The Force Returns En Masse to Washington Square October 15th With Controversial Light Saber Battle

Light Sabers Amidst the Arch Washington Square Park
Light Sabers Amidst the Arch

Return of the Light Sabers to WSP:

Are you a Star Wars nerd? Does a lightsaber get you more excited then seeing your pizza delivery guy? Are you a kid on the inside? Do you need a way to release some stress?If you answered yes to any of these questions, I got three words for you: Glow. Sword. Battle.

Yes, you read that right. It’s all going down October 15th at 8 p.m., in Washington Square Park.

Officially called the Glow Battle Tour, the event is being put on by Newmindspace.

Via Spoiled NYC: There’s an Epic Lightsaber Battle Going Down in Washington Square Park Next Weekend!

I don’t think the events were previously referenced as “Glow Battle” (probably changed due to possible trademark issues with Star Wars?).

WSP Blog has delved into Pillow Fight Day and the Light Saber Battles here before. Both events have occurred at Washington Square for a number of years now, each once a year. They are mired in a bit of controversy, produced by a for-profit company that never procures a permit from the Parks Department to use the space:

I am not someone who thinks everything should be permitted by any means. These are our parks. But… this is a company that is making money on these events. Obviously, the NYPD monitors and stays on top of events coming through the park and, as the Parks Department replied, they had a “presence” there. But the permit also asks for the company to have insurance, clean up, secures an available date, and other things. Should a for-profit company be allowed to produce these “massive” events and take over the park(s)?

Reasons why a community group or activist event might not secure a permit relate to sort of utilizing “the commons,” but a company selling light sabers in an advance for an event… ? That seems like it crosses a line. And, at least, they could move Pillow Fight Day back to Union Square where it seems better suited.

So, basically, mixed feelings on these events while happy to have The Force brought to Washington Square.

Previously at Washington Square Park Blog:

Controversy Over Pillow Fights and Light Saber Battles At Parks

Photo: Bill Shatto

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2 thoughts on “The Force Returns En Masse to Washington Square October 15th With Controversial Light Saber Battle”

  1. Hey there! Kevin from Newmindspace here – here’s the origin of the glow sword reservation system (and yes – we can’t call them lightsabers because of a Cease and Desist from Lucasfilm after we broke the world record for Largest Lightsaber Battle in December!)

    In Toronto in 2007, we created 1600 cardboard “lightsabers” by spray painting cardboard tubes with dayglo paint and shining big blacklights on them. We told everybody they would get one for free – and 4,000 people showed up! Many parents told us they drove their kids over an hour to come to the event, and they were sad and disappointed that they weren’t able to participate.

    These days, the event is still free as always, and everybody is welcome to bring their own saber. However, if we simply held a “BYO lightsaber” type event, I suspect only the most hardcore of fans would turn out, and our events are meant to be accessible to everyone, so we provide them.

    We allow people to reserve the swords in advance for $5 early bird, or $10 closer to the event. Between our flights (I’m from New York but now live in Canada), truck rental, storage of the swords in California, shipping the swords from California, PayPal fees, Shopify subscription, e-mail newsletter hosting ($1400/year!) and everything else, there is basically nothing left over. However, I am pleased to say that our Glow Battle Tour raised $5,000 for 4 Make-A-Wish Foundation chapters in the spring 🙂

    I wouldn’t say this particular event is controversial; we leave the park spotless, people come from all over the tri-state area to have fun and bring their kids, and the Parks Dept. has expressed very little dissatisfaction with this event.

    So, the short answer to your permit question is: 1. NYC Parks will not issue event permits for after dark in NYC, 2. We applied for a permit for NYS Parks this year and they declined, 3. We do not accept corporate sponsorship, 4. We do not make enough money off the NYC battle to afford a permit.

    Is this an excellent use of public space? I would say absolutely, as would the thousands who come each year to have fun with their kids. Looking forward to another amazing battle 🙂

  2. Hi Kevin,

    Thanks for writing and for the detailed explanation and also informing us about your attempt to secure a permit. What you write makes sense (maybe it is Pillow Fight Day that is a bit more problematic…? 🙂 ). I suppose a lot of this is relying on the good nature of people… But, hey! light sabers! and the Force is with you.

    Have a great event and thanks for your comment!



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