet covered in union insignias tried to skip the 40-minute-long food line. "All these fat fucking tourists are eating my food. I been camping here every night!" A kitchen worker quietly told him that he'd have to wait like everyone else. "Jesus, fucking bullshit," and off he walked.

Sanitation in the park, an issue often raised by the movement's detractors, may pose the biggest challenge as more people join the protests. "There really needs to be better trash management," Underhill said. She assists in coordinating the sanitation efforts at Pete Seeger's Clearwater Festival every year. "And composting toilets would help too, but they're going to need a sanitary place to keep them, and a van," she shook her head as if recognizing the financial restraints placed on the protesters. "We'll do everything we can to help."

As the human mic droned on, some people peeled off to enjoy the music playing on the west side of the park. They had the choice between a booming drum circle and a quartet of guitarists and a saxophone player. We caught up with the sergeant who had told us to keep his fraternizations with the protesters private. "People are so tech savvy, they're liable to take my picture and juxtapose it with something else, something I didn't do," he said. Didn't he think that the protesters would cheer a cop that spent time with them without icy stares or pepper spray? "Maybe," he shrugged, before resuming his lean on a barricade.