Manhattan Community Board 8 Asserts Itself: Expresses “Outrage” Over Parks Department Installation of Mobile Food Carts at Tavern on the Green space; Behind-the-Scenes Deal

From the list serve , “1000+ Friends,” that keeps many of us informed on Parks/Parks Department issues, news that Manhattan Community Board 8 — blindsided by NYC Parks Department actions which kept them in the dark, and, in fact, misinformed them on what would be coming to the former Tavern on The Green space — issued a resolution expressing their “outrage” over the decision to place mobile food trucks in the Central Park space, contrary to what was previously presented as their plans.

Just a note that Community Board 2’s Parks Committee often hides behind the oft quoted statement “community boards are just advisory,” but, of course, the body can always issue resolutions which are submitted to the City Council and the media to raise awareness of issues like this one.

And certainly more than a few issues were raised at the last Parks Committee meeting earlier this month in relation to Washington Square Park – but more on that another day.

From 1000+ Friends:

WHERE’S my CRYSTAL CHANDELIER?

Fans of the old time gaudy excess at the Tavern On the Green are definitely not happy with what’s been happening at there lately. In fact, they’ve resolved to oppose it — or at least look for some more facts amid the lack of fancy.

Witness the following resolution was passed by Manhattan Community Board 8 at its last full Board meeting:

RESOLUTION: WHEREAS the Parks Dept. failed to inform Community Board 8 about the renovations to the Tavern on the Green site, which is a landmarked structure in a landmarked park; and

WHEREAS the Parks Dept., without any consultation to the Community Board 8, awarded contracts to food vendors who will sell cooked food from unattractive and potentially polluting trucks at the Tavern on the Green site, in contrast to plans presented to Community Board 8 for vending via specialty carts; and

WHEREAS the Parks Dept. ignored Community Board 8’s July 2010 resolution asking the Department to postpone issuing RFPs for food vendors on the Tavern on the Green site until they presented their plans to the Community Board; and

WHEREAS the Parks Dept. ignored all of Community Board 8’s suggestions effective and attractive ways to sell food temporary at the Tavern on the Green site; therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED that Community Board 8, Manhattan, expresses outrage over the failure to inform the Board before renovations were made to the Tavern on the Green site and contracts were awarded for selling food at the site from trucks instead of the previously intended specialty carts; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that CB8 urges the Parks Department to halt plans for allowing vendors to sell food at the Tavern on the Green site until an alternative to the use of trucks is identified.

Photo from & read more at A Walk in the Park Blog.

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4 Comments

  1. monica

     /  October 25, 2010

    I was at the CB8 meeting where this resolution was passed. CB8 Members were very angry. Aren’t there rules that must be abided by? Is there anything that can be done from a legal perspective?

  2. Hi Monica,

    Good questions. Thanks for writing & so great to hear you were at that meeting.

    Perhaps contacting the Public Advocate, Bill de Blasio? I don’t know if anything can be done from a legal perspective but there should be. It IS fairly outrageous that they presented one set of plans and then, behind the community’s ‘back’, went forward with another.

    I’m not sure who your City Council Member is – do they have a position on it?

    There are rules but, as this illustrates, the Parks Department makes its own rules and considers itself accountable to basically no one, except the Mayor. They again and again show their dislike and disdain for keeping New Yorkers informed and involved in planning.

    The City Council is supposed to provide oversight — although they will say ‘it’s limited.’ It’s set up now mostly to oversee the agency’s budget but it would seem there’s more that can be done.

    From time to time, the Council passes legislation on Parks Department internal workings (such as the necessity to reveal where private money going into public parks comes from).

    The head of the Council Parks Committee, Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, has been very outspoken about how the Parks Department operates without transparency and by its own rules.

    Her info is:

    Legislative Office Address
    250 Broadway
    Suite 1882
    New York, NY 10007

    Legislative Office Phone
    212-788-6960

    Legislative Office Fax
    212-442-1564

    Email: mviverito@council.nyc.gov

    Report back if you find out anything more please!

    best,
    Cathryn

  3. Monica McLaughlin

     /  November 24, 2010

    Manhattan Community Board 8 Asserts Itself? Hardly. I attended the November 4, 2010 CB8 Parks Committee meeting and came away very disapointed. Yes, they are still outraged. But they have not done a damned thing; in fact, they did not even know whether their rights as Community Board Members had been violated. (They had. According to the City Charter, if the Parks Department uses Capital Funds, they must present the community with their plans.) Lots of discussion (and bickering) about writing a letter to protest. Why wasn’t this already done???!!! Manhattan Community Board Parks Committee Members — Margaret Price, Barbara Rudder & Judy Schneider have got to go. They are just not up to the job of representing the community. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer are you listening? Get rid of these useless daft old bats. PLEASE.

  4. Hi Monica,

    Thanks for the update!

    It would seem writing a letter of protest would be a fairly easy route (seriously, re: why wasn’t this done…?). I’ve noticed the Community Boards get so accustomed to disowning their power by repeatedly saying they are “just advisory” while not even advising!

    Thanks for this info!

    best,
    Cathryn.

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