'Occu-Pirates' Under Attack From City For Hudson River Protests

By Emily Frost on June 13, 2012 9:23am | Updated on June 13, 2012 2:01pm

UPPER WEST SIDE — They put the "Arr" in Revolution.

A band of Occupy Wall Street protesters who call themselves "Occu-pirates" are facing off with the Parks Department over the right to keep a sailboat-turned-protest vehicle docked in the 79th Street Boat Basin and stage drum-filled demonstrations down the Hudson River.

Upper East Side resident Tom Fox, a member of the Occupy movement since September 2011, turned his 30-foot sailboat, the "Druid," into a staging ground for himself and others to take their protests to the waterways.

But days after Fox took his boat, which he's owned since 1987, for an inagural sail last weekend along with members of the Occupy Wall Street drumming circle, he got an angry phone call and email from the Parks Department ordering him to end his protest immediately or be expelled from the marina.

"It's my first amendment right. And they are trying to shut that down," said Fox.

Seth Goodwin, the Chief Dockmaster of Marinas for the New York City Parks Department wrote in an email to Fox Tuesday, "As per our telephone conversation, you must immediately remove your vessel from the mooring field at the 79th Street Boat Basin; cease displaying banners on your vessel; and end the noise disturbance you are creating."

"Any person who engages in disorderly behavior ... may, in addition to any other applicable penalties, be expelled immediately from the marina facility," Goodwin added in the email.

Goodwin declined to speak to DNAinfo.com New York. 

Fox said he has no intention to stop protesting, and said he docked his boat — which had two American flags, and a large yellow banner with the word "Occupy" painted across it — at the marina overnight Tuesday. He removed the yellow banner before docking and slept on the boat overnight.

Fox said he's determined to "let people know Occupy Wall Street is still around," and to encourage a fleet of Occu-privateers to join him along the waterways around New York City this summer.

He said his weekend tour has already elicited fans along the waterfront — getting people to start dancing to the drumming and waving.

A small gang of "Occu-pirates," members of Occupy Wall Street, plan to take their protest aboard a local's sailboat.
A small gang of "Occu-pirates," members of Occupy Wall Street, plan to take their protest aboard a local's sailboat.
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Stacey Szewczyk

"People were happy to see us. It was like a tourist attraction," said Fox.

Fox added that he cleared the boat and its activity with the Coast Guard when they boarded the sailboat Saturday night.

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