Updated — So, in response to my piece Timeline and Analysis of the Path that Led to Community Board 2’s Approval of the Washington Square Park Conservancy, a reader named Reta wrote in:
What would a conservancy do? Would it make the park private? I read some of the article, but didn’t really understand what impact a conservancy would have. Thanks!
Thanks to Reta for reading! I plan to put together a ‘cliff notes’ version of that post because it is very detailed. The reason for that is I think that detail is necessary to understand the full process and what’s gone on date, it outlines the way the Community Board ended up colluding with the Parks Department and private Conservancy members. (This could have been handled so many different ways.)
Reta asked a really great question because of course not everyone follows closely what’s going around the city at our public parks as they’ve been increasingly handed over to private forces. There is a clear precedent that has been set again and again and again.
The founders of the new Conservancy at Washington Square Park say “we’re not really a conservancy… every other name was taken, we’re just using that name” while implementing all the packaging of what every other full-on private conservancy pulling strings at our parks in New York City looks like. They had their chance to set themselves apart and they did not – particularly by purposefully operating behind closed doors, without an open or transparent process, showing clear disregard for the community at large.
To get the full picture of how conservancies are changing our public parks, view the new page: Impact of Private Influence & Conservancies on City Parks.