My Wall Street Arrest
The Story Of My Wall Street Arrest:
My Wall Street Arrest – No, this was not a protest and this was at least a month before occupy wall street even existed. No, I was not trying to jump the fence in front of the NY Stock Exchange to get back lost funds. I was acting in part of an art performance called Ocularpation! A piece contrived by artist Zefrey Throwell. As you might seen from our posts last week, Zefrey contacted us looking for people comfortable with public nudity to participate in his next artistic endeavor. (And what better people to contact than Young Naturists America?)
The performance took place this morning on Wall Street at 7:00 am. 50 people took part, all role-playing the various jobs on Wall Street, from janitor to fitness instructor to financial consultant. Zefrey was actually inspired for the project by his mother who lost all her retirement money in the stock market crash in 2008 and found herself broke and unemployed in her 60’s; a tough position to be in. His idea was to expose the mysterious inner workings of Wall Street and make people think about what actually happens there day-to-day.
I decided to sign up and was even more pleased when I realized the jobs were going to mirror the actual employment demographics. I played dog-walker, which represents 2% of Wall St workers. We met in the park first. I admit I was nervous, but ready for action with my invisible dog leash contraption, whistle and plastic bag. We soon headed to our assigned areas on the street.
At 7am I started walking my invisible dog. “Come on doggie!” Some amused glances from pedestrians. I took off my tank top and really started getting into my role. “Good boy, good boy!” Before things went any further, a police officer came up- “Put your shirt back on. Go put your shirt back on!” I quickly complied, and then to my surprise, he arrested me. Here is basically our conversation that followed..
Officer, putting on the handcuffs- “Here you go, is that what you wanted??”
Officer- “What is all this going on?”
Me- “It’s an art performance.”
Officer- “This isn’t art, this is retarded!”
Me- “That’s subjective…Isn’t it legal for me to be topless anywhere in NYC?”
Officer- “Yeah right what do you think you’re doin’ walkin around topless like you’re walking a dog. You need to come with me and be mentally evaluated, then after that maybe you’ll be free to go. It’s retarded, this is just stupid pretending to walk a dog with no shirt on. There are children around.” (I did not see one child during this performance.)
Me- “Sometimes people pretend to do things in art…”
He grabbed my belongings and brought me to sit with 2 other guys in handcuffs. They were a stock trader and a janitor who had totally stripped down during the 5 minute performance. One was told he wouldn’t get arrested if he put his clothes back on, but the officer “changed his mind.” So we sat there and then took a ride to the precinct to spend 2 hours in jail.
We all got a desk release with tickets and a summons for disorderly conduct. My fellow jailbirds also got indecent exposure charges. Just before we were released, an officer (I believe the same one I spoke to earlier) reasserted his opinion that we should’ve all been mentally evaluated first. Alas, his opinion was disregarded, and they gave us back our stuff, including the janitor broom and my makeshift leash, now bent up and distorted.
Still, pertaining to me personally, I have no idea what laws I broke or why I was even arrested. So far no one, not even the cops themselves, could explain to me what I did wrong.