NEW YORK (WABC) -- Former Deputy Mayor John Zuccotti, whose namesake park was briefly taken over by Occupy Wall Street protesters in 2011, has died. He was 78.
Zuccotti was a real estate investor who championed the revival of lower Manhattan in the wake of the September 11th terror attacks on the World Trade Center.
In 2006, a private park owned by Brookfield Asset Management that was damaged on 9/11 was restored and renamed in honor of Zuccotti.
His green space later became the infamous staging ground of Occupy Wall Street protesters in 2011. NYPD officials cleaned out the protesters by the end of the year.
Mayor Bill de Blasio released the following statement:
"Today we mourn the loss of John Zuccotti, a public servant who dedicated his career to improving lives of New Yorkers. John long served his city and his country - as an officer in the United States Army, First Deputy Mayor under Mayor Abraham D. Beame, Commissioner and then Chairman of the City Planning Commission under Mayor John Lindsay, on committees to improve public welfare under Mayor Ed Koch and Governor Hugh Carey, as well as at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. After the tragic terror attacks on September 11, 2001, John was a powerful voice for the revitalization of downtown Manhattan, overseeing the regrowth of Liberty Park. I turned to John often for advice, and he would often share his stories of guiding the city in tough times. He was widely admired for being an honest broker, and was equally respected in the public and private sectors. The park's renaming to Zuccotti Park in 2006 is a fitting and lasting memorial for John's compassionate and tireless efforts to rebuild and fortify our city in its gravest time of need. He will be remembered by New Yorkers for his spirit and his unwavering commitment to the city he loved."
Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg released the following statement:
"New York City has lost one of its most devoted champions and civic leaders, and someone I was lucky to call a friend, John Zuccotti. Inside and outside city government, over the course of five decades, John helped shape the future of the five boroughs. The instrumental role he played during the 1970s fiscal crisis helped set the stage for the city's turnaround, and in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, there was no stronger supporter of Lower Manhattan's rebirth than John. We were fortunate to have him on the Board of the National September 11th Memorial and Museum, and we will long remember his kindness and generosity. My heart goes out to his wife, Susan, and their family."
Ex-Deputy Mayor John Zuccotti, champion of post-9/11 redevelopment, dies at 78