On Monday, Day 6 producer Dominic Girard stopped in on the Occupy Wall Street protest at Zuccotti Park in New York, just to take in the atmosphere. Click through for a few quick snaps and observations from that day.
It may have become the central focal point for many to voice their dissatisfaction or outright rage at Wall Street corporations, the government, capitalism itself, and so on. But it's worth noticing that Zuccotti Park - the central rallying site of the Occupy Wall Street movement - has also become a tourist attraction.
After all, this is a human zoo. And it's populated by marchers, drummers, anarchists, hippies, yuppies, veterans and newbies, face-painters, community kitchen runners, afternoon nappers, cigarette rollers, costumed performers, communists, disillusioned capitalists, average joes and joannes, anti-war war vets, the unemployed, the underemployed, "I have a job and I'm with you" types, social media promoters, food vendors, t-shirt sellers, kids, grandmas, tech heads, podcasters, broadcasters, police and at least one girl in body paint.
Walking through Zuccotti Park, I was at first awed by how organized, how normal, it felt. Over in this area is where people sleep. Next to that is the community kitchen. The computer and media workstations are up over there. There's a "People's Library", complete with seating area.
There's even a "People's Tobacco" table, where volunteers spend time rolling cigarettes for those wanting.
The signs are everywhere, of course. Some of the less expected ones read "Cops are the 99% too", "Pepper spray is not vegan", "Stop taking pictures and ask me a question" and "We're here | We're unclear | Get used to it."
He was from North Dakota, by the way. He sells cars for a living, and he does it well enough his boss gave him leave to grab a bus to New York. He doesn't know how long he'll be there, but he told me he brought his winter mitts.
The drum circle - I'm pretty sure you're not allowed to occupy a public space without a drum circle these days - was predictably energized. But it was the kid in the dress pants and tie that caught my attention most.
With these kinds of protests, you can always expect (and respect) a certain constituency of people to come out... honestly, rare are the protests I've noticed where people in suits are marching for change.
Seeing this man be part of it - and there were others too, some in even more expensive threads - makes a tourist like me pause just a little longer and wonder, perhaps rightly, perhaps wrongly, I'm not sure - that the people protesting down by Wall Street truly do cut across all incomes and cultures in America.
The human zoo is alive, and seeing it might be the most interesting thing any New York visitor can do at the moment. Just remember, maybe you stop taking pictures for a second, and ask a question.