Tompkins Square Park Gets a Zuccotti-Style Makeover

Tompkins Square Park looked something like Zuccotti Park in its heyday yesterday, as a giant Statue of Liberty puppet shimmied to a beat thrashed out by a cohort of drummers. Next to them were the People’s Library, a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream cart, and a “Parents for Occupy Wall Street” station crawling with children.

Activists said the single-day occupation – the third to be organized by the group Occupy Town Square – was part of the movement’s process of reorganizing in the wake of the police eviction of the original Occupy encampment.

“We lost a few things when we lost Zuccotti,” said Jonathan Jetter, one of the event’s organizers. “We lost a place where the movement could come together to network amongst itself.”

Mr. Jetter, 28, lives in Astoria, Queens, and runs a small recording studio in Midtown. He said Occupy Town Square aimed to broadening the scope of Occupy Wall Street participants: “We’ve connected with probably most of the activists in New York City, but there’s a huge silent majority, people who weren’t going to sleep in the park but are sympathetic or outright supportive, or have taken part in some actions, and we need to maintain our dialogue with them too.”

Seeking to enlist local support for the event, the activists said they approached a wide variety of community organizations in the East Village, including churches and the Medina Masjid on 11th Street.

The event included an entire day of teach-ins, workshops, and a “Radical History of Tompkins Square” walking tour. Jonathan Schell, a nuclear disarmament advocate and author of “The Fate of the Earth,” gave a teach-in.

Another organizer, Daniel Latorre, 40, who works for an urban planning nonprofit, said Occupy Town Square was also seeking to make a political statement about use of public space. “What is public space?” he asked. “Is it just for eating sandwiches? You know, reading a book and being very passive? Or is it about something like this, about using it for democratic dialogue and questions and information sharing?”

Peter Mitchell, 69, a veteran of the civil rights and anti-war movements in the 1960s, was one of the East Village residents who attended the event. He said he thought the micro occupation was a great idea, though its execution was a bit chaotic. “If they could get rid of the drummers, it’d be a step in the right direction,” he said. “We had much better music at our demonstrations.”

For more photos from the event, see The Local’s Flickr Group. And add some of your own.