Stephen Patti, 85, was one of the protesters at Zuccotti Park.
Stephen Patti, 85, was one of the protesters at Zuccotti Park. Eyder Peralta/NPR
Many of the protesters have retreated to Zuccotti Park this afternoon. The atmosphere is festive with drumming and dancing. But we found Stephen Patti, an 85-year-old World War II vet, sitting at one of the park's tables. He was wearing an American Legion hat and a serious look on his face.
A drizzle started to fall over Manhattan. But Patti just sat there. Then a cold gust of wind blew through the trees, creating a blizzard of yellow leaves and almost simultaneously, as if reacting to a natural cue, a loud call rumbled through the crowd: "Take to the streets."
Half of the park rushed the nearby street and Patti shook his head.
"The war is over," said Patti. "It's time to negotiate."
What he means, he said, is that the Occupy Movement has refocused the conversation in the country. It's brought income inequality to the public discourse, so Patti said the time has come to issue a set of demands, sit down with government, with Wall Street and find a way to close that gap and bring better paying jobs to more people, instead of handing out massive bonuses to a few CEOs.
"You gotta sit down," he said. "People get tired of this when it disrupts their life. Now is the time to negotiate."