“Cafes enliven parks, and they give you a way to eat al fresco while you’re not choking on exhaust,” Adrian told the Times in January 2007.
DOES FATHER KNOW BEST?
In the wake of his son’s Times interview, Barry Benepe sat down to write an op-ed piece for the Times, the first he had ever attempted. He believed the success of the park depended less on his son’s vision and more on making each part of it work together—and restoring it to its once-regular role as a central meeting place for rallies, as it had been in the 19th century.
“The Parks Department has been diverted by a contentious proposal by the Business Improvement District to convert and enlarge the Palladian pavilion at the north end of the park to accommodate a private restaurant,” wrote Benepe, alluding to his son’s own plan.
But the op-ed piece was never published in the Times. The night before it was set to run, an editor called Barry to say he had learned of the father-son connection between Barry and the parks commissioner—and said the newspaper felt it was necessary to note that fact alongside his name.
“If you’re going to do that, I’m going to pull it,” Barry told the editor—and he did. The piece was eventually published in Westview, a community newspaper covering the West Village.
But Barry hasn’t stopped speaking out against his son’s plans for Union Square, even while trying to avoid the appearance of a family feud.