May Day! The Voice Staff's Live Coverage of Occupy Wall Street's M1NYC

Occupy Spring .png
Hello and welcome to the afternoon shift of the Village Voice's liveblog of May Day 2012, as the Occupy Wall Street movement calls for a "General Strike" and a day of protests around the city. Our reporters and photographers remain fanned out across the boroughs. We'll continue liveblogging their dispatches right here and bringing you the latest news as it happens. We also invite you follow us on Twitter (@VillageVoice) and you can also follow our correspondents from the scene: Nick Pinto, C.S. Muncy, Victoria Bekiempis, James King, Ben Sin, Sam Levin, John Surico, Robert Sietsema, Tejal Rao, yours truly, and, covering the OWS music events for our sister blog Sound of the City, Maura Johnston.

Stay tuned!

6:30 PM: We're wrapping up our live coverage of May Day, but you can still follow our writers' tweets here. In the meanwhile, check out this photo of the march on Broadway.

James King

6:10 PM: Steven Thrasher snagged some video of a bizarrely car-less Broadway.

6 PM: Oh Captain! My Captain? Doesn't matter whose Captain -- Maura Johnston has a snapshot of Captain America.


Steven Thrasher says that pedestrians are leaving Broadway, which is closed, and "strolling leisurely in advance of march" as the street is locked off.

5:50 PM:Protesters now marching down Broadway. There's a man dressed as Captain America standing in window, C.S. Muncy says.

Ben Sin reports that New York Taxi Workers Alliance is marching in their taxis.

And Nick Pinto tweets that an immigrant rights group has busted through barricades, creating "some disorder." Graham Rayman tells us that some protesters are headed toward City Hall.

5:21 PM: James King reports that around 50 scooter cops are stationed on 9th Street, apparently waiting for march.

James King

5:05 PM:Graham Rayman tells us: "My source is predicting arrests will begin soon at Union Square. Correction vans are waiting."

Steven Thrasher says: "I saw a LOT of vans on Third Avenue on my bike an hour ago...maybe 50 vans."

And Camille Dodero, who was in the Union Square subway station some 20 minutes ago, noticed around 50 officers inside the station.

4:55 PM: Maura Johnston warns that phone reception is dodgy in Union Square, but Das Racist just took the stage. Nick Pinto recently tweeted: "I'm told the path of the march is double-barricaded all the way down from Union Square. Not unusual for a big march. Some #OWS-ers peeved." Meanwhile, in Seattle, black-clad protestors smashed store windows.

4:15 PM: Earlier in Fort Greene Park, Sam Levin chatted with 19-year-old Ana Leguillou, a senior at Paul Robeson who marshaled the student walkout.

3:50 PM: For your viewing pleasure, Ben Sin shot a clip of Guitarmy serenading cops!

3:40 PM: Nick Pinto tweets that Union Square is so packed "it's hard to move." South access to the park is barricaded. On the south side, "immigrant-rights advocates have the mic on a huge sound system. At the NW corner, I see AFSCME hats and #OWS banners."

Also, pictured below is a leftist maypole!

Nick Pinto

3:28 PM: C.S. Muncy was just threatened with arrest at Waverly Place and Sixth Avenue. He says: "I was getting pushed into the sidewalk. I didn't have any place to go. I couldn't go any further. A plainclothes officer in a windbreaker pulls me aside and says: 'You'll be arrested. I've been watching you all day.'" The Voice reached out to the NYPD for comment on this.

Muncy also says that there were three or four more arrests. One man got extremely roughed up, and cops put a shirt over his bloodied face so the crowd couldn't see. Blood then soaked through the fabric, Muncy says.

3:20 PM: More from Rayman: "Some of the police officers have been at Union Square since midnight." Others arrived at 4 AM and still others at noon, he says. The Police Department has jails onsite at Union Square.

3:07 PM: This just in from Graham Rayman: "All arrests at Union Square will be processed at One Police Plaza, police sources say." Rayman explains that there is a series of holding cells in the back of the plaza.

2:55 PM: Robert Sietsema is on the scene in front of St. Vincent's and tells us: "There's about 60 demonstrators walking around in a circle, some of them costumed with bloody bandages. Among them are doctors and nurses who used to work at St. Vincent's before it was closed last year. The average age of the demonstrators is probably 60, with several walking with difficulty with canes and walkers. Clearly, the closing of the hospital has had a devastating impact on many lives."

Robert Sietsema

2:42 PM: James King has kept us in the loop about arrests. Cops say they found a hammer in an occupiers' bag at Sara Roosevelt Park. C.S. Muncy also has more details on the black bloc's attacks on the press, tweeting: "Another protester thre[w] a black paint bomb at a photographer." At least two other photographers also got in fights with black bloc members, who were trying to take their cameras, he says. Muncy explains: "Interaction between the black bloc and the press, it's pretty ugly. I had a couple grab at my lens." He says there are around 600 people in Washington Square Park and a half dozen arrests. Before, at Roosevelt Park, he said that cops had"started grabbing people made a bunch of arrests" before they even got down from the steps onto Houston.

James King

2:17 PM: At the Wildcat rally, Nick Pinto says that scooter cops are "aggressively" herding a woman in a wheelchair. Also, he notes several more arrests -- first, two cyclists, then another individual on Lafayette and Houston, who yelled: "I am not resisting!" C.S. Muncy also just documented several more arrests in Washington Square Park.

1:50 PM: Meanwhile, in front of the Bank of America tower, Ben Sin reports on a small crowd that has gathered to protest, among other things, hydraulic fracturing:

Ben Sin

1:43 PM: Sam Levin is at Fort Greene Park, where the student marches have merged. He took video of Paul Robeson and Brooklyn Tech students chanting together:

1:22 PM: Nick Pinto is with the Wildcat March at Houston and 2nd and as promised, they are a tad more aggressive with their message:

Nick Pinto

1:05: From Sam Levin, a Paul Robeson student holding up the "Bill of Student Rights":


It reads:
NYC DOE Bill of Student Rights and Responsibilities: Section: 1
Receive courtesy and respect from others regardless of actual or perceived age, race, creed, color, gender, gender expression, gender identity, national origin, immigration status, citizenship, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, political beliefs.

12:35 PM: Sam Levin is walking with students from Paul Robeson High School as they march toward Fort Greene Park. He reports that about "50-60" students are making the trek. Their Mic Check: "The city of New York is shutting this school down after years of neglect..."

Sam Levin

12:28 PM: Steven Thrasher is at Brooklyn Technical High School, where students have walked out and commenced their march:

Steven Thrasher

12:08 PM: Victoria Bekiempis is marching with protestors over the Williamsburg Bridge. She reports that "Police took Occupiers' shopping cart, which contained some type of shields. Boos ensued," and that there have been four arrests so far. One of the arrestees, Greg, 21, "says he does not know why arrested. Says not read rights yet":


11:34 AM: Much of the march has wound back to Bryant Park, where people seem to be regrouping and chilling out:




11:18 AM: Contrast:



11:03 AM: James King captures an arrest on 44th Street and 5th Avenue. "Riot cops tackled protester after he ran across 44 St. Not sure what he did. Took 6 cops for 175 lb kid."

James King

10:45 AM: Victoria is in Continental Plaza in Williamsburg, at the base of the Williamsburg Bridge. She calls in that, "There are about 200 protestors, and at least 50 or 60 cops. The cops are telling them that [when they cross the bridge] they can't impede pedestrian traffic or bicycle traffic. They are saying no banners are allowed on the bridge. It's a pretty young crowd, but a diverse crowd. There are also people in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s. Someone has a baby stroller.

Victoria Bekiempis
Continental Plaza in Williamsburg

Victoria Bekiempis
Continental Plaza in Williamsburg

10:25 AM: Despite schlepping around in the cold and the rain, Voice writers have not lost their sense of humor:







Corporate Fat Cats.jpg

10:10 AM: Victoria Bekiempis is meeting up with a group of protestors leaving Brooklyn and crossing the Williamsburg Bridge into Manhattan. Meanwhile. Robert Sietsema sends another picture showing that the Voice itself is being barricaded!

Robert Sietsema
Free the Voice!

9:45 AM: Robert Sietsema sends this picture from Union Square, confirming that the NYPD has a massive barricade operation going up there.

Robert Sietsema
Union Square South with a double barricade

Robert writes: "I don't think I've ever seen so many barricades in 1 place. The barricades are doubled along 14th street and Union Square and are being set up all the way to sixth avenue, not only 1 set but concentric circles of barricades focusing on the stage that's been setup right across from whole foods. Pedestrians coming out of the subway bewildered by the maze." More on his report here.

9:15 AM: The Voice team is now out in full swing. Photographer C.S. is with a flank of about 40 OWS protestors near the Times building, John Surico is at the Bank of America Tower, and Nick Pinto is near Fox News. Staff writer James King is also near the B of A tower, and tweets:


Over at Gothamist, Christopher Robbins (once on our list of the 100 Most Powerless New Yorkers for never being able to get a press pass, but now he has one!) reports that in Bryant Park: " when no one was looking the Parks Dept took away the marijuana banner." Also:

8:55 AM: Ustream now has a live feed up from Bryant Park:

Stream videos at Ustream

8:45 AM: Nick is following a group of pickets approaching the Bank of America tower. He notes that groups of picketers in Bryant Park are preparing to head out to demonstrate against Disney, HSBC, the New York Times, GE, Paulson and Co., Citi, Chase, and Pfizer.

8:30 AM:Nick sends pictures of some of the cast of characters assembling in Bryant Park. This guy is here:

Nick Pinto
Will he get stopped-and-frisked?

Also, so is the Rude Mechanical Orchestra. (As a former trombone player, we must say we admire the rain protection over their instruments.)
Nick Pinto
Rude Mechanical Orchestra

8:20 AM: Despite a lack of people storming them so far, Les Misérables style, the city is well stocked with police barricades. C.S. noted them at Brooklyn, and John Surico tweets this picture from the Bank of America tower, across the street from Bryant Park. (A little known fact about B of A tower is that it had been the tallest building in the city next to the Empire State Building, so it was downgraded from second to third tallest in the city yesterday with the rise of One World Trade.)

John Surico
B of A tower

In Bryant Park, Nick tweets poetically: "Lots of people walking past the park on their way to work. A scabrous scab myself, I judge them not."

8:00 AM: The heaviest commuting hour is underway, and so far, no reports of transportation disruptions. The NYPD police scanner is very quiet, and in lower Manhattan, there have only been a handful of police incidents, all unrelated to OWS. Nick is now in Bryant Park, the base of today's actions, and tweets: "Rainy and cold in Bryant Park. Less than 200 people huddled here so far."

Nick Pinto
Bryant Park

6:45 AM: Who's on strike, anyway? The unions organizing tonight's rallies did not call for a General Strike. Some reporters you might expect to be covering May Day -- like Salon's Natasha Lennard, arrested last year while covering OWS as a freelancer for the Times -- won't be filing or even tweeting today in solidarity with OWS. And there's one group of New York workers we certainly expect to be working overtime: umbrella sellers.

6:25 AM: Voice photo contributor C.S. Muncy is on the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge, as the NYPD was anticipating OWS might attempt to close the bridge during the morning commute. He tells us, "There's one police car, about 200 feet into the bridge, but that's not at all unusual. There's a news crew under a tent, and they've got all of their gear under the tent. Other than that, it's quiet." C.S. is himself out in the rain, and asked if there's any sign of OWS protestors, replied, "If there are, they are highly concealed. But if there's one thing Occupy protestors are good at, its concealing themselves."steadier around 9am," (with an 80 percent chance it will rain until this evening), these plans might get highly altered as the day goes on.

6:00 AM: Nick has posted an overview of the planned OWS activities around the city today here. However, considering the rolling thunder we're hearing right now, the flash of lightening we saw earlier, and that predicts rain showers "through 12pm...becoming

5:30 AM: It's raining right outside our window as International Workers Day gets underway, and we just saw a what was perhaps a flash of lightening? This weather brings to mind previous musings of whether Mayor Bloomberg, with his infinite wealth, may in fact have access to a James-Bond-villain-style weather machine. Still, even if the wet conditions do suppress demonstrator turnout today to the mayor's liking, we suspect there are three camps who will be equally miserable by it: die-hard OWS protestors who are out anyhow, the unionized labor organizers (who are not participating in the General Strike during the day) behind this evening's rallies, and the legions of NYPD cops who have been stationed around the city since 4 AM in the rain.

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Why was there like only 1 picture in here without vague, contextual protest signage. 

Protestors of May Day step it up.

Village Voice step up your journalism or go find a dick to suck, I was there and while there weren't that many compared to my standards, there were many contextual references that have relevance in the real world in current events. The fact that everything looks so vague makes me question your integrity and whether you are putting a despicable sensationalist spin on your media.At least you have a commenting system so the people can take advantage of your sensational digest hooks.

On the back of my sign in the picture it said "Child Labor Makes Cell Phones" because children in africa are being forced to dig in mines armed with minimal equipment like just picks and shovels, so we can harvest the mineral Coltan. Sounds quaint doesn't it? Women are getting raped so many times in these regions by warring forces fighting for the profit that they can't have children anymore, all because of the strife this kind of imperialism is causing.

I know a software developer in Afghanistan, talking about how around $3 Trillion dollars worth of mineral deposits exist in the country. This war driven scene may reenact itself among the rural poor of this country. 

Right now there is a full scale Maoist revolution going on in India. It's happening because imperialistic mining companies, etc are forcing subsistence farmers and other "lower class" rural poor off their lands without adequate compensation. These people have the option of stuff like moving to the cities and becoming prostitutes, rat killers, or beggars, or mutilating their children or abducted children so that the children can become beggars so that these people can make money. here is a quote from RT ("A growing Maoist group in India is brewing a revolution that could soon spill on to the streets, urging multinational companies (MNCs) out of the country because, they say, globalization causes a widening gap between rich and poor."


Somebody loses the hammer, that freaks the cops out.


I was unable to do anything this morning for May Day. I had to go to the unemployment office and sit with twenty other disillusioned and demoralized 99 percenters of different age and ethnic groups. We sat for 90 minutes to hear about how we should go about looking for a job with information and resume examples from a book published in 2001. The fellow presenting us that outdated information wanted us to participate and then made fun of people in the process. If anyone contradicted him he outright called them a name (I was labeled "Ms. Detective" after advising him the information he gave out about a local employer - that I worked at for five years - was incorrect). If I hadn't gone I'd have lost my benefits. It cost me $2.00 to park, and $10.00 to put a couple of gallons of gas in my car.


May it be a good May Day, and may the police turn into piles of doughnuts spontaneously to feed the protestors, Amen.


when bush was president there were a COUPLE HUNDRED THOUSAND ILLEGAL ALIENS marching on may day, to protest against gringo college types who were against illegal aliens having jobs in usa.

how quickly people forget.

though the college kids in occupy were dumb high school kids at the time, so it's ok that they're too stupid to remember that.

the  liberal media though make sure to CENSOR memories of hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens protesting on may day to keep their american jobs


"And there's one group of New York workers we certainly expect to be working overtime: umbrella sellers."Capitalism in action?


May the wican gods of mother nature blow the smell of starbucks on the college protesters, so that they flock to there instead, and drink ten dollar coffees while complaining about being poor.


Go back to watching Fox News, old man!


the rain is really god pissing on the occupy protesters.

or mother nature pissing on the occupy protesters, if you're a feminist/wican.

and then there's the indian rain dance.....woo woo woo woo, how!

siri star
siri star

Starbucks doesn't sell 10 dollar coffee, in fact the coffee there is not more (or much more) expensive than it is at most places in Manhattan. It's those crazy drinks that get into 5 and 6 dollars..


wow....the liberal and or teenage CLICHED response: "go back to watching fox news, old man!'

wow, you is one creative intellectual.

"go watching fox news...old man"

I bet you took out a one hundred thousand dollar college loan to take up creative writing in college.


you should spare yourself the misery of life and commit suicide

David L
David L

 I'm just a conservative, Southern observer of a foreign culture here on the Village Voice occupy story, but I have to say you win the prize for the worst comments. I saw your comment on the other occupy story where you suggested real Americans would kill the cops and that if you can even get one kid to give up on life and school by your presence in the park sleeping, that it will all be worthwhile.

And THEN on this story you tell somebody you don't even know to kill themselves for simply disagreeing with you on politics? Seriously look deep in your soul, what do you see? Lots of anger? A little disappointment in the way your life turned out? Take life by the balls (or uteri if that's the case), figure out what you're most passionate about in life (other than "social justice" or sleeping in parks) and make that shit happen. Take my advice as a way out of all the negativity you are surrounding yourself with at the Occupy BS.


 Don't pay attention to him - he's some sort of GOP troll.

Al Swearengen
Al Swearengen

I'm sure you're proud of what a mean, stupid little turd of a man you come across as.  Congratulations.

I'll mail your "Wart on the Asshole of Humanity of the Year" award right away.  Display it with pride.


 No I didn't....I enlisted to kill stupid people LIKE YOU.

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