A day after protesters associated with the Occupy Wall Street movement fanned out in several marches from the southern tip of Manhattan to Times Square, resulting in dozens of arrests, Sunday’s protests were somewhat smaller and significantly more subdued.
The number of demonstrators swelled in the early afternoon, particularly around the edges of Zuccotti Park, where they attracted crowds of passersby. A street theater troupe dressed in dark suits performed an improvised a skit about the perils of becoming a greedy banker. A drum circle grew at the western end of the park, while a band featuring a washtub bass entertained crowds on the eastern side.
They were joined by a number of well-known entertainers. Russell Simmons, the music and fashion entrepreneur, talked to protesters about increasing taxes on the wealthy and limiting the political influence of corporations.
“I was talking to Jay-Z yesterday, and he said he’d be happy to pay more taxes to help pay for health care and education,” Mr. Simmons said. “I feel the same way.”
Mr. Simmons, who rose to prominence as co-founder of Def Jam records partly by helping early rap performers, including the Beastie Boys and LL Cool J create successful brand identities, was asked about the protest movement’s lack of a consistent message.
“I think a message will crystalize,” he said. “Everybody here agrees that we need to get money out of politics. That’s the message.”
John Oliver, a comedian with “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central, appeared and began interviewing protesters. One interviewee, Will Frankfort, was dressed in a Viking costume, complete with a helmet, a plastic ax and a plastic war hammer.
“Do you feel your cause is hurt by the fact that you’re dressed like a Viking?” Mr. Oliver asked Mr. Frankfort, 30.
“When I came out of the house dressed like a Viking, I expected some snickers,” said Mr. Frankfort, who lives in Montclair, N.J. “I just want to express my support for these people protesting.”
After Saturday’s large turnout and arrests, there was a sense among some protesters that the movement was hitting its stride. John Meade, a plumber from Warwick, N.Y., held his new cardboard sign, which read, “Now WE are too big to fail!”
Even on a slow Sunday afternoon, he said, the protests appeared larger, more focused and better organized than they did on his first trip to Zuccotti Park two weeks ago.
“The food, the meetings, the announcements, it’s all running smoother now,” said Mr. Meade, 54.