Thursday, November 1, 2012
From the NY Times:
As two Bloomberg News reporters pointed out last week, both Chicago and Los Angeles spend a considerable amount more than New York does on its parks, as a percentage of overall budget.
But when officials in New York’s more distant parks plead for a little bit more, city officials suggest selling off naming rights and letting corporations slap names on basketball and dog runs. (IMG Worldwide, a sports marketing company, is overseeing the sale of these naming rights, for a handsome fee.)
Or, in the case of the Bronx and Queens, working-class neighborhoods can consent to letting officials plop a parking lot or a soccer stadium in the middle of their heavily used parks.
Got a problem with that, bub?
City officials and their quasi-public hangers-on are rather clear on the rules of this game: You smile at every crumb that falls off the plutocratic table, and only a rube shares his proceeds.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was clear that he would not allow a dime of Mr. Paulson’s gift to slip away to pay for, say, the restoration of grass on the hardscrabble and scabbed grass fields of Marine Park or Flushing Meadows, or the rutted and broken bike paths along the Atlantic in Brooklyn.
The mayor being the mayor, he made clear he found this idea just plain silly.
Geoffrey Croft of Park Advocates charts such inequities with a grim accountant’s eye for detail. “They say that Paulson’s gift puts the onus on the city to provide money for the other parks,” Mr. Croft noted. “But there’s no sign of that — it’s ridiculous, really.”
But perhaps it is the rest of us who are not yet hip to the game. As The New Yorker pointed out recently, the nation’s plutocrats are much taken of late with the notion that their charitable giving should count as privatized taxation.
The notion has a primitive charm. I would imagine a duke in the time of Richard III figured he could settle up by providing a regiment in a pinch and that would be that.
As Mayor Bloomberg pointed out last week, that lovely gem that is Central Park has become a new sort of model for other parks and open spaces, around the city and around the world.
He might be right, and that’s not terribly comforting.
And according to some of the commenters here, you Queens folk are fine with it. No wonder you get the shit end of the stick all the time.