Green Drinks is a monthly gathering that meets at local businesses and organizations that host an open house. It’s a chance to see some cool places from the inside. Since the AIDS benefit, ArtBeat, organized studio tours as a fundraising event I’ve appreciated a chance to see Providence this way.
We stop at Burnside Park on the way to the American Institute of Architects which is this month’s host. On the way, Mr. Green and I check in on the occupation. Last night there was a torrential rainstorm, today there are more tents. The park is filling up. An older man in business casual is talking to one of the occupiers, dropping off supplies for the medical booth. A sign says, ‘The Left is Awake, Let Wall Street Quake’. I talk to one of the first-aiders at the medical, and she says they got through the rain okay. A candlelight vigil is planned for Saturday. There are some occupation dogs participating, I see two on leashes outside the tents. People are raking the space between. I overheard a conversation about safe placement and spacing. The population is growing fast and safety is an active concern.
We get to AIA early, nice old renovated storefront on Washington Street. This is Gallery Night but it’s a little early yet. We look at posters on the wall featuring new buildings and old ones fitted out with 21st Century tech. RISD, Meeting Street School, School for the Deaf, Brown, URI– fine architecture rated for livability and energy conservation.
I remember when I was in high school, in 1972. Some of the cool kids told me about a new concept– a recycling center. This was a volunteer effort, sorting piles of paper into dumpsters. No one respectable took this new concept, ‘ecology’ seriously.
Occupy might have a less rocky path. The way to economic justice was paved by the WPA. Not all the roads are torn up, and those roads were built to last.
In October, in the park, the occupation is growing. I saw a woman on the fringe who looked like the park is her refuge all year round. If the man in business casual and the woman sleeping on her shopping bag find common cause then Wall Street will quake.
THANKS: To Donna Schmader for the photo.