How Zuccotti Park Got Its Name

John Zuccotti is an executive at the real estate company that owns the park

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Zuccotti Park, where the Occupy Wall Street encampment is located, is not actually a park (it's actually private land owned by Brookfield Properties) but the guy it's named after is real: he's John Zuccotti the United States chairman of the real estate behemoth Brookfield Properties. He works in the World Financial Center, which is just one of Brookfield's vast holdings. Zuccotti was profiled today by The New York Times's Sam Roberts and he sounds like a guy who is quite happy with all of the attention, even if it's indirect.

Certainly, nobody recognized him during several casual sojourns he made to the park from his office at the World Financial Center last month to survey the scene. (He said he did not interact with any of the protesters.)

Mr. Zuccotti did remember getting a call from a relative in Italy: “My cousin called and said everyone in Genoa was saying, ‘Is that your relative? I’ve become famous.’”

The story of Zuccotti also touches on a small irony of the anti-corporate protest: the reason that Occupy Wall Street has been allowed to maintain their encampment is because it is not public land (New York City law bars sleeping in parks overnight) but rather owned by a private corporation, controlled by Zuccotti. For now, he says he's fine with letting the protesters stay on, but says his company will "basically look to the police leadership and mayor to decide what to do."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.