May Day protests kicked off early this morning as demonstrators, undeterred by gray clouds and chilly rain showers, gathered in public parks and squares across New York City. From Maria Hernandez Park in Bushwick to Bryant Park in Midtown Manhattan, workers and activists hit the streets determined to revitalize the Occupy Wall Street movement.
As early as 8 AM, groups of protesters were gearing up for the day’s events. Outside of The New York Times Building on Eighth Avenue, about 15 workers from Legal Services NYC marched with donuts and coffee in hand, protesting the seven-figure incomes of their supervisors.
“Some people don’t want to get wet,” said Gibb Surette, president of the Legal Services Staff Association. “But that’s okay. We’ll be fighting no matter what the weather reports say.”
Workers continued handing out pamphlets to passersby for another hour. Some pedestrians stopped in their tracks to speak with protesters, while others held their heads down and ran inside to their offices.
At the Bank of America Tower in Midtown, across from Bryant Park, over 70 protesters were also demonstrating this morning.
“Working class Americans are not being heard,” said Mario Lozada, 26, who arrived yesterday from Philadelphia to take part in the day’s activities.
In the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, meanwhile, Occupy Bushwick protesters gathered at the center of Maria Hernandez Park, sipping on coffee as police vans slowly lined the surrounding streets. At around 9:30 am, they began marching to Williamsburg, where they met up with protesters from Occupy Williamsburg. The group then proceeded to cross over the Williamsburg Bridge and enter Manhattan, eventually merging with a “wildcat” union march in the Lower East Side.
Up at Madison Square Park, NYU professor Andrew Ross was one of many academics holding seminars as part of the Free University. The event saw classes from universities around the city being held in an open, public educational forum.
At New York University’s Bobst Library, students and faculty gathered to protest the university’s 2031 redevelopment plans. “We won’t let you keep building off our debt!” shouted protesters.
At the James A. Farley Post Office on Eighth Avenue, a group of roughly 40 protesters gathered in the morning carrying drums, trombones, and trumpets. Many were post office workers, protesting the government’s decision to close down a number of post offices.
“The post office is not cash poor, it’s cash rich,” says Thomas Murata, a member of the American Postal Workers Union. “And this isn’t about postal workers, this is about the American people.”
As the events of May Day continue, many will keep voicing their concerns on the streets of New York. But others have kept to their offices, and will spend the rest of the day at work watching the protests from afar.
“Going to work is part of our everyday struggle,” said one protester outside the Times headquarters this morning. “But I’ll be keeping my radio on to find out what happens.”