Volume 75, Number 28 | Nov. 30 - Dec. 06, 2005


Finding a balance between park fun and quality of life

Next week, the subject of gay youth and the Hudson River Park will once again be front and center, when the Waterfront and Parks Committee of Community Board 2 will hold a hearing to discuss some new alternative proposals on how the youth can continue to use the park late at night without disturbing local residents.

The meeting will be held on Tues. Dec. 6, starting at 7:30 p.m., at Metro New York, D.D.S.O, at 75 Morton St., between Hudson and Greenwich Sts., in the activity center (the large room on the ground floor).

Next week’s meeting follows hot on the heels of last month’s Waterfront and Parks Committee meeting that saw scores of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender — or L.G.B.T. — youth show up to condemn the Hudson River Park Trust’s plan to keep late-night park users from exiting the park at Christopher St. That plan was conceived by the Trust, in consultation with local residents, as a way to stop the overcrowding of Christopher St. and surrounding streets after the park’s 1 a.m. curfew.

At that meeting, Connie Fishman, the Trust’s president, clearly recognizing the extent of the voluble and passionate opposition, said that the plan “probably wouldn’t work” because the gay youth would just double back to Christopher St. after having been made to exit the park at points farther north and south.

Two new proposals have now emerged. One would keep open the plaza at Christopher St. — the granite-paved area around the fountain between the bikeway and the fence by the river — until 2 a.m. or possibly 3 a.m. Another proposal, or one that could be used in conjunction with the first, is that Pier 54 at W. 13th St. would be kept open until 3 a.m. to 4 a.m.; the park users would be asked to walk outside the park along the bikeway to this pier.

In both options, the idea is to clear the Christopher St. Pier, but not to force everyone out of the park at once, so that the deluging of Christopher St. is eliminated.

Arthur Schwartz, chairperson of the C. B. 2 Waterfront and Parks Committee, and the Trust say they are both going into the meeting with open minds and are willing to hear suggestions. Schwartz said that there may be an attempt to institute these plans on an interim basis as “pilot programs” to see how they work.

At this point, it appears that C. B. 2 will be the forum where this issue is worked out. That’s the right place, in our view. Yet, this issue won’t really become hot again until the weather becomes that way — in May, when the temperature starts to rise. But definitely by sometime before this spring, the Trust and C. B. 2 should have some definite plans in place.

We are glad to see the Trust and C. B. 2 — and the residential community and L.G.B.T. youth community — at last tackling this real quality of life concern head on. With some effort on everyone’s part, a workable solution can surely be achieved

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