May Day Happenings in NYC Parks Today: Free University at Madison Sq, Rally Union Sq, Pop-Up Occupation Bryant Park, More

Union Square (1882?)

* NYU Occupy Wall Street 2 p.m. Washington Square (will add in link)

* Rally at Union Square for May Day at 4 p.m. The first Labor Day March was held there in 1882 and was huge. Today, there will be a rally and then march beginning at 5:30 p.m. heading to Zuccotti Park.

* Bryant Park (40-42nd St. bet. 5th & 6th Ave.) 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Fun and friendly “Pop-up Occupation” featuring free food, a free market, free services, skill-shares, workshops, teach-ins, speak-outs, meditation, public art, performances, discussions, and trainings. (ed. note: love this!)

GuitarArmy rehearsal with Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine) at noon.

March at 2 pm to Madison Sq. Park and on to Union Square.

* Free University in Madison Square Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Free University is a collective educational experiment that will be held on May 1, 2012, from 10am-3pm. In solidarity with the general strike, the Free University offers a public space for the 99% to disengage from an unequal system and imagine a model for alternative education. Those gathered in Madison Square Park, and those meeting in other spaces in solidarity, will create a university that is open to all, without debt or tuition for students, without pre-requisites, age limits or any other disqualifying requirements. Learning can only happen through interaction, exchange, and dialogue. To create a living future together, all must be included and welcome.

The Free University is an open invitation to educators around New York City to participate in May Day 2012. During the day, lectures, workshops, skill-shares, and discussions will be held — all open to the public. …

No single day, park, or effort can contain our vision; instead, we propose and will struggle to make all our universities places of free education, inquiry, and access to knowledge for all. We demand that our society put forward the necessary resources to provide such an education for all.

Free U is a project made in partnership with educators and students from Brooklyn College/CUNY Grad Center/Eugene Lang College/New School for Social Research/Hunter College/ /Pratt Institute/New York University/Queensborough Community College/ Rutgers/Columbia University/Princeton.

There’s more!

99 Picket Lines (one at WSP at 8 p.m.)
Midtown Manhattan
Community groups, unions, affinity groups and OWS
more info
8am – Chase Building (NYCC) – 270 Park Ave (@48th St)
8am – New York Times Building (UAW) – 620 8th Ave (@41st St)
8am – Sotheby’s (Teamsters) – 1334 York Ave (@72nd St)
8am-10am – US Post Office (Community-Labor Alliance) – 421 8th Ave (@W31st St)
8:30am-9am – NYU Bobst Library (NYU for OWS) – 70 Washington Square South (@University Pl)
9am – Paulson & Co (Strong Economy for All) – 1251 6th Ave (@50th St)
10am – Chase Branch (NYCC) – 401 Madison Ave (@48th St)
11am – ABC Studios (NABET-CWA) – 66th Street (@Columbus)
12pm-1:30pm – Investment Banker Stephen Berger (CSEA AFSCME) – 46th St @ Park Ave
12pm-2pm – Immigration Court (NMASS) – 26 Federal Plaza (Worth & Lafeyette)
1:30pm – Capital Grille (ROC-NY) – 155 E 42nd St (@3rd Ave)
2pm – Chase and Citibank (Occupy Sunset Park) – 5th Ave & 54th St (BROOKLYN)
3pm – Strand Bookstore (Strand workers) – 828 Broadway (@12th St)
3pm – Beth Israel Hospital (Workers United) – 10 Union Square East (14th St & Park Ave)
8pm – Washington Square Park Arch (Musicians 802) – Washington Square North @ 5th Ave

Full Occupy Wall Street May Day Schedule Everywhere

The ‘New’ Times Square: Public Space as Suburban Mall and Now Also For Rent

New Times Square 1New Times Square 2Seriously, I think I felt more comfortable with how Times Square was before with all the traffic (and even before that when it was really, uh, gritty…) … this is totally geared to tourists. It feels antithetical to what New York is (and can be). Now it is reported that the Bloomberg Administration is selling off the rights to use this “public space,” a definite pattern, according to an article in yesterday’s New York Times:

When Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced plans in February to close stretches of Broadway to traffic to create pedestrian plazas, it was billed as a way to ease congestion and create oases for walkers, people watchers, idlers (chairs and tables were provided) and cyclists. Since the car-free zones were opened in May, they have been home to predictable urban vignettes: tourists resting with their shopping bags, New Yorkers pausing with their cellphones as buses go by a few feet away.

But the plazas can also make money for the city.

Fred Kent, founder and president of Project for Public Spaces, is quoted about the risks involved:  

“If it’s a public event, then that’s O.K., but what can happen very quickly is they can be privatized and limit public use and public access,” Mr. Kent said. He cited the Bryant Park fashion shows as an example of the latter, calling them “the most egregious private use of public space anywhere in the world.”

These “pedestrian plazas” are located: “on Broadway at Times Square from 47th to 42nd Street, at Herald Square from 35th to 33rd Street, and where Broadway and Fifth Avenue meet between 22nd and 25th Streets. Smaller plazas, called Broadway Boulevard, take up one lane of Broadway between 42nd Street and Herald Square.”

Photos:  Cat

On Bryant Park — Wednesday May 27th Hosts Author Dennis Cooper

Bryant Park Lawn Closed Sign May 09

Bryant Park Lawn Closed Sign May 09

I have mixed feelings on Bryant Park (take note of that sign posted a few weeks ago … everything is just so … precious).

It is one of the most commercialized and controlled of NYC’s parks (I suppose it’s also smack in the middle of midtown and not really in a neighborhood, per se). I have the feeling that the NYC Parks Department would like all the Parks to be like that one. Yes, it is governed by a private Conservancy. A true story: at one point the Conservancy hired a hawk to keep pigeons away. This went astray when the hawk attacked a small dog and they had to abandon the practice. Can’t we co-exist with the pigeons in a … park?

It’s not Washington Square Park – it has a whole other purpose as a park and public space. More about getting away from it all quietly then communing with or being entertained by your fellow New Yorkers — although City Search NYC says to come to the Dennis Cooper reading and talk (info below) to meet people!

Bryant Park does seem to have a wide array of activities going on perhaps because they need to create some as they don’t happen naturally (… am I being too hard on them?).

Nonetheless, here is the event info:

This Wednesday, May 27th from 12:30-1:45 p.m. the Bryant Park Summer Reading Series presents:

Dennis Cooper, Novelist, Poet, Critic, Editor, Blogger, and Performance artist (per Wikipedia), will be discussing his new book, Ugly Man, a book of short stories (published by Harper Perennial), and career. Hosted by Tony O’Neill.

Cooper’s site.

You can ‘follow’ Bryant Park on Twitter!

Bryant Park is at 42nd Street and 6th Avenue.