November 17, 2011, Occupied Wall Street - The Campaign for the Commons, a working group of the Occupy Wall Street movement, was to meet this evening in the Atrium, at 60 Wall Street, with the topic “Occupy the Digital Commons.”
The Atrium is a magnificent Greek-revival neoclassical structure opened in 1989. It is a “privately owned public space,” which means:
- The land is owned by a private entity.
- In return for adding several floors above the allowable height - which block the public’s light, air, and space - the owners agreed to make the ground floor Atrium space available for public use.
- When the building is torn down - in 10 or 1000 years - the owners can do with the space as the law then allows.
But until then, the owners must abide by these city rules:
- Arcade: Open 24 hours
- Covered Pedestrian Space
- Open 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
- May be closed to the public with advanced notice for 6 private and 6 local community not-for-profit organized events per year starting at 2:00 p.m. weekdays or at any time on weekend days
Since September the Atrium has been the de facto meeting headquarters of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Each night several of the movements 80+ working group meetings have been held there. Always in an orderly and respectful manner.
Tonight was to be the first meeting of the Campaign for the Commons working group, focusing on the commons, spaces like streets, parks, waterways, and public areas like the Atrium. The discussion was to center on how to nurture and grow the commons, including New York’s TLD. We’ve contacted Deutsche Bank for an explanation of the closing, and when and under what circumstances they plan its reopening.
The word irony comes to mind with 60 Wall being closed on the night a discussion on governing the commons was scheduled there. (Commons photo of guards in front of the Pine Street entrance to the Atrium, from the Connecting.nyc Inc. library.)