Occupiers Plan ‘Radical Dreaming’ in Tompkins Square Park

occupyEvan Bleier This banner promoting the Vagina Monologues
(spotted at Astor Place earlier today) has nothing
to do with Occupy Town Square, but we had to
share it somehow.

Nearly a month after an Occupy Wall Street march rolled up to Tompkins Square Park but stopped short of entering it, an offshoot group called Occupy Town Square is planning a day of teach-ins, discussions, “brain monsoons” and “radical dreaming” in the park this Sunday.

Lily Defriend, a 32-year-old Ph.D. candidate at NYU who helped organize two similar roving occupations in Washington Square Park and West Park Church on the Upper West Side, said that the Tompkins Square Park event will address issues like gentrification, squatting, and health care.

“We’re hoping local issues come to the forefront,” she told The Local, adding that her team of about eight people is working with organizations such as the fledgling Occupy Avenue D as well as reaching out to others such as the Tompkins Square Greenmarket and the group that is attempting to return the former CHARAS/El Bohio building to use as a community center.

Tompkins Square Park is an obvious location for the event in part because the East Village is “a neighborhood of historical significance for the movement and the fight for social justice,” according to a press release that points to the Tompkins Square Park riots of 1874 and 1988.

But Ms. Defriend, who lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, said the occupation is also aiming to address current issues. “The East Village is an interesting area,” she said, “because the gentrification has been so intense and at the same time poverty levels have risen.”

So will these occupiers defy the park’s curfew, which famously sparked upheaval in 1988? Probably not. The event will take place during the daytime on Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the group has sent the Parks Department a statement of intent vowing to “uphold the sanctity of the commons.”

“We don’t anticipate any problems,” said Ms. Defriend. “The police have come to both events and both times there was nothing to worry about.”