Now, Villager … Here’s my Take on Parks’ “Talking Point” on Private Conservancy At Washington Square Park

William Castro, Manhattan Borough Parks Commissioner, has a featured “Talking Point” in this week’s Villager proclaiming why a Conservancy will keep Washington Square Park “looking good.” There is no mention of problems with funding for the park or why it suddenly became necessary, despite the fact that the park has managed well enough run by the city’s Parks Department and it was always clear that the community did not want such a private entity overseeing ‘their’ park. This is why the City worked on this behind closed doors.

As I wrote first at the Huffington Post April 15th and here at this blog on April 22nd, a private conservancy is being or has been formed.

With the publication of this “Talking Point,” on April 25th, I feel The Villager — which covered copious numbers of meetings related to Washington Square Park’s redesign probably back to 2004 (?) — owed the community a bit more. I’d heard talk of a possible Conservancy floating around for a little while now; it’s possible that news did not reach The Villager … it seems doubtful but it’s possible, perhaps they are not as ‘plugged in’ as one might think.

Bill Castro’s “Talking Point” (and the mention in their ‘gossip’ column) in this week’s paper follows my breaking the news first (with no mention of that, but fine). So perhaps, so they had something that seemed unique to them, they gave the floor to the Manhattan Parks Commissioner. I don’t know… that seems quite dubious to me. If a story had appeared first and then that “Talking Point” appeared, that would have been … different, more credible.

** You can read Castro’s “Talking Point” here and then their ‘take’ on it at The Villager’s ‘gossip’ column, Scoopy’s Notebook, here.

One note from Castro’s “Talking Point,” he writes: “A group of citizens who live and work in the community is seeking to raise funds for the park and engage neighbors to help the Parks Department care for the park’s lawns, plants and playgrounds, and to create programming. We look forward to working with the new group to encourage community involvement and volunteering.”

For one, that group is “four women,” four people in a huge community vocal about the fact that they largely did not want a Conservancy. There is no reason why these four women couldn’t ‘just’ raise funds — if that is the issue — and let the new Parks Administrator, Sarah Neilson, maintain and run the park… IF the issue is funds. I would argue the issue is having all parks privatized in New York City, and that’s just NOT okay.

See my second piece at the Huffington Post, “Privatization of the Commons in Mayor Bloomberg’s New York — Part II: Who Has Control?”

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3 thoughts on “Now, Villager … Here’s my Take on Parks’ “Talking Point” on Private Conservancy At Washington Square Park”

  1. Mr. Bloomberg, get over it! NYC is not Paris!
    By Mr. Bloomberg actions he has made it more than clear his disdain of the people of NY as well as our open lands. He calls us stupid and fat by not having the intelligence to judge how much soda we drink. While at the same time he has the audacity to give away our parks to his lunch buddies (NYU) when instead he should be adding phys ed to the daily public schools curriculum. Wonder how often bloomberg, quinn and the big ten real estate developers laugh out loud at those pathetic little fat kids who have no choice to go to the lousy public schools in NYC, seriously why when their is Dalton? people. And isnt bloomberg already negotiating getting rid of 3 public high schools in Manhattan? Another give away of open land to real estate developers to build luxury buildings on those school yards. Anyway getting back to the point this Mayor’s goal of making NYC and New Yorkers into Paris and Parisians is never going to work. First because his plan excluded the mandate for good and respectful architecture (just look at Trump City, and NYU’s horrific Kimmel Center and their awful awful ugly NYU2031 plan approved by Mike’s friend Amanda Burden, but he also missed the point that Paris is financially supported by all the citizens of France. It is considered a National City. Buffalo doesn’t even care about NYC, do why should Nebraska?
    I feel like we are living the movie “Invasion of the Body Snatcher” and we are all supposed to believe Mr. Bloomberg goals of NYC a city filled only with skinny fashionistas and and tourists biking through the city streets, with no cars, no manufacturing and pretty little snobby parks with cappuccino machines and croissants. Out with hot dogs with onions. no street performers, no art. But mike…. there are a lot of us who dont want to fit your skinny image. We are going not going to ride your silly bikes when there is a subway to take where we are not going to get run over by city buses. And we are not going to go to the galas and donate to make our parks into sterile tourist traps. The parks belong to the tax payers. But if you prefer Paris please please move there.

    • I agree with you 100%, Maurice, on everything you said, including the bikes. (Unfortunately we non-bike riders are going to have to be vigilant so as not to be run over by hipsters biking to the corporate parks) I hope there are many more out there who agree as well.

      Bloomberg’s third term (thanks for nothing, Quinn) has been a disaster.

  2. Hi Maurice,

    Brilliantly said! (Maybe you should start a blog? Or at least please comment here more often!)

    Agree with you Seth… about Bloomberg’s third term but he’s been able to push even more of his agenda through.

    Stay tuned…



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