Village Voice on Balloon Protest

See Village Voice article here.

(They link to our blog entry on Bloomberg/NYU/Tisch Privatization of the Park within the story.)

Report back from Washington Sq Park Balloon Protest 3/13


Yesterday’s Balloon Protest organized by NYU Theatre students was a big success! It was colorful and upbeat while simultaneously providing a platform for people to express their outrage over the City’s domineering plans for the “renovation” of Washington Square Park. The eight hour event brought attention to the issue to many people strolling by who weren’t aware of what was transpiring behind the fenced off Northwest Quadrant.

While I did not see any balloons in SUPPORT of the City’s plans for the Park, here are some of the sentiments expressed:

“I wish we respected the history and beauty of imperfection a little more.”

“I miss my fountain.”

“This is not WashingTisch Square Park.”

“Since when has Greenwich Village been symmetrical?”

“Stop killing trees.”

“You took our park. I’ll remember this when the revolution comes.”

“Don’t gentrify the park.”

“Mayor Bloom-iani commits arborcide.”

“It’s getting more fascist by the day.”

“I’m tired of walking around the Park instead of through it.”

“The renovation is a waste of energy, money, material and TIME.”

“My tuition money went to this? I want a refund.”

“We liked the Park just fine. Thank you.”

“Did you think about the squirrels?”

“Who’s going to take responsibility when the trees start dying?”

“I have nowhere to perform. Thanks for ruining my career.”

“I didn’t go to NYU for 4 years to graduate at fucking Yankee Stadium.”

“Not all change is good change.”

“While we’re at it why don’t we move the Statue of Liberty and Times Square?”

“Let it be.”

View some photos from the event, here.

Contact NYC elected officials re: Washington Sq Park

Now is a good time to contact the New York City Council as they prepare for hearings next week on the Parks Department Preliminary Budget!

The Parks Department needs further oversight by the New York City Council. The Washington Square Park “renovation” alone has skyrocketed from $16 million to $25-30 million, an outrageous figure. We’re alarmed that the city is using this radical and unnecessary overhaul (and the rising cost) as a backdoor method to privatization of the Park. Everyone agrees that the Parks Department let Washington Square Park fall into disrepair and that the Park needs some repair. It does NOT need a redesign which reduces the public gathering space, relocates and gives naming rights of the historic fountain (to the Tisch Family after they contributed $2.5 million to the Mayor’s Fund), and moves virtually every piece of this successful Park into a new location. 11 trees have been cut down thus far for this folly. As a great public space (see Project for Public Spaces study of Washington Square Park), what is the reason for this outrageous redesign?

A responsible budget by the Parks Department would allow for Washington Square Park to be modestly repaired while allocating funds to Parks throughout the five boroughs in communities that desperately need the attention.

For other problems with the Parks Department, refer to this previous entry.

Contact: Helen Foster (Chair of the Parks Committee of the City Council) #718/588-7500; fax# 718/588-7790; email: foster@council.nyc.ny.us; Alan Gerson (City Council representative for Greenwich Village, member Parks Committee) #212/788-7722; fax #212/788-7727; email: gerson@council.nyc.ny.us; Christine Quinn(City Council Speaker): #212/564-7757; fax #212/564-7347; email: cquinn@council.nyc.ny.us

** Pictures coming from 3/13 Balloon Protest! **

note: CLICK on the photo above for more detail. It shows the Arch minus the Fountain (the two had been standing together OVER one hundred years). The fountain area is all torn up.