NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — On Monday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said “Occupy Wall Street” protesters can stay and have their say as along as they’re law-abiding.
But also expressing themselves were the business owners around Zuccotti Park, who are angered over the impact of the Wall Street protests, reports CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown.
In his strongest comments since protesters began occupying lower Manhattan four weeks ago, Mayor Bloomberg made it clear demonstrators can continue to occupy New York City indefinitely, as long as they don’t break the law.
“The bottom line is people want to express themselves and as long as they obey the laws we’ll allow them to,” Bloomberg said early Monday.
But for some business owners, there’s nothing but outrage. They say the city’s stance on the protest means there is no end in sight to what has rapidly become a living nightmare, reports Brown.
“They want to take showers, want to wash up and use the toilet paper to dry up. It becomes … you gotta have one person assigned just to clean the bathrooms,” said Steve Zamfotis, manager of “Charley’s” restaurant.
Zamfotis, who runs a pizza shop directly across the street from Zuccotti Park, said he has to stand guard at the door — just to keep protesters out.
“They expect everything, everything for free, nothing to pay,” Zamfotis said.
Meanwhile, the protesters are starting to notice folks taking advantage of the demonstration by grabbing some of the free food and clothes that have been made available in Zuccotti Park.
“The tourists take all the food, and the hipsters take all the clothes,” said one demonstrator.
But other businesses are opening their doors — in a show of solidarity.
“Oh no problem. We let them use the bathroom because all the fancy places close the bathrooms for them. Yeah, we leave it open. It’s too much, but what are you gonna do? Everybody has right to use the bathrooms,” said Alfonso Alfi, manager of “Pronto Pizza.”