On Friday, I was assigned to attend yet another Health Fair on Wall Street - the second in as many weeks. I was surprised to see that the NYPD had set up cordons around a PUBLIC street and was asking for badges (employee ID's) and/or ID's. I was most surprised - shocked even, that at 9.30 on a Friday morning on an innocuous day in October, the NYPD would take such a tack.
Many of the employees of Wall Street seemed pleased at not having to deal with the annoying, pesky flies in their mega bucks ointment, with their pressed blouses and heels, and starched shirts and designer suits. They showed their ID's and waltzed through as though they had not a care in the world.
I was not quite sure how to approach my particular situation, knowing full well that I had no employee badge, but every credible right to be there.
I approached a camerawoman from New York Post.com - she is not affiliated with the rag, rather she claims to be from a reputable news show. I have googled the website she gave me, but all I can come up with is the tabloid esque paper. She was not able to get onto Wall Street at that time, per se, rather was relegated to filming from the other side of the barricades. I found that to be quite remarkable given that she had press credentials.
I summoned my courage and recalled all of those difficult times and altercations I had in the Salt Lake City Mayor's office. I walked stridently up to the police officer and indicated that while I did not work on Wall Street, nor did I have, as such, an employee ID badge, I had business there. He gruffly told me to walk along and talk with his colleagues who were keeping guard further down the street.
I explained my story further and was granted access. Were I not on the clock, I would have gone down to the park and tried to interview folks on Friday but that was not the case. As fate would have it, my colleague who speaks some English but not great English, was waving to me from the "checkpoint charlie" area, trying to get my attention - the powers that be realized I was walking with a cane and allowed him to approach me with the rolling case of glass samples.
On my way home, I purposely walked past the park and past Chase One Plaza because I wanted to see again what was taking place during this amazing time in our lives.
It has been said that Chase is paying for the over $2 million in overtime that NYC has paid out to cops thus far and I have to say I have no reason to disbelieve this. I can tell you that the P.D. is getting weary - they are constantly yelling - "move along" "don't block the sidewalk" "not everyone wants to be here" - maybe so, but there are plenty of people who do and they are sporting peace signs and thinking of John Lennon and Bob Marley.
In tribute to these two great men whom we lost much too young, I stopped off at an artist's booth and spent my last $35 on NY city mini photographs made to look like Bob Marley and John Lennon respectively.