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Occupy Rikers: A Visit With an OWS Protester in Jail

I was about to say, “I'll see you soon,” but I had no idea if that was true. Instead, I just repeated, “I'll see you.”


To get to Rikers Island from my house, you take the B62 bus north and transfer to the Q100, helpfully labeled “To Rikers Island.” It seems odd that a normal city bus takes you to the world’s largest penal colony. The place seems so distant, ethereal. How could you just pay $2.25 and arrive to such a hellish place—an island—only 30 minutes later?

I was going to Rikers to see Ellis (aka Robert Nilon, aka Comrade El), who at that point had been in prison for about three weeks. Ellis and I had worked together on a few episodes of OWS Radio on WBAI, a community-supported radio station based in lower Manhattan. Even though we weren't very close, I figured he'd appreciate some company after being locked up for weeks.

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