The plaza of Zuccotti Park
|Location||New York City, United States|
|Area||33,000-square-foot (3,100 m2)|
|Etymology||Named after John E. Zuccotti, Brookfield Office Properties CEO|
|Operated by||Brookfield Office Properties|
|Status||Open all year|
Zuccotti Park, formerly called Liberty Plaza Park, is a 33,000-square-foot (3,100 m2) publicly accessible park in Lower Manhattan, New York City. It is a privately owned public space (POPS) controlled by Brookfield Properties.
Liberty Plaza park was created in 1968 by Pittsburgh-based United States Steel, after the property owners negotiated its creation with city officials. It was named Liberty Plaza Park as it was situated beside One Liberty Plaza, between Broadway, Trinity Place, Liberty Street and Cedar Street. The park's northwest corner is across the street from Four World Trade Center. It has been popular with local tourists and financial workers.
The park was heavily damaged in the September 11 attacks and subsequent recovery efforts of 2001. The plaza was later used as the site of several events commemorating the anniversary of the attacks. After renovations in 2006, the park was renamed by its current owners, Brookfield Office Properties, after company chairman John Zuccotti.
In 2011, the plaza became the site of the Occupy Wall Street protest camp. During the demonstration, activists occupied the plaza and used it as a staging ground for their protests throughout the Manhattan Financial District.
The site was the location of the first coffeehouse in colonial New York City, The King's Arms which opened under the ownership of Lieutenant John Hutchins in 1696. It stood on the west side of Broadway between Crown (now Liberty) Street and Little Prince (now Cedar) Street.  On November 5, 1773, summoned by the Sons of Liberty, a huge crowd assembled outside the coffee house to denounce the Tea Act, and agents of the East India Trading company who were handling cargoes of dutied tea. It was perhaps the first public demonstration in opposition to Tea Act in the American colonies.
Creation and early background
The park, formerly called Liberty Plaza Park, was created in 1968 by Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel in return for a height bonus for an adjacent building at the time of its construction. The U.S. Steel Building, which replaced the demolished Singer Building, is now known as One Liberty Plaza.
The park was one of the few open spaces with tables and seats in the Financial District. Located one block from the World Trade Center, it was covered with debris, and subsequently used as a staging area for the recovery efforts after the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. As part of the Lower Manhattan rebuilding efforts, the park was regraded, trees were planted, and the tables and seating restored.
Post-September 11 reconstruction
On June 1, 2006, the park reopened after an $8 million renovation designed by Cooper, Robertson & Partners. It was renamed Zuccotti Park in honor of John E. Zuccotti, former City Planning Commission chairman and first deputy mayor under Abe Beame and now the chairman of Brookfield Properties, which used private money to renovate the park. Currently, the park has a wide variety of trees, granite sidewalks, tables and seats, as well as lights built into the ground, which illuminate the area.
With its proximity to Ground Zero, Zuccotti Park is a popular tourist destination. The World Trade Center cross, which was previously housed at St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church, was featured in a ceremony held in Zuccotti Park before it was moved to the 9/11 Memorial.
Joie de Vivre, a 70-foot-tall sculpture consisting of bright-red beams, was installed in Zuccotti Park in 2006, having been moved from its previous installation in the Storm King Art Center. Benjamin Genocchio, an Australian art critic, commented that the sculpture suited the location, "nicely echoing the skyscrapers around it."
Occupy Wall Street
On September 17, 2011, the "Occupy Wall Street" protest began using Zuccotti Park as a campground and staging area for their actions. Some of the protesters displayed a placard welcoming visitors to "Liberty Park", an informal return to a version of the park's original name. The organizers had originally planned to occupy One Chase Manhattan Plaza, but the plaza was closed.
Because Zuccotti Park is not a publicly owned space, it is not subject to ordinary public park curfew. New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said on September 28, 2011, that the NYPD could not bar protesters from Zuccotti Park since it is a public plaza that is required to stay open 24 hours a day. "In building this plaza, there was an agreement it be open 24 hours a day," Kelly said. "The owners have put out regulations [about what's allowed in park]. The owners will have to come in and direct people not to do certain things." A spokesperson for Brookfield Properties, the owner of the park, expressed concern: "Zuccotti Park is intended for the use and enjoyment of the general public for passive recreation. We are extremely concerned with the conditions that have been created by those currently occupying the park and are actively working with the City of New York to address these conditions and restore the park to its intended purpose."
On October 6, 2011, it was reported that Brookfield Office Properties, which owns Zuccotti Park, had issued a statement which said, "Sanitation is a growing concern ... Normally the park is cleaned and inspected every weeknight... because the protestors refuse to cooperate ... the park has not been cleaned since Friday, September 16th and as a result, sanitary conditions have reached unacceptable levels." To protect and clean the park, protesters volunteered to sweep the areas of the plaza and posted signs urging each other to avoid damaging the flower beds.
Starting at roughly 1 am local time on November 15, NYPD began clearing Zuccotti Park. After a court order was released allowing them to return, police refused to allow them back in. Later that day, the New York Supreme Court that issued the injunction ruled against allowing protesters to camp or sleep in Zuccotti Park. At midnight on December 31, 2011 about 500 protestors clashed with police when they attempted to re-occupy the park. Sixty-eight people were arrested within several hours.
Steel barriers restricting access to the park were removed on January 10, 2012. On January 24, Occupy Wall Street protesters dropped their lawsuit against the city and Brookfield for the imposition of rules which prohibited their tents, generators, and other installations from the park. The rules restricting these items had been upheld in court and enforced in the park.
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- Moynihan, Colin (September 19, 2011). "Wall Street Protests Continue, With at Least 6 Arrested". The New York Times. Retrieved October 13, 2011.
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- Scola, Nancy (October 5, 2011). "For the Anti-corporate Occupy Wall street demonstrators, the semi-corporate status of Zuccotti Park may be a boon". Capitalnewyork.com. Capital New York Media Group, Inc. Retrieved October 13, 2011.
- Fractenberg, Ben (September 28, 2011). "Zuccotti Park Can't Be Closed to Wall Street Protesters, NYPD Says". DNA Info. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
- "Protesters To Be ‘Met With Force’ If They Target Officers". CBS News. October 6, 2011. Retrieved October 13, 2011.
- "Occupy Wall Street Protesters Leave Washington Square Park, Return To Zuccotti Park". Cbslocal.com. CBS Broadcasting Inc. October 8, 2011.
- Barron, James; Moynihan, Colin (November 14, 2011). "Police Begin Clearing Zuccotti Park of Protester". The New York Times. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
- "Police move in to evict Occupy protesters from New York park". CNN. November 15, 2011. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
- "Order to Show Cause and Temporary Restraining Order". Retrieved November 19, 2011.
- "In the Matter of the Application of JENNIFER WALLER et al.". Retrieved November 19, 2011.
- "OWS Clash With Police At Zuccotti Park". Retrieved January 1, 2012.
- Moynihan, Colin (January 24, 2012). "Occupy Wall Street Drops Suit on Zuccotti Park". New York Times. Retrieved January 25, 2012.
- Crovitz, L Gordon (January 29, 2012). "Occupy AstroTurf. The 'movement' faded as soon as the tents were removed.". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 29, 2012.
- Media related to Zuccotti Park at Wikimedia Commons