Letters, Week of Dec. 12, 2013

What will C.B. 2 do about it?

To The Editor:
Re “Blogger skewers conservancy over hot dog purge in the park” (news article, Dec. 5):

The privatization (a.k.a. giveaway) of public resources — parks, schools, libraries, hospitals — is a dangerous and undemocratic trend. No doubt the conservancy made an attractive proposal to Community Board 2, but no good can come from dealing with a dishonorable and deceptive group. Hopefully, C.B. 2 will have the courage to reopen and investigate the conservancy and its true motives.

Many thanks to Lincoln Anderson and Cathryn Swan for their excellent reporting on the conservancy’s ethically challenged behavior.
A.S. Evans

 

Conservancies hate hot dogs

To The Editor:
Re “Blogger skewers conservancy over hot dog purge in the park” (news article, Dec. 5):

The official park group up here on the Upper East Side banned hot dog stands in Carl Schurz Park, too — but is it what the larger community wants? I don’t think so. But there was only minor protest, and so it goes, but should not.
Bette Dewing

 

Questions must be answered

To The Editor:
Re “Blogger skewers conservancy over hot dog purge in the park” (news article, Dec. 5):

This is all very troubling. Despite the claim by the Washington Square Park Conservancy’s president, the Central Park Conservancy’s bylaws can indeed can be found online: http://www.centralparknyc.org/assets/pdfs/by-laws.

Those of us living Downtown have been pushing for online posting of bylaws for park conservancies and other public-private partnerships, such as business improvement districts, but we’ve had little success in achieving that. It seems that City Hall does not want to make it easy for the public to see those documents.

Also, when the Washington Square Park Conservancy group first appeared before C.B. 2 last spring, I specifically asked them during the public forum Q&A what their budget was. The answer given was that they had no budget in place. It appears that their answer did not fit with the facts. Bill Castro, the Manhattan borough Parks Department commissioner, was at that meeting and let their claim of “no budget” remain in the public record.

Many more answers surrounding the creation of this conservancy are needed.

Thank you to Lincoln Anderson and Cathryn Swan for bringing this to light.
Pete Davies

 

Let ’em eat cake (not franks)

To The Editor:
Re “Blogger skewers conservancy over hot dog purge in the park” (news article, Dec. 5):

And will we need to wear tuxedos to visit the Washington Square Arch, and subscribe to “Burke’s Peerage” to use the park?

Secret agenda? Where have we heard that before and before and before…?

Unite brothers and sisters and dogs and squirrels. It is our park.
Judith Chazen Walsh

 

Parks on a slippery slope

To The Editor:
Re “Blogger skewers conservancy over hot dog purge in the park” (news article, Dec. 5):

On Dec. 5, from earlier in the evening until after 6 p.m., there was filming in Washington Square Park. Production assistants and police prevented people from entering the park from multiple entrances. A private entertainment company had control of the park, and was enforcing its permit with much aggressive authority.

This is where the Hudson River Park is headed, because economic leverage was just completely turned over to real estate developers under the legislative amendment recently signed by Governor Cuomo. Note that film and TV shoots are now also allowed in Hudson River Park under this same legislation, meaning the shoots will soon be on a constant basis, with constant demand.

This community has made a grave error in allowing the Hudson River Park Act to be altered in this manner, and it will only get worse for Washington Square Park if the new conservancy is allowed to grow in power. Stop it in its tracks, people. No matter how well-intentioned, the park will end up answering to the whims of its “protectors,” not the community that surrounds it. “Slippery slope” is no cliché when public lands are involved.
Patrick Shields

 

Share wealth for all parks

To The Editor:
At the Talking Transition tent, New Yorkers for Parks hosted a panel, “Four Immediate Ways to Equitably Improve NYC’s Parks.”

One panelist, state Senator Squadron, proposed that “marquee parks,” like Central Park, share a percentage of their private funding with parks that lack private financial backers. He reminded us that all city parks exist within the same network — that any individual park’s situation affects all parks. His plea was impassioned, intelligent.

But his proposal was hammered. The audience was warned of the chilling effect on marquee park supporters, of government interfering with the “democratic tradition” of philanthropy, that city parks were not in such bad shape anyway. It was disheartening.

We were sitting in an enormous “tent,” constructed by the wealth of billionaires, hoping to influence the next mayor. We were in Manhattan, home of the nation’s largest income inequality gap.

Community gardeners share. All volunteers, we freely give plants, labor, resources and expertise. Our budgets are usually under $3,000. We do a lot with a little.

But neighborhood parks need large amounts of funding to fix broken equipment and to retool park buildings to serve as sites for resiliency centers, youth spaces, meeting and information hubs. Every neighborhood deserves a “jewel” park.

We shouldn’t have to rely on the largesse of the wealthy to meet the city’s basic needs. Thank you, Senator Squadron, for raising the issue in a way that won’t be ignored.
K Webster

 

Stewart’s claims ‘comical’

To The Editor:
Re “Filling Gruber’s big shoes” (Scoopy’s Notebook, Nov. 28):

Richard Stewart apparently never heard of the “Mickey Mouse Vote.” It is a political maxim that if Mickey Mouse ran against the incumbent (and we may as well put Corey Johnson in that category, practically speaking), Mickey Mouse gets 15 percent of the vote.

Also, less frivolously, Republicans make up about 15 percent of the electorate Downtown. So, any Republican candidate gets 15 percent.

The fact that Stewart only got 13 percent of the vote is nothing to brag about, by any stretch of the imagination.
Peter Reynolds

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One Response to Letters, Week of Dec. 12, 2013

  1. The full text of K Webster's article on Senator Squadron's proposal is at: http://sdrpc.mkgarden.org/

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