No matter which side of Occupy Wall Street they're on -- protesters, cops, the media covering them, and the office workers, or gawker -- everyone's gotta eat. The influx of people to Lower Manhattan's around Zuccotti Park has created a new urban food chain of sorts as each group has gravitated to its own favorites. Sure, there are some business owners who complain that protesters just come in and use the bathroom and don't buy anything and Occupy Wall Street has its own food supply, providing free eats to hungry protesters. There were also some early complaints from street vendors who regularly park along Zuccotti Park's southern edge who said they're losing money because their normal lunch customers can't get to them. But foot traffic is the lifeblood of small business.
Protesters: Pret A Manger, 179 Broadway
Why they like it: Lots of working groups – the committees that make sure various aspects of the protest encampment get done – have their daily meetings at Pret A Manger simply because it’s close, cheap, and has space and a bathroom. "Media always meets at Pret A Manger," said committee member Kira Moyer-Sims. They use other local cafes too, but this one is closest, so it's the most popular. How’s business? The café’s sales have increased by about $1,000 per day during the week, says manager Shamirah Dillard. The crowding and bathroom lines has been worth the boost in sales. "I would say it’s more from working people. When they come in and it’s so crowded, they buy breakfast and lunch at the same time," picking up pre-made sandwiches for the afternoon so they don’t have to fight the crowds later.
Why they like it: Most cops working the protest come from precincts all over the city, said one so-called white shirt (an officer in command) who gave his name only as Tom. "They come from the Bronx,
Tourists: Ruchi Indian Cuisine, 120 Cedar Street
Why they like it: Situated equidistant between the recently opened 9/11 Memorial and the
Journalists: Charly’s Burgers / Steve's Pizza, 110 Trinity Place
Why they like it: The American fast food and pizza joint on the southwest corner of
Out-of-towners: Liberatos Pizza, 80 Maiden Lane
Why they like it: Early in the life of the protest, ordering pizza for the occupiers from out of town became the thing to do, and partly because of its name (which sounds a bit like "liberty" but is in fact its owner's name) and partly because of its proximity, Liberatos quickly became the pizzeria of choice for out-of-towners to call in orders for the protesters. Thanks to some early media coverage such as Gawker's day-three feature, it's now a known thing among those following the protest from afar that Liberatos is the "official caterer of the revolution." How's business? Liberatos knows this is its moment. Its Twitter stream is full of specials, statements of solidarity and announcements of donated pizzas. In noting its early popularity, Adrian Chen wrote, "Organizers have been passing around Liberatos' phone number over Twitter and in Google documents and the pizzas, $2,800-worth according to one estimate, started flowing." Telly Liberatos, the owner, quickly invented a special $15 pie for the protesters, called the OccuPie, which has a ring of toppings around the edge with a line through the center, "like a no sign." But the protesters themselves are getting tired of pizza. "For some reason, people from
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