Walking Tour: Washington Square Park – A Guide to New York City’s Redesign of a Perfect Public Space, Saturday, September 20th

Washington Sq Arch behind gatesWALKING TOUR: WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK: PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE — A Guide to New York City’s Redesign of a Perfect Public Space * Saturday, September 20th, 1 p.m.

Meet Up at Washington Square Arch, Washington Square North @ Fifth Avenue ; $5 donation

Recommended! by Time Out NY: In the 1950s, Jane Jacobs helped keep cars out of Washington Square. But a new redesign – which will entail dismantling the fountain, removing the chess tables and cutting down decades-old trees – puts the beloved green space in jeopardy all over again.” 7/24/08

Come on the tour (it’s fun!) and see what the redesign of Washington Square Park really means, while learning some of the Park and neighborhood’s illustrious history.

Presented by Washington Square Park Blog and Washington Square Community Improvement District(CID)

Trains: A,B,C,D,E,F to West 4th Street/Washington Square

Raindate: Saturday, September 27th, 1 p.m.

Community Improvement Districts(CID) are a new model organizing to promote the well being of the community. CIDs are distinguished from the Business Improvement Districts(BIDS), whose sole interest is promoting better business and an environment conducive to shopping. At Washington Square Park, the neighborhood BIDS, along with NYU, the Tisch Family, and Mayor Bloomberg have played a role in a redesign plan that is destroying the very heart of this renowned park.

More about Community Improvement Districts (CID) here.

What are New York City’s plans? Click here.

Community Improvement District(CID) model to counteract the far-reaching Business Improvement Districts(BID)

Community Improvement District
Although this is a Recycled Entry, originally published June 12th, 2008, it’s also a reminder of the Community Improvement District(CID) model. We are going to begin giving out information at Washington Square Park on the Washington Square CID soon!

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It seems every district in New York City has a Business Improvement District, breezily referred to as BIDS. On the face of it, businesses wanting to improve their districts … it sounds so benign, right?

But as artist and activist Robert Lederman outlined in a previous entry Parks for Sale: Business Improvement Districts and the Privatization of our Public Spaces,” the BIDS don’t just stay on their side of the street. In Mayor Bloomberg’s New York, their tentacles spread far and wide, amidst the roots of the trees, up through the dirt or concrete, and busting out into our public spaces.

A new model, Community Improvement Districts(CIDS), works to protect, preserve and promote the well being of the community. The needs of the people are the primary concern, distinguishing the CIDS from the better known and financed groups known as BIDS, whose sole interest is to promote better business and an environment conducive to shopping.

City-wide pattern

The city underfunds the park, pushes aside public funds and then brings in a BID and a few millionaire friends posing as saviors.

Union Square Park

The local BID, Union Square Partnership (co-chaired by restauranteur Danny Meyer), runs all the activities in Union Square Park from clean-up to yoga! A significant down side is that they have unrestrained control over what happens at this public space (including cracking down on artists and free speech). Their latest plans to place a restaurant within the historic Pavilion (more…)

Union Square Park “Push Back Picnic” Takes on Danny Meyer and Union Square Cafe

Outside Union Square Cafe July 2ndBearing Trees!Outside Union Sq Cafe July 2ndThe “Push Back Picnic” presented by Union Square Not For Sale/Community Improvement District(CID) occurred at Union Square Park yesterday and contained a bit of a surprise for restauranteur and Union Square Partnership co-chair Danny Meyer. Union Square Partnership is the local BID(business improvement district) and has tremendous influence over what goes on at Union Square Park. It is their plan that aspires to place a private restaurant in the historic Pavilion at Union Square.

The picnic began on the lawn at Union Square near the Abraham Lincoln statue on the northern end. There was preaching by Reverend Billy, singing by Community Improvement District/”Church of Stop Shopping” choir, petition signing (to stop the building of a restaurant in the historic Pavilion and further privatization of the Park) and watermelon!

Then, a large contingent, including a marching band, carrying trees marched through the Park and along 16th Street until they came to Danny Meyer’s Union Square Cafe. Reverend Billy, Savitri D. and others sauntered in bringing with them the trees to the surprise of stunned diners and restaurant staff. Their message: “Union Square, Not For Sale.” The Park is pushing back.

Not surprisingly (although they were in there for a pret-ty long time), they were then asked to leave by management and also undercover policemen who came in to the restaurant from the street. After having delivered the message, Reverend Billy laid sod and trees down on the sidewalk outside the front restaurant window and put Danny Meyer on notice:

The BID has had enough influence on the Park; the community is pushing back and reclaiming our public spaces. A large sign appeared in front of the Cafe: “Union Square Community Pushes Back.” There was chanting. “Union Square. Not for Sale.” The lively group then marched and chanted its way along 16th Street back to the Park.

Really not enough of this type action goes on in our city right now. Diners seated outside at the Blue Water Grill and the Coffee Shop, both on the corners of Union Square West, watched in awe, took pictures, some chanted along.

Event: Walking Tour! Washington Square Park: Past, Present, and Future: A Guide to NYC’s Redesign of a Perfect Public Space Saty June 28th

\Come to the Walking Tour! Saturday, June 28th, 12 noon

WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK: PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE:  A Guide to New York City’s Redesign of a Perfect Public Space

(Raindate Saturday, July 12th, 12 noon)

Meet Up at Washington Square Arch, Washington Square North @ Fifth Avenue ; $5

Time Out NY this week wrote:  In the 1950s, Jane Jacobs helped keep cars out of Washington Square.  But a new redesign – which will entail dismantling the fountain, removing the chess tables and cutting down decades-old trees – puts the beloved green space in jeopardy all over again.  [Guide] leads this tour through WSP, which highlights some of the proposed “improvements.”

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Washington Square Park Blog and Washington Square Community Improvement District (CID) present a walking tour: “Washington Square Park Past, Present, and Future: A Guide to New York City’s Redesign of a Perfect Public Space” on Saturday, June 28th at 12 noon.

A unique Walking Tour of Washington Square Park Past, Present and Future, it will include a Guide to New York City government’s redesign of Washington Square Park – a controversial project that will alter the historic nature and structure of this successful public space.

The tour will also include history of the Park (Past) and what’s being done right now(Present).

Community Improvement Districts(CID) are a new model organizing to protect, preserve and promote the well being of our community. The needs of people are our primary concern, distinguishing us from the better known and financed groups referred to as Business Improvement Districts(BIDS), whose sole interest is promoting better business and an environment conducive to shopping. At Washington Square Park, the neighborhood BIDS, along with NYU, the Tisch Family, and Mayor Bloomberg have played a role in a redesign plan that is destroying the very heart of Washington Square Park.

Trains: A,B,C,D,E,F to West 4th Street/Washington Square

More about Community Improvement Districts (CID) here.

What are New York City’s plans? Click here.

Community Improvement Districts (CIDs) to counteract the far-reaching Business Improvement Districts(BIDS)!

Community Improvement District
It seems every district in New York City has a Business Improvement District, breezily referred to as BIDS. On the face of it, businesses wanting to improve their districts … it sounds so benign, right?

But as artist and activist Robert Lederman outlined in a previous entry Parks for Sale: Business Improvement Districts and the Privatization of our Public Spaces,” the BIDS don’t just stay on their side of the street. In Mayor Bloomberg’s New York, their tentacles spread far and wide, amidst the roots of the trees, up through the dirt or concrete, and busting out into our public spaces.

A new model, Community Improvement Districts(CIDS), works to protect, preserve and promote the well being of the community. The needs of the people are the primary concern, distinguishing the CIDS from the better known and financed groups known as BIDS, whose sole interest is to promote better business and an environment conducive to shopping.

At Union Square Park, the local BID, Union Square Partnership (co-chaired by restauranteur Danny Meyer), runs all the activities in the Park from clean-up to yoga! A significant down side is that they have unrestrained control over what happens at this public space (including cracking down on artists and free speech). Their latest plans to place a restaurant within the historic Pavilion have been met with community disapproval and outrage. It was design plans they initiated that led to fourteen old trees being chopped down for no reason, other than they were in the way of the design. (Apparently the idea of working them into the design was not considered). And our NYC Parks Department, under the aegis of Mayor Bloomberg, supports this, and further privatization of our parks.

It is part of a city-wide pattern. The city underfunds the park, pushes aside public funds and then brings in a BID and a few millionaire friends posing as saviors.

At Washington Square Park, the local BIDS(who have prominent positions on local Community Board 2), along with NYU and the Tisch Family, and with full support and implementation by Mayor Bloomberg and his Parks Department, have played a role in a redesign plan that is destroying the very heart of this beloved and historic Park.

The BIDS’ role in our communities needs to be lessened, not enlarged. The BIDS need to stay out of decision-making related to our public spaces. We need transparency and democracy. What we have in our city parks and public spaces is considerably removed from that at the moment. The Community Improvement District model works to change that and, instead of the well-being of Danny Meyer or NYU or Barnes & Noble, places the well-being of the community first.