Hedge fund managers and others returned to a very different lower Manhattan than the one they'd grown accustomed to over the past two months.
New York City police this morning cleared Zuccotti Park, the privately-owned public space adjacent to One Liberty Plaza that since the middle of September has served as a permanent encampment for the Occupy Wall Street protestors.
Lawyers for the protestors quickly won a restraining order against the city, barring it from evicting the protestors or their belongings. But by then, the park had been cleared, with nearly 200 arrested in the process.
Police reopened the park after it had been cleaned, with about 50 protestors returning, but closed the park once again after the restraining order.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended his decision to clear the park in the wake of similar actions in Oakland, Calif., saying that the protests had all-but-closed the park to the public and was "coming to pose a health and fire safety hazard to the protestors and to the surrounding community."
The removal of the protestors also came ahead of the OWS leadership's plan to "shut down Wall Street" on Thursday, including the New York Stock Exchange.