Temporary Restraining Order issued against NYC work on Union Square Park

A lawsuit against the city of New York and the Union Square Partnership in relation to their redesign plans for Union Square Park is being announced this morning as well as the issuance last night of a TRO(Temporary Restraining Order) by the New York State Supreme Court on the City’s work at Union Square Park.

The NYC Parks Department’s plans for Union Square Park, according to NYC Park Advocates, which announced the lawsuit, would “take away thousands of square feet of desperately needed play space in a community with the lowest amount of playground space and the highest concentration of restaurants in the city.”

The press release from NYC Park Advocates also states that the previously announced $5 million “anonymous donation” has now risen to $7 million. The stipulation with the donation is that the redesign of Union Square Park include a restaurant. That restaurant is believed to be already allocated to restauranteur Danny Meyer, also co-chair of the Union Square Partnership, the local BID (business improvement district).

“The neighborhood wants the pavilion to be returned to its historic use as a children’s play space as well as for other community uses. For more than 100 years, the pavilion provided indoor space for children.”

The plaintiffs prevailed in their request for a TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) last night (4/21) which was issued by State Justice John E.H. Stackhouse of New York State Supreme Court. This stopped work on the project. The city has insisted on pushing forward this unpopular plan for Union Square Park despite community opposition.

Also, Arbor (Tree) Day Event at Union Square Park will take place Friday, April 25th from 6-8 p.m. to Protect Our Trees and Stop Privatization of Public Space. Despite Mayor Bloomberg’s hyping of his “MillionTreesNYC” P.R. initiative, thousands of mature trees have been cut down in all five boroughs at our City’s Parks, mostly in the interest of privatization of public space, which has dramatically increased under Mayor Bloomberg. More Details Later Today.

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1 thought on “Temporary Restraining Order issued against NYC work on Union Square Park”

  1. Parks Dept goes on the attack!!!

    An amazing confluence of events is taking place right now in NYC Parks.
    A Federal Judge just issued a restraining order, stopping the renovation
    of Union Square Park. The first thing next morning (today Wed) a small army
    of NYPD and Park police descended on USP, cited exigent circumstances
    and again evicted the artists. As I’m writing this (8 AM Wed) the USP artists
    are loudly protesting in the park.

    NOW is the time for all street artisPts to get serious about defending
    our rights.
    Artists in other parks are suddenly being confronted and threatened like
    no time since 1998. In 1998 as soon as we filed our park lawsuit, the park
    police and NYPD began massively arresting artists.

    When the enemy gets desperate, they get sloppy. We can use this to
    expose them in the media and get the public 100% on our side. It is a huge
    tactical mistake on their part. The more they persecute street artists the more
    the public, the media, elected officials and all New Yorkers will all
    come to our side.

    Spiritually speaking, when the city engages in harassing and persecuting
    artists like they are doing right now in USP they reveal their real nature
    as enemies of free speech and they lose the war for public opinion. The
    very newspapers that previously criticized us as congesting the sidewalks
    will suddenly start attacking the Mayor and Parks Commissioner as violators of
    the First Amendment.

    Make those signs. display them prominently.

    Bring them to USP for the artists there and display them in every park
    and on every street where artists sell. If we show them our resolve
    this can end up
    being a great thing for street artists. If we look weak, if we look
    like we are just,
    “business as usual” people, they will step up the harassment citywide.

    Think big picture, long term.
    Do not wait until there is a problem in the 8 foot space where you sell.
    The entire city of NY, every street, every park, is YOUR rightful place
    to show and sell art.

    It is now legal to sell your art on the streets
    and in all NYC parks without a license or permit.
    Join A.R.T.I.S.T. the group that spent 14 years
    winning you this right.

    Subscribe to ARTIST

    Here’s the subscribe info to our group website
    where you will find everything legal, political
    and historical on the issue of vending art on the streets
    and in the parks of NYC, including updates on new vending laws,
    police enforcement etc…


    To subscribe send a blank email to
    Reply to that email and you will a member of ARTIST
    At the website, please set your email preferences for either
    daily digest OR individual emails and please
    make sure your computer does not
    redirect them to a spam file.
    Robert Lederman, President of A.R.T.I.S.T.

    To visit the ARTIST website go to:
    (only subscribed members can access the materials)

    NYC Street Artist Videos
    For videos about how we won our rights see:

    ARTIST WEBSITE (current)

    A link to the entire NYC vending law with legal citations of special
    value to street artists.
    At the page click on the orange button in the lower right hand part of
    the page that says
    NYC Vending Law with legal citations DOWNLOAD
    Be patient, it’s a 50 page PDF file.


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