Your ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Survival Guide

The New York Police Department’s surprise raid on Occupy Wall Street’s Zuccotti Park hamlet has put more than 100 full-time protesters out into the urban wilderness, with tents, sleeping bags, and tarps cleared out and banned from the park.

Removed, sometimes by force, early Tuesday morning, many of the occupiers have since returned. But with the infrastructure of the operation now bundled away by police, protesters face a chilling (and chilly) future: Winter in New York, without power or shelter.

Whether or not one supports the movement’s demands, there would seem to be a shared human, if not civic, interest in not seeing the remaining throngs frozen to death in a city park. That’s where the ABC News Unscientific Survival Guide comes in. Below, a collection of cheap and legal ways to stay warm when the power is trying to freeze you out:

Layer, Layer, Layer: Just like mom said. Start with thermal underwear. Lightweight, cheap, and available at any sporting goods shop, even the lesser brands are good for trapping body heat. The higher-end models use an interweaving process to soak up sweat and push it out to a fast-drying yarn. Or you could just find and wear a few pairs of pantyhose. After that, fleece, mylar, and “woobie” poncho lining (not to mention a poncho) are good options.

Channel Your Inner Equine: Police inside Zuccotti Park are not allowing protesters to lie down, so protesters should think like thoroughbreds and nap on their feet.

Get Clever: The cops can — and will — take your blankets. But what’s a newspaper? For 75 cents (on weekdays) you can grab a tabloid rag, at once ingratiating yourself with the local merchants, enriching your New York City experience, and most importantly, shuttling in to camp the next best thing to a sleeping bag or tarp. A layer of newspaper wrap is soft, warm and sure to keep you black, white, and red with warm blood coursing through your half-frozen veins.

The police have also confiscated electric generators, so plug-in heating sources are out of the question. But no one, so far, has banned water. Survivalist websites recommend filling rubber or nalgene (a tough plastic) bottles with the hottest liquid available, then wrapping the vessel in a towel or some kind of cloth to soak up any condensation. You can pass the candescent canteen around like a “hot potato” all night long.

Odds and Ends: With the exception of the Halloween weekend Nor’easter, it’s been a temperate fall in Manhattan. But past experience, in concert with the weatherman, suggests those days are nearing an end. Winter rules state the importance of covering up your hands, nose, toes, and face. For the other exposed places, try a thick schmear of Vaseline. Football players do it.

Aside from the obvious (hats, multiple pairs of socks, gloves, boots), the second-generation occupier would  do well to stock up on hand and foot warmers. Available, again, at most sporting goods outlets and even some bodegas and drugstores, they can be had for a few dollars. But make sure to enlist reserves, the packs last for just a few hours at a time.

Stay Active: Sounds simple, right? Well, it’s not! There’s a fine line here: Running laps, or any kind of extended physical exertion, is a bad idea. The idea is to keep the blood flowing, not sweat out whatever energy and heat you’ve stored up under that coating (see above) of cloth and chemicals. A few jumping jacks, perhaps some arm wrestling, or a spirited round of footsie with a fellow occupier would be a better move. The idea is to stay warm, of course, but also to keep dry.

Eat, Drink, and be Heavy: Staying warm “from the inside out” is another law of studied survivalists, so eat and drink as much as possible, preferably before you go to sleep. Yes, you’ve read that right — this isn’t a weight-loss guide. Eating before sleep is a way of banking calories, every last one of which will come in handy when morning freeze arrives. If you’re going to trap heat, as described above, you’ll need a steady source of inner fuel.




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