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Pols Push Bloomberg to Enforce Noise, Sanitation Laws At Zuccotti Park

By Jill Colvin | November 1, 2011 7:17pm | Updated on November 2, 2011 9:51am
The drumming circle at Occupy Wall Street has drawn complaints from neighbors.
The drumming circle at Occupy Wall Street has drawn complaints from neighbors.
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MANHATTAN — Lower Manhattan politicians called on Mayor Michael Bloomberg to step up enforcement of sanitation and noise laws to abate quality of life issues caused by Occupy Wall Street protesters in and around Zuccotti Park.

Residents have complained the drumming often begins early in the morning hours and lasts late into the night, making it impossible for them to sleep. Others have complained of protesters urinating on the streets.

“We are asking that the city enforce laws prohibiting the excessive noise from drumming, which has disturbed neighbors day and night, as well as those prohibiting public urination on our streets, buildings and sidewalks,” reads the letter, which was sent Tuesday by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, State Sen. Daniel Squadron and City Councilwoman Margaret Chin.

In addition to enforcing city rules, the group also called on the mayor to remove "excessive" barricades erected around the neighborhood, which they say are “making movement within this area extremely difficult and inconvenient.”

Business owners including Milk Street Café's Marc Epstein, have blamed the barricades, which have lined Wall Street since Sept. 17, for driving away customers.

While representatives from the protest have met with Community Board 1 and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer to forge a “Good Neighbor Policy” with residents, officials said they've been unimpressed with the results.

“Despite everyone’s best efforts, this policy has proven difficult to enforce," the politicians wrote.

Because of Occupy Wall Street's non-hierarchical structure, it has been difficult for the group both to build consensus on controversial items and for representatives to enforce agreements among the group.

While local leaders have repeatedly defended the First Amendment rights of the protesters, they said that residents have rights, too.

"We are equally committed to protecting the rights of those who live in Lower Manhattan
and who are entitled to go about their daily lives in peace," they wrote.

Marc LaVorgna, a spokesman for the mayor, said in a statement that officials “have been working closely with the community to address the serious quality of life issues caused by the Occupy Wall Street protesters and will continue to do so."