One guy selling newspapers to help the homeless told a customer that there were 20,000 people here earlier.
"Wow. I just hope they don't stop."
"Oh, they won't."
Down at Zuccotti, the movement's headquarters, occupiers prepared for bed. At night, moving through the park is trickier than by day; there are only narrow paths between the long, winding rows of campers, laid out as though in cemetery plots. Some have shirts or bandanas tied around their eyes as makeshift sleep-masks.
As I maneuvered down one of these lanes, a young bearded man wearing overalls but no shirt beamed a drug-widened smile toward me. He wasn't acknowledging a friend standing behind me. He outstretched his arms, blocking the path, so I hugged him. It was friendly and several seconds long. When he let go, he moved along, not having said a word.
Several people walked the park, each carrying two trash bags—one for recycling—picking up litter with green-gloved hands. On Broadway, a man and a woman swept the sidewalk. The library seemed more active than usual, with occupiers perusing for bedtime reading the hundreds of books packed into plastic tubs and roughly organized by subject. (Religion includes Bill Cosby's Fatherhood.) A five year old ran around wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, shouting, "boo!"
Then someone screamed, "White shirt!," shattering the somnolence. "Pig!" shouted another. "Pig coming through!" A higher ranking police officer steered through the aisles with several occupiers following, some wielding video recorders. He told one group to extinguish a candle and returned to the sidewalk perimeter. The excitement ebbed.
Along Cedar Street, one cop told another that a lot of what the demonstrators had been saying made sense, and that the protests could refocus the political discussion on jobs. "I don't want to see anybody get hurt," he said. But "part of me hopes this thing grows."