McLoughlin Take 2: Is Yurt City a permanent possibility?

Call me a worrywart, if you will, but I have been very anxious about the Occupy Albany encampment, s

Call me a worrywart, if you will, but I have been very anxious about the Occupy Albany encampment, specifically: How do those folks make it to work on time each morning, apparently lacking electricity for their alarm clocks?

Other things too, like how do they pass the time when they are not making and/or waving placards or meeting with city officials to plan a more permanent village across the street from the Capitol, and do the Occupiers include people with aesthetic sensibilities to wisely choose structures that will blend with Albany’s architectural milieu?

Do they make lanyards like we kids used to when not practicing archery at summer Scout camp? I saw the Occupiers on TV playing the bongos around the campfire but do they also tell each other tales of corporate greed to while the time? Those, however, are just minor details. Bigger questions loom about the more permanent community to be built.

From reports, it appears that yurts are the dwellings of choice. Yurts, according to my $5.99 Merriam Webster, are “light round tent(s) of skins or felt stretched over a lattice framework used by pastoral peoples of inner Asia.” Most of my nomadic friends in Mongolia and elsewhere tell me that these domed shelters are quite warm and attractive (I really do not have any nomadic Asian friends; I just said that).

But some friendly advice for the Occupiers: Keep in mind that your little community may be here for the long haul and build accordingly. Your little gathering of pup-like tents already has survived almost as long as Kim K.’s marriage, with no end in sight (kind of like a Jet Blue flight to Orlando).

But think about it, with no curfew enforcement, and not even a nightly perusal to see if people truly are inside the pup-likes, why would you OAers ever give up what probably will become the Capitol annex, a gathering place for demonstrators bused in from New York City on a variety of causes? I mean, given what’s been going on, there is absolutely no reason to believe that Occupy Albany will not be there in Academy Park one year from now, even five years from now. They seem to want a re-distribution of the nation’s wealth and that takes time.

The mayor is said to be concerned privately that more permanent structures could pose safety or legal issues. Seems that the mayor had the same concerns about allowing them to stay overnight in the park but then yielded with a little guidance from the district attorney and despite the friendly counsel of his mentor, the governor. And now the Common Council is talking about lifting all rules and regs for left-of-center demonstrations inside city limits. Plus that 90-minute confab this week between Occupy Albany’s “general assembly members” and city officials produced what the O-A people called “an incredibly positive conversation.” You are here to stay, so build wisely, you Occupiers, build wisely.

Sure, it would be nice if they would construct buildings that complement the architecture of City Hall right across Eagle Street. But hey, that two-toned brown and beige stone probably would cost a fortune these days. I suspect that Henry Hobson Richardson, the architect, must have gotten a deal at some Home Depot or Lowes, or whatever they called those places back in 1880 because he used the same rusticated Milford, Rhode Island, granite (“hey, which aisle is the rusticated granite?”) so many times (Trinity Church, Boston).

Me, I favor those Butler Building System structures of corrugated steel. Four or five of those babies would look incredibly swell if they were spaced nicely among the fountain and the greenery and the statue of Lew Swire, grinning and sitting on the park bench, minus the small bronzed bird that used to be sitting next to him until it kept getting stolen (I miss that bird, I really do). Have no fear; no longer do those steel pre-fabs look like ugly WWII Quonset huts and tell me, what would you need, a mess hall, a couple of dorms, maybe a combination day care-press center?

I can almost see it: The George Soros Mess Hall, the David Soares and Jerry Jennings Dorms, and I don’t know, name the day care building after the chief of police if it knocks you out. But please, nothing that looks like the Times Union Center or the Million Air terminal at the Slightly International Airport (those two buildings, resembling somewhat attractive oil-storage tanks, seem like a package deal in both design and material).

But I suspect that the Occupiers are more back-to-the-earth types who would favor yurts over corrugated steel every time. So go for it, full speed to Yurt City, and do not forget the restrooms. And until Yurt City is completed, wouldn’t it be nice if the Court of Appeals would allow you all to use the seven restrooms (one for each judge) in the $23 million Centennial Hall rehab job just down the street that includes nicely appointed apartments for the state’s highest judges.

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