Upcoming Comm. Board Meeting on Washington Square Park Conservancy June 6, Location | Some History

Upcoming Comm. Board Meeting on Washington Square Park Conservancy June 6, Location | Some History
Veronica Bulgari, Gwen Evans, Betsey Ely conservancy founding members


Is Private Group Taking Over More Turf at Park Despite Public Claims ?

A location has been announced by Community Board 2 for the upcoming June meeting with discussion and an update on Washington Square Park conservancy.

Washington Square Park has to this point avoided the privatized, commercialized fate of its park neighbors (see Bryant Park, Madison Square Park, Central Park, Union Square Park) and continues to be run, as it has been for years, by the New York City Parks Department. That is at risk as private influence is increasingly gaining sway behind-the-scenes.

Private organization Washington Square Park Conservancy, the topic of the upcoming meeting, does not run or manage this Greenwich Village public space. But you might not realize this with how the organization presents itself publicly, and despite claims that its focus would be to “raise funds” and “plant flowers.” Questions are being raised as to whether the private group is overstepping.

Documents uncovered by WSP Blog showed how the organization always intended to have a larger footprint at the park while leaving copious amounts of information out of public statements in order to gain “approval” by the Community Board; the conservancy founding members denied this.

The next Community Board 2 Parks Committee meeting with the “biannual update” on the conservancy will be held on Wednesday, June 6th; the public is encouraged to attend, especially in light of recent changes at the downtown public space.

Further information to come.

Details, upcoming Community Board 2 Parks Committee meeting with Washington Square Park conservancy:

Wednesday, June 6th 6:30 p.m.
NYU Silver Building at 32 Waverly Place, one block from the park, Room 411, Manhattan

Accessible Entrance: 31 Washington Place, Manhattan

For more background, visit these links:

Previously at Washington Square Park Blog:

Washington Sq Park Private Conservancy Will be Focus of Community Board Meeting June 6

Documentation: What was Concealed in Public Statements by Washington Square Park Private Conservancy Founders

Also, Private Conservancy Watch

Impacts of Private Influence on Public Parks

NY Post: Washington Square Park Banning Hot-Dog Vendors (You Read it Here First!) – Gothamist Picked it Up Too!

Washington Square Park Performers Warned “Expressive Matter” Rules Will Now be Enforced; Tickets Will be Issued

Pictured above are the three main private conservancy founders: Veronica Bulgari, Gwen Evans, Elizabeth (Betsey) Ely from the Community Board sole “public hearing” to gain “approval” to “form” their group (it was later revealed by WSP Blog that they were already formed and up and running).

Photo: Cathryn

“Public-Private” Partnerships at NYC Parks Leave “Public” Behind While Lack of Media Scrutiny Continues

“Public-Private” Partnerships at NYC Parks Leave “Public” Behind While Lack of Media Scrutiny Continues
Brooklyn Bridge View
Brooklyn Bridge View

Updated 10/30, 11:37 a.m. – In NYC, there once was more significant coverage of “public-private” “partnerships” – and the issues that come along with them. 2013 seemed to be the height of media attention. Since Mayor Bill de Blasio took office, the public-private seems to be receiving far less scrutiny and … it’s all good, if we believe the press and elected officials.

Loss of Key Reporters Covering Private – Public Conflicts

Key reporters who had written excellent pieces on this topic are sadly no longer doing so – such as Patrick Arden who was at Metro and Next American City, Michael Powell at The New York Times who was moved to the Sports section !! – such a loss for us, a gain for sports, where writers are often more strategic and outline better, and Kate Briquelet at The New York Post; she recently moved to Daily Beast. (She covered the arrival and secrecy around the creation of the private Washington Square Park conservancy. Briquelet also covered the “hot dog” vendor ouster hoopla. Links to be added.) The writer who covers parks the most in New York City right now, Lisa Foderaro at The Times, seems to not weigh in or or consider that there is debate around private entities and public parks.

One park and its affiliated private entity has received some in-depth scrutiny in the last year: Brooklyn Bridge Park and its Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation.

I’ve Got a (Brooklyn) Bridge to Sell You?

The latest from DNAinfo, Brooklyn Bridge Pierhouse Violates City-Protected Scenic View, Survey Finds:

Brooklyn Bridge Park’s embattled Pierhouse intrudes upon a city-protected scenic view from the Promenade by nearly 20 feet, according to a new surveyor’s report commissioned by opponents of the project.

The Pierhouse, a luxury hotel and condo building constructed on public land along the East River, rises too high above the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, breaking the city’s zoning rules by encroaching on the scenic view, the report, commissioned by Save the View Now, found. …

The six-story Pierhouse will include 108 condos priced between $1.1 million and $11.1 million as well as a hotel, according to state documents. …

“This is the latest example of how the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corp (BBPC), a not-for-profit outside of normal New York City government and controlled by the mayor, has failed to provide any meaningful oversight to the construction by Toll Brothers and Starwood on Pier 1,” the group wrote in a press release.

Read more…