Rain, Snow Test OWS Protesters

Saturday, October 29, 2011

As New York City endures a record-breaking, unseasonably early winter storm, those camping out in Zuccotti Park as part of the Occupy Wall Street protests are getting their first taste of what conditions may be like when the seasons officially change.

Dozens of tents filled the park on Saturday as people tried to figure out ways to stay warm and dry. Although officials from the Fire Department of New York removed generators and gas cans from the park on Friday morning, several large donations of Mylar blankets, coats, socks and hand warming packets were being distributed across the park on Saturday.

Ray Kachel, 53, ate a hot baked potato from the food tent as water poured off his yellow rain slicker Saturday afternoon. He came from Seattle to New York about three weeks ago to join the protest and has spent the majority of that time camping in the park. He said his biggest mistake today was getting out of bed.

“I had a tarp wrapped around a sleeping bag up on the stairs here,” said Kachel, “I was toasty warm and dry and decided to get up and now I’m cold and wet.”

He said if the weather gets too bad, he may spend the night riding the subway.

Bobby Cooper, 30, has been staying at the park since about five days after the protest started. He began preparing for the bitter weather on Friday, setting up a tent, covering it with a tarp and layering insulation under it.

“Layers of whatever I could find that was insulating material," said Cooper, "trying to do the best I could knowing today would be really, really brutal.”

Many expressed concerns about hypothermia. A medic walking through the park checking on protesters said more than a dozen people had been treated for symptoms of hypothermia, a potentially fatal condition that occurs when the body loses heat faster than it can be produced and results in abnormally low body temperature.

Even as protesters hunkered down in their tents, some volunteers were encouraging people to find shelter for the night. Haywood Carey, 28, was working at the group’s information tent. He said many of the tents set up across the park were not fully winterized.

“There are folks out here who think they have outdoors experience, but haven’t really faced the elements especially in a place like New York City.”

While he was telling others to find a place to go, he also saw Saturday’s wild weather as a test for the days ahead.

“From what I understand, and I’m from North Carolina, but from what I understand, it’s kind of a freak event, so this is a good learning situation for what’s going to come next."

Snow piles up on tents in Zuccotti Park on Saturday.
Brigid Bergin/WNYC
Snow piles up on tents in Zuccotti Park on Saturday.
Rain falls on the tents of Occupy Wall Street protesters in Zuccotti Park on Saturday evening.
Alex Goldmark/WNYC
Rain falls on the tents of Occupy Wall Street protesters in Zuccotti Park on Saturday evening.
Volunteers bring styrafoam insulation to use under tents in Zuccotti Park on Saturday afternoon.
Brigid Bergin/WNYC
Volunteers bring styrafoam insulation to use under tents in Zuccotti Park on Saturday afternoon.


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Comments [7]


Hey Joefatalow, I seriously doubt your pathetic little Home Depot wages cover all the free health care you leech off Medicare and Social Security so why don't you think before you shoot your ignorant mouth off.

Oct. 31 2011 02:37 AM

Joe Jeremy and Sen, Seems like you are really missing the point of OWS.

Here is an article really worth checking out:

Oct. 30 2011 09:45 PM
K Webster from New York City

I'm glad the previous commenters noticed there are indeed homeless people in NY City. But hey, maybe no one should be homeless in a city where obscene wealth continues to be amassed through a rigged system?
Do you really think the bits of food and donated goods going to OWS would be the deciding factor for the ever growing number of poor out here?
I think part of the point is to end poverty. Period.
And feeling superior because you have a job is not a master plan for the country my friend.
OWS stands for everyone who has lost homes, jobs and communities or is about to.
And unless gross inequality is going away - this won't either. Count on it.

Oct. 30 2011 09:13 PM

The fun and games are over, now it's time to get some common sense before someone gets hurt. Even the homeless have the sense to seek shelter in winter, not stand in an open park all day. If they want to keep a presence there, then at least have the sense to do it in shifts so they go warm up, clean up, and eat before someone lands in the ER with hypothermia and/or frostbite. Instead of greedily taking handouts of blankets and warm clothing so they can make their pointless point, how about giving those donations to the REAL homeless in the city who aren't choosing to be out in the cold. These protesters have homes to return to, and shouldn't be using up resources needed by those who don't have homes to go to, or else they are guilty of exactly what they are accusing the 1% of...looking out for their own self-interests when there are others with greater need they are keeping resources from.

Oct. 30 2011 11:29 AM

My response to this snowstorm is to say, hey.... Looks like God is trying to tell you something guys.... Time to "MoveOn" back home. And, those sleeping bags and tents you have.... WHy don't you just drop them off at the homeless shelter so some of the truly hurting homeless people that you pushed away from your food have something to keep warm with this winter. Or do you have a problem helping someone that REALLY needs help? Yeah, I figured... Only really out for yourself... We will see where you all really stand soon enough.

Oct. 30 2011 10:56 AM

What a joke these people are, if they wanted a job they could find one. I am 68 and found a job at Home Depot, great place ot work and provides me with a home and food. Most of them just want a dole from the working people like me that pay taxes each paycheck.


Oct. 30 2011 10:53 AM
stan chaz from Brooklyn NY

My response to the unprecedented October snowstorm in NYC is to forward you an email I received from Occupy Wall Street's ability to keep speaking up for the 99% depends in part on their ability to hold out against the winter weather. And that depends on their having the right supplies—sub-zero sleeping bags, long underwear, and warm hats and gloves. If you have any of these items—or can go buy them today—and are willing to donate, please bring them to 52 Broadway (at the corner of Exchange Pl, next to the Amalgamated Bank). Items can be dropped off there until 9 p.m. tonight or from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. tomorrow. (Donations outside of these hours can be brought directly to the Comfort table on the east side of Zuccotti Park.)Your contributions will make a huge difference in ensuring that Occupy Wall Street can keep up their good work. Let us know you're bringing supplies by clicking below. We've also helped put together a new site,, that letsOccupy groups around the country list the supplies they need and lets peoplelike you help fill those needs.Many of those occupations can accept shipped donations, so even if you can't make it down to Occupy Wall Street today, you can help occupiers from Albany to Anchorage get ready for cold weather. Check out what's needed here:http: // Thanks for all you do.

Oct. 30 2011 10:01 AM

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