Occupy Wall Street Goes Uptown: Scenes From the March
CNBC.com Senior Writer
NEW YORK—Occupy Wall Street rumbled through the rich part of town Tuesday, bringing its populist denunciations of greed and corporate welfare to mixed reviews from a crowd of Upper East Siders.
Confined previously to a park away from the core of the world's financial center, the group took a tour of some of Manhattan's swankiest neighborhoods.
For the most part, at least, the mix of rich and anti-rich went without incident, and they even found they have some things in common.
"I've been unemployed for over two years. If I had a job I'd be at work today," said Jan Kenyon, who recently became eligible for Medicare. "I think it's important to support the kids."
Kenyon, in fact, represented the not-so-rich who came out to support the protest.
There was the occasional disturbance, to be sure, but the raucous cacophony of dissent went off mostly without a hitch.
"Tax cuts for the rich are preposterous," Gary Hill, a well-dressed accountant, said while watching the parade stomp along Fifth Avenue. "I think they're right. They're doing exactly what they should be doing."
Not everyone was so enamored.
Some found the protest counter-productive, particularly for those bemoaning the lack of jobs.
"Running up and down with a picket sign is not going to get you a job," said Sandy Charnes, a Wall Street assistant who argued with some of the marchers. "They should hire a head-hunter."
Others found nothing particularly remarkable about the Occupy Wall Street protest despite its increasing notoriety.
"There's a general malaise and discontent. We've always had that in this country," said Robert Wachs, a 1964 Harvard Law graduate who recalled being unemployed for three months after getting his degree. "How many millionaires started out with nothing?"
The protest began on 59th Street at Grand Army Plaza. It proceeded up Fifth Avenue and snaked through some of the city's glitziest nabes—past the homes of JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, hedge fund titan James Paulson and News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch.
There was an unmistakable class warfare theme.
One marcher yelled, "eat cake" when passing popular neighborhood cafe Mitchell London, and the crowd amped up the noise when going by uber-trendy eatery Daniel.
Frustration was high, and the protesters let the elite know it, chanting "we are the 99 percent" throughout the day.
"These folks are getting more and more, and everyone else is getting less and less," said Mike Kink, who has emerged as a leading voice for the OWS group. "We have to make the point that government and private institutions should work for everyone and not just a select few."