The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Occupy Wall Street Protests at Rich People's Homes

By Amy Zimmer | October 11, 2011 5:36pm
Protesters flooded some of the city's wealthiest blocks along Fifth and Park avenues on Tuesday.
Protesters flooded some of the city's wealthiest blocks along Fifth and Park avenues on Tuesday.
View Full Caption
DNAinfo/Amy Zimmer

UPPER EAST SIDE — Occupy Wall Street protesters moved uptown to the city's wealthiest zip codes along Fifth and Park avenues on Tuesday, to visit some of New York's richest men.

The "Millionaires March," spearheaded by organizations such as New York Communities for Change, Strong Economy for All, United NY and the Working Families Party, drew many who have camped out Downtown at Zuccotti Park along with other New Yorkers who wanted to add their voices of discontent.

"We are the 99 percent and we are on the Upper East Side," Michael Kink, the executive director of Strong Economy for All, said before the group decamped with their drums, signs and chants from Fifth Avenue and 59th Street to its first stop: the home of News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch at 834 Fifth Ave.

Kink said the goal of the march was to voice opposition to the millionaire's tax, set to expire this year. 

"New York State is about to give a tax cut to the richest of the rich," Kink said, adding that cuts were being made to schools, homeless services, higher education and other services.

Patricia Malcolm, a minister from a Brooklyn church, told the crowd, "They say that our message is not clear, but I hope that they get the message today: We will continue doing what we're doing until change comes."

After stopping at Murdoch's home, two women started chanting in front of a nearby limestone building at 838 Fifth Ave. that had the words "Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself" etched into it.

"Whose house?" a woman shouted.

"Our house," Tammie Hollins, "40-plus", of Newburgh, N.Y., responded.

"We don't know whose house it is, but we know it's a billionaire's," Hollins told DNAinfo.com. "You steal our money, we're moving you out. We want to send a message that they crossed the line, so we're crossing the line."

No one actually attempted to move into any of the buildings, and the march — monitored by police — was orderly as it moved to the 740 Park Avenue home of David Koch, the richest man in America, worth an estimated $25 billion. 740 Park is arguably the most exclusive address in Manhattan.

Then it was off to 888 Park Ave., the home of Emigrant Savings Bank CEO Howard Milstein, worth a reported $3.8 billion. It also stopped at JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon's pad at Park Avenue and East 93rd Street and hedge fund manager John Paulson's building on East 86th Street near Fifth Avenue.

"I think it's important that we aren't complacent," said Emily Rosner, 18, a freshman at NYU, who hadn't joined previous protests. "There's more of a focus here. You're not screaming at the buildings at Zuccotti Park. You're screaming at people."

Judy Wyckoff, 75, a "well situated retiree" from Murray Hill, who worked at IBM, said she joined the march because she "wanted to lend my support as a senior to a movement started by the youth, because it adds legitimacy," she said.

"Unfortunately, politicians are more interested in getting elected than in creating solutions. We went from having hope to despair." She was unsure if the march on people's homes was the "best idea," but "it's a peaceful show of strength and better than sitting in the park singing songs."

Some onlookers, like Jennifer Brown, who works at a 19th century art gallery in the area, were pleased to see the marchers.

"I would be in this with them if I had the time," Brown, 44, said, standing on East 72nd Street.  

Her boss, who declined to be named, said he was "delighted" to see the protesters. "Whether it's unorganized or disorganized, people have to get out and express themselves," the gallery owner said.

But others were not so sanguine.

"Keep it down. Get a life," onlooker Adam Sternglass shouted at the group at they walked along East 65th Street, chanting: "They got bailouts. We got sold out."

Sternglass, 52, an Army reservist who returned from Kabul, Afghanistan, last year and now works at Hunter College, acknowledged the group's "right to protest," but didn't think it was worthwhile since it wasn't specific enough.

"I understand unemployment hurts," he said. "I was there myself once, but protesting like this only makes you look frivolous and immature, like an old hippie."

Stephen Sacks, 68, walking his springer spaniel on East 89th Street, said, "This is a big area for limousine liberals," referring to wealthy Upper East Sider who side with progressive causes. "What their opinion will be after this, I'm not so sure."