All throughout the court case that Union Square community activists brought against the New York City Parks Department and Union Square Partnership, the local BID (Business Improvement District), in 2008 over plans to place a restaurant in Union Square Park’s historic Pavilion — claiming loss of a public space — the City and USP claimed that there were no such plans (despite it being in the official documents and on all the Parks Department’s signs surrounding Union Square North’s construction). Because of this, the judge ruled the case was “unripe.”
Well, today’s New York Post reports that in the next two months the City will begin taking bids for just such a restaurant. From the article:
The city plans to issue a request for proposals to operate a seasonal café in the [Union Square] park’s refurbished pavilion — despite objections that the 80-year-old gathering spot should be set aside as public space.
The city concession was outlined in an Aug. 24 letter to Borough President Scott Stringer informing him of the upcoming request for proposals.
The winning bidder would score a 15-year contract to run the private café six months out of the year and also have the option to operate a satellite cart or kiosk.The restaurant has been a bone of contention during the $20 million overhaul of the Park.
In April 2008, park advocates sued the city and the Union Square Partnership, a business improvement district that which manages the park. The lawsuit halted the restaurant’s construction for nearly a year.
The restaurant would have table service and an outdoor seating area on a deck.
Critics argue that the pavilion, a historic landmark, should not become a privately run space.
Previous WSP Blog coverage on judge’s ruling on Union Square here.