Weekend happenings: Take Wall Street Meets Union Square, and Marina Abramovic Lunches at a Soup Kitchen

It was an interesting weekend in New York City!

On Saturday, I was innocently having a coffee at Joe’s after some Greenmarket shopping when I was swept along by protesters who were marching up 5th Avenue from Wall Street, where they have been occupying the streets since September 17th as a statement against capitalism.

The New York Times’ Ginia Bellafante wrote what I think is an apt critique of this #takewallstreet movement. She pointed out that its decentralized organization and anonymous (literally, Anonymous) sponsorship makes it seem like an incoherent and poorly aimed reaction to the obvious fact that capitalism as we know it is causing more ills than good.

Bellafante wrote:

“The group’s lack of cohesion and its apparent wish to pantomime progressivism rather than practice it knowledgeably is unsettling in the face of the challenges so many of its generation face – finding work, repaying student loans, figuring out ways to finish college when money has run out.”

And the best part is the end of the article, when a NYSE trader walks by the protest in Zuccotti Park and scoffs: “Look at these kids, sitting here with their Apple computers. Apple, one of the biggest monopolies in the world. It trades at $400 a share. Do they even know that?”

I will say, however, that the energy I felt when the marchers (maybe two to three hundred of them) paraded by me, stopping traffic, with a train of NYPD following them on all sides, filled the streets with a spark of something difficult to describe. Maybe it reminded us that complacency is perhaps just as subject to critique as a disorganized and poorly articulated protest stunt.


On Sunday, I found myself having lunch with Marina Abramovic.  Read more

News: Housing voucher cut from New York budget; thousands of shelter and affordable-housing residents wonder what to do.

This is the article I reported on and wrote with support from the crowdfunding citizen journalism site, spot.us

A related version of this story was produced for Bed-Stuy Patch.

Thousands of people who were promised the New York Department of Homeless Services’ Advantage housing voucher are uncertain about where they will be living next month after Gov. Andrew Cuomo cut the voucher from the state budget on March 14.

The effects of the cut will reach thousands of people currently living in city shelters, as well as up to 15,000 individuals and families who use the voucher to pay for affordable housing units.

But the Advantage voucher was merely a Band-Aid covering a large wound that persists in New York City’s affordable-housing system, according to homeless advocacy organizations such as Coalition for the Homeless, whose staff has spoken out about the voucher’s role as a “revolving door” to homelessness. Read more