Mayor Wagner is vacationing in the peaceful Bahamas. So he wasn't at City Hall today?
TRANSCRIPT BEGINS: "Sir, how do you feel....."
TRANSCRIPT ENDS: "....what they're doing."
Demonstrators arriving at City Hall
Copy hold back demonstrators
Cops run toward surging demonstrators
Cops and demonstrators pushing and shoving
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Mayor Wagner is vacationing in the peaceful Bahamas. So he wasn't at City Hall today to man the ramparts as Staten Island invaded Manhattan and staged the wildest City Hall demonstration I've seen in the last decade.
About 15-hundred (fifteen-hundred) Richmondites ferried to The Battery and marched to picket at the Hall. They were protesting real estate assessed valuations that jumped 27 (twenty-seven) percent in the current fiscal period ... on top of a 22 (twenty-two) percent increase last year. They say speculation has distorted values -- and cops said, "Keep walking along Broadway and Park Row" ... the perimeter historically reserved for pickets. But the protestors broke past barricades and stormed to the City Hall steps. A riot call went out as police pushed and shoved with at least one cop getting kicked for his pains and requiring hospital treatment. And now ... see and hear the wildest hour in recent City Hall History.
Politicians emerged from the Hall to try and quiet the mob. Staten Island Council man Curry suggested that everyone go home and he was booed. The acting Mayor Abe Stark came out ... and he was booed. So we went into the crowd to ask some demonstrators what all the booing was about.
(People explaining that they did not mind paying taxes - but - one man said his taxes were higher than his mortgage...etc.)
Finally ... everybody went away. But they went away mad after staging an invasion that Staten Island and City Hall won't forget.
It costs just five cents to take the ferry from Staten Island to the Island of Manhattan -- probably the last nickel fare left in our inflation ridden land.
Yesterday, a group of indignant tax-payers took advantage of that fact. They each paid a nickel and they came swarming up from Battery Park to the steps of the City Hall.
The cause of their rage was the decision of the City of New York to raise tax assessments on Staten Island property. The increase amounts to a walloping 27 (twenty-seven) percent.
It was just too much.
The demonstration, which started peacefully, soon go out of hand. New York policemen, tax-payers themselves, didn't arrest anybody. But the pushing and shoving ... the outraged cries and insults ... went on for an hour or more.