In today’s New York Post, we’re informed of a new “coalition:” “The Coalition for a Better Washington Square Park.”
The name and article bring up a lot of questions: Who doesn’t want a better Washington Square Park but who decides what’s “better?” … The people who wanted the fountain aligned and plaza leveled and trees cut down? The people who are concerned about their real estate values? People who have money to throw around and yet won’t reveal who they are?
The article reveals that the new “coalition’s” goal is “beefed up security” at the Park made up of “off duty NYPD cops” to rid the park of “druggies and lowlifes.” Yet, the individual people in the group – the ones funding it – won’t reveal who they are except for front man, neighborhood resident and sometime agitator, Gil Horowitz.
I’ve noted a lot of police at the park since it reopened and they basically have nothing to do. The Parks Department has explained at length to those who are concerned why it is difficult to curtail any questionable pot dealings in the park so why would NYPD “off duty” cops make the park anything but more… policed?
What we do know is that NYU is involved so an alarm bell goes off right there as to this new group’s intentions.
A step towards further privatization, perhaps?
From the article in New York Post:
Washington Square Park tokers, beware!
A group of “wealthy, high-level” Greenwich Village residents plans to hire a security force of off-duty NYPD cops to keep the refurbished bohemian playpen from returning to its bad old days as an open-air drug market, The Post has learned.
“The Coalition for a Better Washington Square Park” — which is made up of area co-op boards and NYU — says it wants to protect the great strides made there, including a multimillion-dollar face lift paid for, in part, by the Tisch family.
“There are wealthy New Yorkers that are public-minded,” said coalition founder Dr. Gil Horowitz, a longtime parkgoer and resident of lower Fifth Avenue. “We have brought together some very high-level people in order to get this done.”
And then this:
The powerbroker donors have thus far opted for anonymity.
“We just want people to respect the investments made in the park,” said Adelaide Polsinelli of the Presidents Roundtable, a coalition of Village locals.
Whose investments? The Tisch Family? NYU? The local Business Improvement District?
At least the story gets another viewpoint in there from lawyer Ron Kuby:
But longtime Village resident, lawyer Ron Kuby, expressed concern.
“I think the rich folk who are sponsoring this want to change the character of the park from the free-wheeling street-theater scene to something that resembles their backyard terraces,” he said.
Let’s stop this before it begins. Ideas, anyone?