September 17th in NYC History - Wall Street, Military and Sports Glory & Some Infamy:
Posted: Sep 17, 2012 | 2:37 PM
1730: Frederick von Steuben born. A German officer, he was a hero of the American Revolution. As I recall, his family life was the opposite of glorious. He died in 1794. NYC continues to honor him with a parade since the 1950s. It is an unofficial NYC 'German Day.'
1910: Columbia University hero Clifford Montgomery born; he was Quarterback and Captain of Columbia's 1934 Rose Ball winning team. He played for the Brooklyn Football Dodgers as well. 53 years later, Columbia's Lions would be the losingest team in NCAA history.
1911: Calbraith B. Rogers takes off for the first transcontinental airplane flight from Brooklyn's Sheepshead Bay to California. It took him seventy hops over 49 days due to weather and repairs. What guts!
1945: Basketball playing and coaching great Phil Jackson born. He helped the 1972-73 NY Knicks' championship team, played on the team for 10 years, then played two years for the Nets. Later he coached the Michael Jordan era Chicago Bulls to six NBA champions in eight years.
2001: Stock trading on Wall Street resumed for the first time since the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks on the nearby World Trade Center. This was its longest shutdown in decades. The entire rest of Downtown was closed until around 9/28 due to the toxic dust on the streets, buildings and in the air.
I went down to the area to pick up my cellphone charger from my office at the other end of Wall Street. All the buildings were locked down, dark and guarded. Huge cables from all the buildings on Wall Street ran to the Stock Exchange.
The Dow lost 684 points on this date, the worst one-day point drop in history.
2002: Patrick Ewing, Knicks great for 15 years, Hall of Famer, and more, retired from the NBA. He averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. His #33 is retired, hanging from Madison Square Garden's rafters.
2011: Hundreds protest and crowd into Zuccotti Park revealing the Occupy Wall Street protest.
The group's planning was under the great tree in Tompkins Square Park throughout the summer.
Their demands were manifold and naught, nor did they have a leader or spokesperson. This way an individual leader could not be attacked like Wikileaks' Julian Assange, since all individuals do something embarrassing, nor could their demands be attacked or co opted politically, like the Tea Party of 2010.
While this lack of demands puzzled and angered many, their "We are the 99%" phrase entered the lexicon, calling attention to the "1 percent" that benefited from the 2008-2009 Financial Crisis that continues to play out, while everyone else pays higher taxes, student loans, and mortgage costs greater than the value of their homes or their ability to afford it. To this date, no one from the crisis has been disciplined for the crisis, which was another impetus for the protests.
My sense is that this group was made up of the Hope and Change crowd that so enthusiastically backed Obama's candidacy in 2008, but was disappointed in him.
For weeks the movement consisted of a few hundred people until a series of shocking and obvious NYPD abuses increased the crowds to thousands in NYC alone, and inspired over 1000 Occupy protest encampments across the world.
@TourGuideStan (O'Connor) and myself created an Occupy Wall Street Tour of what became "Liberty Park" since it mirrored society as a whole with an egalitarian General Assembly, a Sanitation unit, Public Affairs desk, Medical station, Library, Drum and Arts circles, a Security detail, and even uptown and inner city residential areas, which were a counterpoint to the group's radically egalitarian philosophy.