This morning, the few protesters who sat through the night in Zuccotti Park, along with those who called the square a temporary home for the past month, were faced with perhaps their greatest challenge yet: how to recreate a semblance of the order and infrastructure that existed before the raid.
At the two entrances to the barricaded Park (one on the north side of the park, the other on the south), Brookfield security guards are heavily monitoring the possessions that protesters are bringing into the space, banning "large bags," sleeping material, and other objects of creature comfort at their discretion.
To combat this, a protester named Chris who declined to give his last name was running a "Bag Check" area at the side of the plaza, in front of Brown Brothers Harriman. "We just started [the Bag Check] this morning," Chris told us. "They are not letting sizable bags of any sort into the park, but people still want to go in, so basically, we're allowed to have people check their bags here if there is someone watching them at all times," But an hour after we spoke with Chris, the NYPD shut down the Bag Check headquarters. According to Chris, they offered no explanation other than "they just don't want it."
Another protester, Zach (also requesting anonymity) is fed up with what he sees as a seemingly arbitrary enforcement of rules. "Security just makes up rules," Zach says. "They made up a rule that you can't bring these foam things into the park. This lady came yesterday with a foam pad to put on top of the cold stones and they stopped her. The only reason they are regulating what comes in to the park is to decrease our numbers. Bloomberg is turning out to be a flat out criminal—now we're going to have people dying in this park from hypothermia."
Others are more hopeful about rebuilding the Occupy Wall Street movement's headquarters despite the regulations. Steven Boyer, a representative from the blossoming, second incarnation of the People's Library, explains to us, "When [the NYPD] came into the park they threw everything into sanitation trucks and dumpsters and those vehicles compacted everything. Everything was dropped off at a location on 57th Street, where there is now a huge pile of resources that were compacted into rubbish."
He continues, "Right now librarians are digging through it, because they told us we could get our stuff back. They didn't promise it would be in perfect condition but librarians are digging through it anyways, salvaging the books that are okay. But we're pretty sure 90% of the books are destroyed." (Or are they missing?)
Boyer and other librarians are now fostering ways to re-create the collection, which just two days ago held approximately 5,554 books. He tells us, "Yesterday as soon as the park opened up, someone set a book [on the ledge] and put a sign up that said 'People's Library'. People have been steadily bringing in books ever since and we've retrieved about 500 so far." Though the police have seen the new library, Boyer thinks they'll leave it alone. "The whole world has reacted to them destroying the People's Library and I don't think they would destroy it twice."
Another outpost of the Park that remains unmolested by cops and security is the Medical area, which is a shadow of its former self, but still functioning. Oscar, a protester from Bushwick, Brooklyn, tells us, "We have a lot of resources in the Medical area. Nobody wants to be that guy who'd be held responsible if someone needed medical attention. I wish we had the Info center back, but we think most of the people with Information are still in jail."