Brookfield Office Properties
Representatives of Brookfield Office Properties, which owns the publicly accessible park, were notified of the impending raid at around midnight, an hour before it began, according to someone familiar with the course of events.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg reiterated this morning that Brookfield Office Properties, rather than the city of New York, has the ultimate say in how to manage the Occupy Wall Street protesters camped out in the landlord's privately owned, publicly accessible Zuccotti Park.
Assemblyman and Brooklyn Democratic boss Vito Lopez would like to see Occupy Wall Street result in a new millionaire's tax. But despite his experience and skill as a political organizer, he's not sure yet how one goes about harnessing the broadly liberal energy coming out of Zuccotti Park.
At 7 p.m. on Thursday night, 12 hours before the city was to facilitate a scheduled “cleaning”of Zuccotti Park by its owners, Jordan McCarthy, the de facto head of Occupy Wall Street's Sanitation Working Group, was at work making the place shine.
The park's owners, Brookfield Office Properties, had, with the city's blessing, directed that the protesters make way for a day-long cleaning. Brookfield had promised that the demonstrators would be able to return after the cleaning, but that they’d have to abide by a new set of rules that precluded, among other things, possession of sleeping bags and laying down.
Bloomberg said the park's owner, Brookfield Office Properties, "got lots of calls, from many elected officials, threatening them."
The mayor declined to identify the elected officials.
Speaking on WOR710 for his regularly scheduled weekly appearance, Bloomberg said it was around midnight when Brookfield called off the scheduled cleaning and enforcement of new rules that would have prohibited overnight stays.
At 6:30 this morning, as police and protesters braced for conflict over a scheduled clean-up of Zuccotti Park by the park's owners that would at least temporarily have displaced the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office sent out the following statement, from Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway:
“Late last night, we received notice from the owners of Zuccotti Park – Brookfield Properties – that they are postponing their scheduled cleaning of the park, and for the time being withdrawing their request from earlier in the week for police assistance during their cleaning operation. Our position has been consistent throughout: the City’s role is to protect public health and safety, to enforce the law, and guarantee the rights of all New Yorkers. Brookfield believes they can work out an arrangement with the protesters that will ensure the park remains clean, safe, available for public use and that the situation is respectful of residents and businesses downtown, and we will continue to monitor the situation.”
As we've reported, and as this statement indicates, it is technically at the discretion of the owner, Brookfield Office Properties, to make the determination about how long the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators will be allowed to stay in the park, and what rules they'll have to abide by.
A new notice from the company that owns Zuccotti Park said the area will be cleaned in three stages "while remaining portions of the Park can continue to be used." But once cleaning is done, the area will be re-opened for "lawful use consistent with our regulations."
A spokeswoman for the company, Brookfield Office Properties, confirmed they wrote and distributed the notice. (The Associated Press reported earlier on the new rules, but did not have confirmation from the company.) Copies of the notice were handed out to people at the park and passed along to me by an interested reader.
Zuccotti Park landlord's shared interests with the city (and genial reputation) mean an 'occupation' decision is likely to be mutual
New York City has more than its fair share of bare-knuckled, ball-busting caricatures for landlords. Luckily for the protesters camping out in Zuccotti Park near Wall Street, Brookfield Office Properties, the vast, publicly traded, Canadian real-estate conglomerate that controls the public-private park, is not one of them.
“Sheldon Solow would already be in four courts suing,” said one real estate executive, referring to the notoriously litigious owner of the inward-sloping black-and-white skyscraper at 9 West 57th Street.
The end-game at Zuccotti Park? According to the NYPD, the landlord has to 'push the political button'
In public statements, the park's owners have gently suggested to the city that it is past time to restore the space to its normal use, and has posted signs in the park objecting to the sleeping bags, tarps, and use of benches as beds throughout the space by Occupy Wall Street protesters.
But they've stopped there, according to a representative of the New York Police Department who attended a community board meeting last night. He said that Brookfield Properties would have to formally declare the protesters trespassers. It's something the real-estate company hasn't yet done, but when and if it does, it is likely to result in the clearing of the park by police.(3)
Owners of the park at the center of the Occupy Wall Street protests are losing patience, but what can they do?
At the moment, all sides hint that negotiations are underway over how this might be brought to a close.
“We continue to work with the City of New York to address these conditions,” said Brookfield in yesterday’s statement, “and restore the park to its intended purpose.”
But neither the mayor’s office nor the New York City Policy Department have returned Capital's requests for comment on what that process might look like.(3)
For the anti-corporate Occupy Wall Street demonstrators, the semi-corporate status of Zuccotti Park may be a boon
"You're worried about sanitation," Michael Bloomberg said on John Gambling's radio show Friday, talking about how long the protestors who have been gathered for two weeks near Wall Street might reasonably be allowed to stay. "You're worried about lots of—there’s lots of laws on the books of what you can do in parks and that sort of thing."
But what are the rules about gathering and speaking out when a place isn't actually a park? What determines the point at which demonstrators officially wear out their welcome?