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PingWi-Fi Cracks Down On Occupy. “Get An Occupation!”

November 6th, 2011 · Tags:Cities · Restaurant · Wi-Fi

NYC Mosaic

NYC Mosaic

Walking around lower Manhattan reminded me of my first few trips to NYC. Over the years, I have had big times in NYC. I met Spike Lee. One night my friend was stabbed on a subway. I met Dr. Ruth. One day my hotel was set afire by a pyromaniac. I met Dan Rather in an elevator. One day I got to touch The Heisman Trophy. (More about The Heisman later on …)  It’s a long story, but my company put me up at The Downtown Athletic Club in lower Manhattan — home of The Heisman.

Years ago, at the DAC, I was the only guest in the place and after several days, I did some after-hours exploring — uncovered a basketball gym inside the place, which was kind of spooky in the dark. I also went up to the top floor and then climbed the ladder to the roof access. Yes, I sampled the skyline of lower Manhattan from the roof that once protected the most coveted prize in sports … LOL. And yes, the twin towers of The World Trade Center were still standing. Anyway, that trip started my fascination with rooftop access.

Weird … I swear that during the writing of this blog, some oldies radio station played “Up On The Roof” by The Drifters … a song you don’t hear every day. Hmm, humm the science fiction theme with me “DOO-doo DOO-doo” … I digress …



A few months back, a similar bit of exploration took me to the unfinished, unlocked, quite magnificent penthouse suite of a high rise in Christchurch, New Zealand …

Most recently, I was at my hotel in Binghamton, New York when I was overcome with curiosity. I asked the concierge if the rooftop was accessible. She said no. I knew it was because I had seen the escape hatch open the night before. So I continued to press, “But have you ever been up there?” As I suspected she said yes.

So up I went.

I think I was a little bored and the surrounding architecture had caught my eye, so I figured the roof would have a great view.

Why so bored? Well … have you been to Binghamton? It has so much potential, but it is not exactly thriving. Attention: Hollywood. If you need a small city with a vacant downtown, teeming with cool buildings, for a movie set … Binghamton is your place.

The cool buildings and the empty streets could be a great setting for a “Twilight Zone” script (as I foreshadowed above).

Remember “The Twilight Zone” and its deadpan narrator/creator Rod Serling? Well guess where Rod Serling grew up? If you guessed Binghamton, you are spot on!

Rod Serling 411

There is a foundation and more to keep Serling’s spooky legacy alive …

Rod Serling Foundation

But … I am done with Binghamton. And as I thought about the next move, it occurred to me that one of the biggest media stories in the world was just a few hours away … Occupy Wall Street.

I wanted to see this spectacle fo my own sef, and I was curious if any entrepreneurs were making some Wi-Fi dollars off the new residents in Zucotti Park, on Broadway.

Zuccotti Park

Editor’s note: It is important to mention that downtown Binghamton had its own Occupy campers hanging out, very near my hotel. On several mornings, as I drove to work at 6 a.m., I honked to show my support … as they slept in their tents … LOL.
So, on one of my few days off, I was up long before the sun and headed to the greatest city on earth, through the dark fog and snow of an early Poconos winter. My route through New England was no trouble, although parts of New York and New Jersey got several inches of snow. The radio informed me this was the first measurable snow in New York, before Halloween, since 1952, fyi.

Hey campers, welcome to Wall Street.

So how about this whole Occupy thing!?! The news has shown the movement has turned violent all over the globe. I saw footage of cars burning and such in Oakland the other day … But having worked in a high rise for a month overlooking Oakland’s downtown plaza at night … it didn’t seem out of the norm … sort of kidding.

Here are my thoughts. First of all, on this Ping Web site there is a section called “Blogs About Nothing.” I think Occupy Wall Street would qualify. What is it for? Who is it? What do they hope to accomplish, if anything? Is it, as I suspect, just one more reason to “fight for your right” to par-tay?

My advice? If you can’t find a good paying job, don’t attack the companies whose growth creates jobs. Seems pretty easy to grasp. And what gives you the right to be hating on business executives because they have climbed the ladder of success? You are certainly welcome to get a business degree and go give it your own best shot. Could it be that these successful business types are just smarter than us and therefore deserve their laurels or rewards or beach houses in The Hamptons or whatever? Does that give us cause to go live in a park, create a mountain of unsanitary stuff and cry about it?

I think not.

From my firsthand observation — having walked among the the tents and talked to the people … the ones who had crawled out of bed, by the time I drove for three hours to get there … Occupy Wall Street was such a disappointment.

Here is the most profound thing I heard all day … an actual quote of one of the kids protesting: “i’m sick. I’m hungover. And, I haven’t had my medication in days.” Immortal words from a movement …
The media coverage I had seen prior to my visit was so blown out of proportion. I expected at least several thousand people, like the “Million Man March.” It didn’t appear to be. It was more like a hundred tents … and they were not large tents.

I stopped one journalist — a cameraman for FOX in NYC — to get his take. I think he was pretty underwhelmed as well. Here’s my favorite part of the meeting … he too was a Texan, from Wichita Falls … a Mustang from Midwestern State University. Represent!

Midwestern State

There seemed to be more activity generated by all the tourists who had come to see the spectacle … People of all languages, buzzing around like kids at Euro Disney.

Or, were the tourists looking for the site where the new Batman film was being shot? I found that, and had to walk a few blocks out of the way to get to the occupation. (Funny to use that term to describe a bunch of long-haired kids without jobs …) I chatted up one of the media folks on the Batman set and learned the shoot was a stock market scene in mythical Gotham City, with huge stock tickers on the streets for props, etc. Couldn’t tell from the barricade I was trying to sneak around …


So who are they and what do they want? is there some list of their objectives, or more likely their grievances, on line somewhere?

It appeared to me that this was basically a party, with some rumblings of political, socio-economic malcontent. Maybe even anarchists without the punk beat. I am willing to bet that if Phish or The Grateful Dead were on tour, half the tents would be strapped to hippie vans and on their way.



As for crime … I didn’t see any if you ignore lack of hygiene. I was probably the big perpetrator of the day … You see, although New York’s Finest have been instructed to let campers pretty much shut down the Financial District … they were not about to ignore my parking near a fire hydrant … yes … on Wall Street. That little oversight took a hundred bucks from my shallow pockets and deposited them in the city’s budget to protect and enable Occupy. Never saw “said hydrant” nor a painted curb. I will take their word for it. I probably missed it as I attempted to decipher the signs explaining the parking fees for the spot where I wasn’t supposed to park.

As stated, my main mission … my ongoing mission … was to seek out Wi-Fi at this new ground zero … Occupy Wall Street. I was shocked. I whipped out my communicator (iPhone) and searched for hotspots in the center of the encampment. There were any number of surrounding business and residential hotspots, but no network specifically for the “movement.” I did see some people uploading and streaming opinions on a computer by the media tent … but I expected far better equipped communications.

Singing 'Oh Canada'

Singing Oh Canada

The best communications technique I saw was a throwback use of a town crier. For one announcement to the participants, several guys stood on one corner of the park, and repeated and passed along an announcement at the top of their lungs, sharing whatever was announced.

What’s next, native drumming?

Well … as a matter of fact … drumming may have been my favorite part of my tour of Occupy Wall Street. I knew I should have saved some of the plastic jugs from the Dirty Gig … And although I didn’t pick up on any common theme among the protestors, at least the drummers seemed to be on the same page. Not bad. The causes of the day seem to range from freeing Tibet to stopping “thought crime” as I walked around reading signs.

It was some kind of cold when I go there … but eventually the sun came out and warmed me and my protesting friends. By this time, I was bored with it and so I went to re-explore lower Manhattan.

I had a great light lunch at Pecan Cafe in Soho, I suppose … Broadway and Franklin … yes … Free Wi-Fi to offset a slightly pricey soup and sandwich. Great people watching … 4 pings.

At the first of this rant, I mentioned The Heisman. Well, I so was impressed by seeing the trophy on my first trip to NYC, I decided to make another pilgrimage to the trophy. Wow! It wasn’t there. The GPS function on my iPhone still “located” The Downtown Athletic Club — formerly the home of The Heisman — near Battery Park … where I had left it so many years before.

But to my chagrin, it is no longer there. And furthermore, everyone I asked — including a NYC police officer on that beat could not tell me where they had put it.

…. Doo doo Doo doo!

Forget who is going to win The Heisman …. where is it?

Know what I saying?