What is “a more balanced approach” to the park?
New York City Council Member Christopher Marte’s district includes Washington Square Park. In his community newsletter last week, Marte posted the following:
Working on Washington Square Park
It’s summertime and Washington Square Park is as alive as ever. Unfortunately, the increased police presence, which was brought in to try to make the park safer, is now causing artists and performers who have a decades-long history in the park to be unfairly targeted and ticketed. Meanwhile, other residents feel like the actual crimes they witness, like drug dealing and harassment, go ignored. We’ve been meeting with the performers, neighbors, the police, and government officials and are working to implement a more balanced approach to this historic park, which has always been the heartbeat of New York City’s art scene. Stay tuned for a public meeting we will have on this important issue.
Interesting. It’s good to have Council Member Marte involved in the controversy over artists and performers and police intervention and how Parks Department ‘rules’ are applied or misappropriated.
Marte has been pretty hands off Washington Square Park since he got into office (replacing Margaret Chin who was super hands off). But this also feels very behind-closed-doors. In the past, the Community meeting would have happened by now to include all voices.
Background Information from NYC Parks 2013
I wrote this post after Manhattan Parks Commissioner Bill Castro came before Community Board 2’s Parks Committee in May 2013:
Amidst Confusion, Community and Performers to City’s Parks Department: Commit in Writing — No “Performance Crackdown” at Washington Square, and all NYC Parks.
This was after the original “Performance Crackdown.” I’ll come back to this.
I’ve reached out to CM Christopher Marte’s office for more information. Check back.
Previously at Washington Square Park Blog: