Alternate View on Performers at WSP – Time Limits?

The WSP performance crackdown has, seemingly, temporarily subsided and will be addressed at the CB2 Parks Committee meeting tonight.

In the meantime, a neighbor, Seth W. who lives at 2 Fifth Avenue wrote in as follows:

I live in 2 Fifth and face the arch and have always enjoyed the music echoing in but now it has become disruptive. My position is simply: let music be part of Washington Square Park so long as the performers vary their music and do not stay more than one hour so that we can hear different musicians and instruments. VARIETY is what is needed and not the same music like those singers who now are found outside the Met Museum of art doing the same songs over and over. Send these musicians who also put out their hats or music cases like the banjo player, etc. to the Met, keep our park open to musicians who have practiced and come to give a performance for no longer than an hour and move on.

Seth writes, that, for him, the music became more noticeably disruptive (my word, not his) in the Fall. He says that certain performers are “most egregious in staying too long and … never stopping and endlessly repeating their solos.”

At the CB2 meeting last month, more than one performer cited the Arch as having perfect acoustics and, indeed, the Opera Gals told me “the Arch is the spot to sing.”

Seth also believes that “NO MUSIC be performed under the arch for it is an echo chamber that blasts onto 5th Ave and into our apartments. I will defend the right for music to be played in the park but limits are needed and stopped by 10 at night.”

To me, this becomes a slippery slope – the minute you attempt to put restrictions on this and the Parks Department’s way of going about this is bad enough. I’m open to airing an alternative viewpoint. Why any sound issues would have changed more recently from 50 years of performances in the park; what the park is known for, I don’t know.

Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe on Performance Crackdown At WSP — What he said… What he meant…

In last week’s Clyde Haberman column in the New York Times “A Word to the ‘Wise and Honest’ on Washington Square Park” which addressed the performance crackdown, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe was quoted as follows and we’ve interpreted his comment for you here at WSP Blog

What he said:

The commissioner of parks and recreation, Adrian Benepe, in a ’60s music moment of his own, said the balance was between the performers and those who go to the park to “enjoy the sounds of silence or the trees blowing in the wind.”

What he meant:

Adrian Benepe, in a 60s music moment of his own, said the balance was between the performers and those who go to the park to “enjoy the sounds of silence” (except for police vehicles driving through and the crash of construction machinery) “or the (dead and dying) trees blowing in the wind.”