Event: Stop Privatization of Public Space/Protect Our Trees – Arbor Day; Fri April 25 Union Sq Park

Street Artists, Activists, Community Members, Public Space and Free Speech Advocates (Everyone Invited) Gather to Protect Our Trees and Protest Privatization of Public Space

In Honor of Arbor (Tree) Day Friday April 25th

When: Friday, April 25th, 6-8 p.m.

Where: UNION SQUARE PARK, 14th Street betw. Union Sq East and Union Sq West by Gandhi Statue, Manhattan

Despite Mayor Bloomberg’s hyping of his “MillionTreesNYC” P.R. initiative, thousands of mature trees have been cut down in all five boroughs at our City’s Parks, mostly in the interest of privatization of public space, which has dramatically increased under Mayor Bloomberg.

Under the Bloomberg Administration and NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, the plans (stopped at the moment by a Temporary Restraining Order) move forward for Union Square Park to lose a large portion of its public space and 13 mature trees in order to accommodate a private restauranteur.

Since Friday, April 25th is Arbor Day, a day in which we celebrate, nurture, and plant trees (the first Arbor Day took place in 1872), we thought it a perfect day to look at Mayor Bloomberg’s true legacy on trees in our city, particularly in our Parks.

As Union Square Park is the latest Park being descended upon by the Bloomberg Administration, we plan to gather there.



Mayor Bloomberg and Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe’s intention is to privatize Union Square Park, thereby reducing the famous GreenMarket, as well as artist and free speech zones, cutting down 13 MATURE TREES, in order to create restaurant space in the historic Pavilion
on the north end for restauranteur Danny Meyer (co-chair of the local BID, business improvement district, Union Square Partnership). Street Artists and Free speech protesters are at risk as the space becomes further privatized and constricted during construction and afterwards.


*Washington Square Park11 mature trees have been destroyed in order to “align” the famous fountain with the historic Arch (no matter that they’d been unaligned for over a century). Naming rights to the Fountain sold by the City to the TISCH Family. More are headed for the chopping block.

*Randall’s Island Thousands of trees have been slaughtered to privatize sports fields on Randall’s Island. Parks Commissioner Benepe and Mayor Bloomberg were hoping to privatize entirely this 273 acre park and give the majority of access to 20 private schools within New York City. (A lawsuit stopped this aspect of their privatization scheme.)

*Yankee Stadium400 trees were chopped down from TWO Parks in the Bronx (which desperately needs parks) which were destroyed to make way for the new Yankee Stadium.

*East River ParkOver 105 trees axed to “reconstruct” the East River Park.

*Highland Park/Ridgewood ReservoirThousands of trees are on the chopping block with Parks Commissioner Benepe’s plans to destroy the natural landscape and habitat here to install dangerous artificial turf in this spot on the Brooklyn/Queens border.

Let’s stop the Bloomberg Administration’s continuous privatizing of our public space while destroying our City’s mature trees.

Temporary Restraining Order issued against NYC work on Union Square Park

A lawsuit against the city of New York and the Union Square Partnership in relation to their redesign plans for Union Square Park is being announced this morning as well as the issuance last night of a TRO(Temporary Restraining Order) by the New York State Supreme Court on the City’s work at Union Square Park.

The NYC Parks Department’s plans for Union Square Park, according to NYC Park Advocates, which announced the lawsuit, would “take away thousands of square feet of desperately needed play space in a community with the lowest amount of playground space and the highest concentration of restaurants in the city.”

The press release from NYC Park Advocates also states that the previously announced $5 million “anonymous donation” has now risen to $7 million. The stipulation with the donation is that the redesign of Union Square Park include a restaurant. That restaurant is believed to be already allocated to restauranteur Danny Meyer, also co-chair of the Union Square Partnership, the local BID (business improvement district).

“The neighborhood wants the pavilion to be returned to its historic use as a children’s play space as well as for other community uses. For more than 100 years, the pavilion provided indoor space for children.”

The plaintiffs prevailed in their request for a TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) last night (4/21) which was issued by State Justice John E.H. Stackhouse of New York State Supreme Court. This stopped work on the project. The city has insisted on pushing forward this unpopular plan for Union Square Park despite community opposition.

Also, Arbor (Tree) Day Event at Union Square Park will take place Friday, April 25th from 6-8 p.m. to Protect Our Trees and Stop Privatization of Public Space. Despite Mayor Bloomberg’s hyping of his “MillionTreesNYC” P.R. initiative, thousands of mature trees have been cut down in all five boroughs at our City’s Parks, mostly in the interest of privatization of public space, which has dramatically increased under Mayor Bloomberg. More Details Later Today.