Union Square as Public Commons – Creative Assembly Today 5 p.m. Union Square North

Union Sq Pavilion 2007 and 1960\'s Protest

Union Square Pavilion in 2007 and during a 1960’s Protest Against Synagogue Vandalism

Wikipedia defines a public space as:

a place where anyone has a right to come without being excluded because of economic or social conditions, although this may not always be the case in practice. One of the earliest examples of public spaces are commons. For example, no fees or paid tickets are required for entry, nor are the entrants discriminated based on background.

Public space has become something of a touchstone for critical theory. Its relevance has become more pressing as capital encloses more and more of what were thought of as ‘commons.’

Most streets, including the pavement are considered public space, as are town squares or parks.

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Today, Wednesday, May 21st, a group of creative activists has called for a 5 p.m. gathering to protect our public commons – specifically Union Square where plans to place a private restaurant in the historic Pavilion have been held off – for now. The plans however call for a reduction of the public space. There is also the issue of the cutting down of trees to put in (potentially) that restaurant and expand the playground.

Much of the control and privatization of Union Square Park has been handed over to the local Business Improvement District(BID), Union Square Partnership. The co-chair of this BID is influential restauranteur Danny Meyer.

The announcement for today’s event states:

Our critique, without community space or public space, there can be no democracy.

So we are meeting to attempt to find space to assemble with images of icons of Union Square’s past – Emma Goldman, Paul Robeson – to claim a space to speak, meet, build community, share space, and recite the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Is there still a space in NYC where we can assemble to read the First Amendment?

Come help us find out Wednesday at 5 P.M. at Union Square North (16th Street).

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