Business owners and residents in Lower Manhattan say the eviction of Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zuccotti Park Tuesday has made a positive impact on the neighborhood. NY1’s Rebecca Spitz filed the following report.
The phone is ringing off the hook at Ho Yip Restaurant. Business is booming again after a two-month lull.
One day after the city swept in and cleared Zuccotti Park of the Occupy Wall Street encampment, the manager said thanks.
"If they're there and protesting during the day, they have their rights. I'm 99 percent, I'm with them, I have to pay taxes, but they could get off their ass and work just like me,” said Fong Zhao, Ho Yip’s manager. “I'm here 10 hours a day, six days a week for 18 years."
Up the street at Panini Cafe, there was a similar and welcome burst of energy.
"My business was off 40 percent. I was very, very scared, because wintertime is here. Winters are our difficult months right here in this area, and I was thinking, oh my God, if this goes on until February, what are we going to do? We're just going to close up shop,” said Stacey Tzortzatos, owner of Panini Café.
It looks like she may not have to. Zuccotti Park was almost barren Wednesday, a stark change from earlier in the week when it was over capacity, not just with protesters but with tents, tarps and plenty of supplies.
"Well, I think it's a lot quieter than it used to be," said one resident.
"I think it's better this way. It's cleaner. This is the way the city should be,” said another.
While there was still a protester presence, everyone NY1 spoke with agreed it was far less disruptive than when the occupation started in September.
Some people were cautiously optimistic, hoping it isn't just the loss of tents and the bad weather that's keeping protesters away.
One person went so far as to suggest the movement may slowly be starting to fade.
"I've been out when it was bad weather before, and they seemed to be trooping through things very well. I remember when it snowed, they were out here in good spirits, but I guess lack of tents, what can you do?” said the resident.
Still, protesters seemed turn their backs on the naysayers and rain in hopes of continuing their demonstration.