October 20, 2011

Which brings me to the latest fashionable vice, that of “occupying” Wall Street.

I’m all for it, but who’s gonna replace the crooks that are there now? Those Woodstock wannabes posing as Dickensian urchins who have occupied Zuccotti Park? These melodramatic young people have turned downtown into a pigsty. Wall Street should have ensured their own leaders had gone to jail after 2008, but that’s not how one does business there. Squealers in Wall Street are like stool pigeons in jail; they have a very limited shelf life. These “occupiers” may be well-intentioned, but they’re also professional protesters looking for publicity in the guise of pretending to change the world for the better. Basically it’s people who have the time to do this, sleep al fresco, play the guitar, give interviews to concerned-looking hacks, and smell bad.

They might get even angrier if they knew about the park’s namesake. John Zuccotti was the city’s first deputy mayor and is head of Brookfield Properties, which owns the quasi-public park. He is a very affable man who lives quietly in Brooklyn and whose father was a very, very good friend of mine. Angelo Zuccotti was the most important man in New York society during the 1940s and 50s because it was he, as El Morocco’s maître d’, who decided where you sat once inside that high-society temple. Forget rich Ay-rabs, who didn’t exist back then, or Russian oligarchs, whose fathers or grandfathers were shoveling shit somewhere in the Russian steppes. Those ghastly pests weren’t around, either. Angelo liked my father, took me under his wing, and placed me in the best tables according to the lady I had with me. To be twenty years old and to out-table, say, Onassis, was quite impressive, at least to some of the girls. I owe Angelo a lot, and as he is no longer with us, his son.

John Zuccotti has not commented about the occupiers. That was Angelo’s way also. He would smile and greet you as if you were the world’s Numero Uno. If you had a homely girl with you he’d take you straight to Siberia—our nickname for El Morocco’s western part, where the BBQs—people from Brooklyn, Bronx, and Queens—were placed. The irony is that most nice people nowadays live in Brooklyn and Queens, as Manhattan has attracted the same kind of ex-Soviet and Arab scum that populates London and the Riviera.

So there you have it, sports fans. Downtown is occupied by poseurs, uptown by fl”neurs, and the only place the poor little Greek boy can find peace is while crossing the park very early in the morning.



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