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Occupy Wall Street Could Lead to Restrictions on Private NYC Parks

At this time last month Zucotti Park, AKA Liberty Square, was an empty and somewhat dreary example of New York City's 516 privately owned public spaces (POPS):

The square is now the grungy epicenter of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement, a new label the private park's owners are none too thrilled with. The park's owners, Brookfield Properties, told the New York Observer that since the space has been taken over by protestors, it has become dirty and unsafe.

The Observer describes POPS as plazas, passageways and pocket parks carved out of giant new office and apartment buildings in exchange for development bonuses. According to the Real Estate Board president Stephen Spinola, representative of some of the city's most powerful building managers and developers, the occupation has led to the consideration of new restrictions for the use of private parks by the public.

“Most of these places are told they need to be open 24 hours a day, which is why the cops are reluctant to push the protestors out," said Spinola to the Observer."If you ask me, I don’t know what’s wrong with saying the plazas should close at 1 o’clock, so there’s an added degree of security or even maintenance.”

Spinola says his group is considering pushing the Department of City Planning to create new rules for regulations of the city's POPS, like provisions similar to city park rules that ban camping and set limited hours of operation.

The Atlantic notes that if Brookfield declares the protesters as trespassers, police can forcibly evict the group. While Brookfield has not yet publicly condemned the protest or called for it's removal, Capital New York reports that "Brookfield has gently suggested to the city that it is past time to restore the space to its normal use, and has posted signs in the park objecting to the sleeping bags, tarps, and use of benches as beds throughout the space."

A spokesman for Brookfield sent a statement to the Atlantic on October 6, saying that many protesters have refused to cooperate with the park rules and because of this the space has not been cleaned since September 16:

"For more than two weeks, protestors have been squatting in the park.  Brookfield recognizes people’s right to peaceful protest; however, we also have an obligation to ensure that the park remains safe, clean, and accessible to everyone."

In addition to the possible changes to POPS rules, Occupy Wall Street has lead to other negative consequences for New York City. The NYPD told the New York Daily News Friday that the Occupy Wall Street protests are costing taxpayers over $2 million in police overtime.

"I think the vast majority of people who protest were peaceful," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told the Daily News.

"But there's clearly a core group of self-styled anarchists - that's what they call themselves - who want to have a confrontation with police."

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