Thursday, June 25, 2009

Rich folk take over Washington Square Park


From MSNBC:

The swells who helped foot the bill for the multi-million dollar renovations at Washington Square Park are now ready to protect their investment by hiring off-duty cops as their own private security force.

"Radicals see this as a form of the loss of their public space, but we see this as securing the public space so it is civilized and better for them and for us," Dr. Gil Horowitz, founder of The Coalition for a Better Washington Square Park, told The New York Post. "Private security would bring actual security."

Not everyone is so thrilled with the idea of a greater police presence in the park that has long been home to musicians, skaters, pot smokers and the assorted riff-raff that help make New York City great.

"I think the rich folk who are sponsoring this want to change the character of the park from the free-wheeling street-theater scene to something that resembles their backyard terraces," Ron Kuby, a lawyer who lives in the Village, told The Post.

The first half of the $16 million renovations, which was paid for in part by the Tisch family and other private donors, involved nudging the park's famous fountain so it aligns with the archway at the entrance of the park.

Now Horowitz and others are collecting more donations to fund this special police force.

"There are wealthy New Yorkers that are public-minded," said Horowitz. "We have brought together some very high-level people in order to get this done."

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pot Smokers make this city great?

Anonymous said...

Maybe they are nervy enough to insist on civilized behavior? As long as the security doesn't overstep itself to become Gestapo, as long as they obey the rule of law, I see no problem.

This is a public space. For all the outrageous people complaining that they can't blow pot in your face, or run you down with their bikes and rollers skates there is another contingent who have been drive out of the public spaces entirely by anarchic behavior.

Right now we may be facing a return of the 70's. If some people want to put their own cash up to insure that at least one area doesn't turn into a sewer, more power to them.

Anonymous said...

Why should one city park have more security than another simply because the residents in the area are rich?

Anonymous said...

If private citizens want to pay for security they have every right to. What kind of comment is that?

This is another dumb headline by Crapper. Does anyone remember this park 15 years ago, when you wouldn't want to be anywhere near it because of grime, crime and drugs? It has since reclaimed its status as a great Manhattan park and there is nothing wrong with residents making efforts to keep it clean and safe.

Anonymous said...

These wealthy folk aren't "public minded" in the slightest.

They're just protecting their own turf.

If they really had their way they'd fence of Washington Square Park for their own use, like in Gramercy Park, and keep it under lock and key.

How come we don't see any of these wealthy people donating money to reopen closed firehouses or hospitals?

Because they're phony ass elitists!

Anonymous said...

How come some of these wealthy civic minded folk didn't buy the historic old St. Saviour's site and turn it into a sorely needed park?

Yeah...right...because they don't live anywhere near it!

What's not in the tourist corridor DOES NOT get any protection from the LPC either!

That's what the landmarks law was created for in the first place...read it...the preservation of the "swells" abodes and nabes!

Sigh...money talks and bullshit walks!

Anonymous said...

So you're upset because they don't adopt the other areas too? Even great wealth has limits. Like it or not maintaining the city is the responsibility of the entire city--not just the rich.

Should the wealthy start interfering with members of the general public using the park, you will have a point, but there are many public amenities that have been protected because of concerned citizens of wealth including: the Enid Haupt conservatory in the New York Botanical Gardens and Central Park. through the Central Park Conservency.

Rot is coming our way. The writing is on the wall for anyone who lived through the 70's. I am incensed about outrageous maldistribution of wealth of the last few decades, but when people use their wealth for public benefit I applaud.

Anonymous said...

It's that good 'ol "privatization" rearing it's head once again...the new mantra of Bloomberg's NYC.

It's one thing to have a private security force in a private neighborhood (i.e. like Forest Hills Gardens) but if a private cop winds up being sued on public turf does it become a double lawsuit:

The plaintiff "yadda-yadda" VS the city of New York & the "Yadda-yadda" Private Association?

Shared jurisdiction could wind up becoming a legal and financial tangle.

Why doesn't NYU just buy the damn park?

They're buying up everything else!

citizen taxpayer said...

And just who has been overseeing this "rot" for eight years?

Our "astute" financial "genius" His Royal Highness Emperor Bloomberg!

All part of his plan folks.

First he ALLOWS New York City to rot....and then "rescues" it with extreme measures "for the good of the people"...very Stalin-esque!

It begins with this despot attempting to seize an illegal 3rd term in power!

Mike's next step is to price the middle class out of their own city!

You see...In a republic you can't be eliminated outright...but you can certainly be taxed out of existence.

That may take a little longer but it's just as good in the end and much quieter.

Dump this diminutive despotic bastard at the polls PDQ before it's too damn late!

The citizens still hold the reins
but not for very long.

Anonymous said...

re: Bloomberg and rot
Yes, you are right there, but even worse is coming, regardless of who is in charge.

We will have a different set of problems, less kleptocracy, more neglect. I have seen this script before in the New York Drop Dead 70's and I am in favor of attempts to nip anarchy and destruction in the bud.

Anonymous said...

You are trying to compare the cost of some private security for a small park to the costs of running and maintaining a hospital or firehouse? Do you all ever get tired of being clueless?

Anonymous said...

Why? Aren't there names slapped on just about every hospital pavilion because some rich person is a benefactor? Why not do the same for firehouses? Or how about naming rights for them, like with the MTA?

Anonymous said...

Why should one city park have more security than another simply because the residents in the area are rich?

One city park should have more security than another simply because the residents in the area are rich.

Anonymous said...

Why don't they form a "Friends of" group like the other parks have which is overseen by the Parks Department? They want complete control.

Anonymous said...

Remember when rich people were actually philanthropists who cared about the poor instead of how a fountain lines up with an arch?

Art-fool Dodd-ger said...

How come we don't see any of these wealthy people donating money to reopen closed firehouses or hospitals?

Because they're phony ass elitists!
----

On target there! They channel funds to their own benefit while the rest of the city rots around them. You go back to a two tier system that is antiAmerican, and a throwback to a less enlightened brutal age.

If you got money for this - then you got money to lauch a public eduction program on civics (to try to get the clubhouse off our throats - good God, this is not the 1800s so why do we tolerate this holdover from that era)

and to start a public eduction program on community presevation. You know full well that it is impossible to accomplish anything by the grass roots with the pols, real estate, and press (who live in your neighborhood) lined up against us.

As our lives become more miserable, with less hope, we will entact laws to make your rich people miserable - taxes will go up and then what will you do?

Squander your life in Bermuda? White sands gets real boring real quick - at least for those of us with wattage between our ears that rise a bit about Bored Housewives.

Anonymous said...

Yes, all well and good, but this is the world we live in. Once the park is destroyed bringing it back costs so much more.

Do I like the fact that America is becoming a feudal society--Hell No.

Unfortunately refusing the few dollars the well-meaning allocate to charity or public service will not bring a stream of flowing dollars.

Instead, we could easily re-visit the early 80's when you had to run, not walk, through that park. Personally, I hate predators more than elitists.

Anonymous said...

Instead, we could easily re-visit the early 80's when you had to run, not walk, through that park. Personally, I hate predators more than elitists.
--

Pa-lese, I remember the 70s and the park was dangerous only to the stupid.

I would spend hours sitting by the fountain speculating it was the center of the world.

Jeff said...

As long as the private security people don't start throwing out people who are there peaceably, I welcome some extra security. Although the park seems totally safe to me right now.

Anonymous said...

First, I was referring to the early 80's after 10 years of neglect which began in the mid-seventies. I cannot comment on how it was in the early 70's when the rot was just starting.

Second, predators who steer clear of men may easily go after women and children. Also, do I have to be mugged to feel frightened? If weirdos are jumping in my face, yelling, "Sense, Sense," as happened to my boss on the first day of our Company's moving to Union Square, that is off-putting enough.

Many people will take one look at potential trouble and give it wide berth and the park with it. Many other people are overconfident and they attribute what is merely sheer luck to their overwhelming intelligence.

Anonymous said...

So is this like a group that is named after a park deciding that the park won't have a temporary Vietnam Veteran's memorial? Or that the park's ballfields will only be available to certain groups?

Snake Plissskin said...

Hey, ever take a look at the board of New Yorkers For Parks? Just like the Metropolitan Waterfront Allinace - a bunch of media types, developers, law firms, investors.

A freaken joke.

Hey bike nuts - park nuts - do something useful - decry how the green movement is in the pocket of this element.

Kind of explains what is happening to the parks in Manhattan - and what is NOT happening in the parks in Queens.

Lets look at these boards again and again.

Anonymous said...

I would spend hours sitting by the fountain speculating it was the center of the world.


I guess smoking pot helps one do that.

St Saviours Park said...

Speaking of boards, I like how Chistobal turned her back on the community with St Saviours.

Just think.

A building trumps a community.

Kind of explains the essence of that whole preservationist mentality, eh?

Anonymous said...

I would spend hours sitting by the fountain speculating it was the center of the world.


I guess smoking pot helps one do that.

---

he he he, and I would go back to that decade in a heartbeat.

Lino said...

This is DEAD WRONG. That is a public space, it should -not- be patrolled by hired goons.

Off duty cops or just Rambo wannabees they belong only on private property.

That park is right at my old school (NYU) those kids are not unaware and as soon as one of the hired goons abuses them...watch the lawsuits fly. The condo crones will learn why it is best to let the City deal with law enforcement.

Anonymous said...

This is DEAD WRONG. That is a public space, it should -not- be patrolled by hired goons.


Who said they were goons? Your prejudice is showing LINO.

Anonymous said...

We have a mayor who bought his office who refuses to leave after two terms.

Now we have rich people buying up public space and using their own security in lieu of the NYPD. Guess who'll pick up the bill for the lawsuits when they come?

This city has gone up for bid to the highest bidder. There's no limit to what you can do or buy if you have the $$$. Anyone who thinks this is a positive development hasn't thought through the consequences.

Anonymous said...

I head to the park this weekend and take a dump in the fountain

Anonymous said...

It's their money, no matter how much of it they have, they can spend it on whatever they want to spend it on. I am just glad they want to spend SOME of it on preserving something that benefits all of the city, especially in this day, when the very city itself is about to allow many of its historical attractions to rot, decay and be torn down.

Anonymous said...

Last contributor,

It's their money, but this is PUBLIC PROPERTY. The fact remains that you and the rest of us will be left footing the build should one of their "security personnel" rough up a member of the public. Just because you have $$$ doesn't mean that you can bend the public infrastructure as you see fit. That's what government is for. Wait...that's exactly what HRH Bloomturd has done.

Anonymous said...

The rich CAN do anything they want with their money, even when its not needed. They back us into a corner, because if were suspicious of their motives were opposing peace and safety, and that's NOT the case. Were tired of seeing our city turned into a mass produced suburbia, tired of the rich simply using their money to get whatever they want- regardless of whether its good or not.

We need the *actual* police to keep the balance THROUGHOUT this great city. Too safe OR too dangerous ruins the character. We are simply, NYfuckingcity and we are not supposed to be monitored by the rich!

Anonymous said...

And on who's authority do people get to send their own private security to patrol a public place???

Oh, thats right, we are in Bloomtown. I'm shocked he doesnt ride the subawy in his own private gold-plated subway car. Did he build a private station in his basement yet?

Anonymous said...

Many institutions such as the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens have their own private security.

If anyone acts up, they simply radio the police. I see no reason why private security in Washington Square park wouldn't do the same, especially since they don't have the authority that the NYPD does and would be fully subject to lawsuits and possible arrest themselves.

If private security started overstepping themselves, then of course they should be shut down.

Anonymous said...

Why is this post tagged "parks department," when the article has nothing to do with them and everything to do with privatization?

Anonymous said...

Bloomberg can't abide that fountain being one iota off center from the arch.

Well, Mike's the arch enemy of the middle class and is intent on driving them out of his domain!

He's an tantrum throwing anal control freak...a micro-managing megalomaniac billionaire that's been too long out of touch with the real NYC.

Poor us...we've had him for our mayor for eight long years.

Make sure he doesn't get another term unless its in a padded cell.

The lunatic! New Yorkers are getting a little tired of his hissy-fits!

Media Math said...

in london, these parks are locked and only to the neighborhood residents have keyed access to them. talk about a nightmare, i hope nyc doesnt follow this, its always been about providing a green space for everyone, yeah i remember the old days. but who wants to get mugged or run over (yeah) today?