A frustrated Mayor Bloomberg ripped the Occupy Wall Street protesters yesterday as a bunch of selfish job killers -- lashing out at the stagnant movement that has dragged out for three weeks, according to the New York Post.
“What they’re trying to do is to take the jobs from the people working in the city,” he said on his weekly WOR radio show.
“They’re trying to take away the tax base we have, because none of this is good for tourism,” Hizzoner huffed about the thousands of activists in Zuccotti Park downtown.
Bloomberg was replying to a caller complaining about the noisy occupation.
“If the jobs they’re trying to get rid of in the city -- the people that work in finance, which is a big part of our economy -- go away, we’re not going to have any money to pay our municipal employees or clean the parks or anything else,” the mayor said.
The anti-corporate protesters plan to hit Washington Square Park today for a “general assembly.”
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, who said the protests have cost the NYPD nearly $2 million in on-duty overtime, warned that activists would be arrested if they don’t leave Washington Square at its 1 a.m. curfew.
The gathering this afternoon is aimed at hashing out the group’s plans, protesters said yesterday.
“City parks have curfews, yes,” the commissioner said. “We hope people will abide by the law.”
Police have not issued any demonstration permits for Washington Square Park today.
The radio-show caller who ignited Bloomberg’s ire yesterday -- a woman named Marsha -- griped that Zuccotti Park is “now unusable” because of the protesters who have been camping out there since Sept. 17 to voice their opposition to government coddling of corporations.
“There’s a general presence of incivility down there, but worst of all are the drums and the shouting,” moaned Marsha, who said her apartment overlooks Zuccotti Park. “What about my rights to use that park?”
Bloomberg quickly chimed in, saying that while “the First Amendment protects their right to say something ... we couldn’t agree more [with the caller’s sentiments].”
“We’re trying to deal with this in a way that doesn’t make the problem grow and protects everybody’s rights,” Bloomberg said. “There are some people with legitimate complaints, there are some people who just like to protest, and, like everything else, it’s a very complex thing. But I couldn’t agree more with you.”
The criticism of the protesters was echoed yesterday by other residents and business owners near Zuccotti Park, which is owned by property-management company Brookfield Properties but open to the public around the clock.
“I have so many problems. We can’t sleep. The sound of the drums -- it makes me crazy,” fumed J.W. Kim, a 33-year-old business owner who lives a block from the park. “They start in the morning and get more loud at 6 p.m. until 11:30 p.m. My children have to sleep. I have to sleep. Somebody has to protest for the residents.
“My son has homework, and he can’t pay attention to it.”
Mary Perillo, 57, who lives nearby, complained, “I have a problem with sanitation. People are peeing in the vestibule, and there’s been in a little bit of vandalism, some writing on the wall.”
Some of the people in Zuccotti Park -- which yesterday was jammed with 1,500 people singing, drumming, clapping and listening to a speech by Columbia University Professor Jeffrey Sachs -- thought the mayor was full of hot air.
“It’s very easy for the mayor to say that and paint a limited picture with a negative brush,” said Paul Spitz, a 60-year-old poet from Southampton, LI. “We challenge him to step up to the plate and come down here and talk with us.”
Early last night, more than 100 protesters marched over the Brooklyn Bridge, but there were no arrests.
The New York rally has spawned others around the country, including in Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, DC, and, as of yesterday, San Diego.