In Occupy-style, they are pop-up and pop-out protesters on Montreal's streets. A jester threw juggling clubs high in the air, a masked face beamed — the sweat of the warm day glistening over her make-up — and the nose of a clown tilting up to figures on stilts, occasionally twisting round in a dance-trot. An impromptu band shook beans in glass bottles and beat drumsticks, while an accordion played old favourites. Whistles tried to organise the crowd. Dogs menaced one another, tying themselves up in their leashes as their owners passed by.
As a visitor, you quickly realise that New York City is unsentimental. New Yorkers are always looking forward. It’s in the nature of Wall Street. No wonder the Occupy movement started here in downtown Manhattan, the financial district. As in all other US cities, there is a dramatic contrast between rich and poor, a Third World within the First World. Yet only 17% of the population thinks this is a problem: most have bought the American Dream that perhaps next year they too will become millionaires. But for many of the poor, it will remain bleak.