Irony reigns supreme.
FINANCIAL DISTRICT — Twenty-one restaurant workers lost their jobs last week because of the Occupy Wall Street protests.
Marc Epstein, owner of the Milk Street Cafe at 40 Wall St., said he had no choice but to let nearly a quarter of his staff go last Friday after he saw his sales drop by 30 percent in the six weeks since the protests started.
“What are [the protesters] trying to accomplish here?” Epstein asked Monday.
“The end result is that I and all the wonderful people who work for me are collateral damage.”
Epstein said the biggest problem is the police barricades that have lined Wall Street since Sept. 17, making it difficult for people to see his restaurant and cross the street. Epstein has also had to contend with closed subway entrances, police checkpoints and frequent Occupy Wall Street marches, which he said have dampened the Financial District’s formerly thriving street life.
“Now, Wall Street is deserted,” Epstein said. “The only people who walk down Wall Street are people who have to walk down Wall Street. It’s transformed from a beautiful pedestrian mall to a police siege.”