Who needs parks when you can have FASHION?
Lincoln Center’s neighbors are peeved that New York Fashion Week’s tents have taken over Damrosch Park, leaving them without a place to take their dogs to pee or to sit and freeze their butts off. (In all fairness, they’re also mad about the tents’ noisy generators.) Yesterday, residents teamed up with nonprofit group NYC Park Advocates and sent a cease-and-desist letter to Lincoln Center and to the city, demanding that the space be restored to its proper use as a city park. But city officials don’t care, according to the Times:
City officials brushed aside the criticism, saying that Damrosch Park was a hard-surface plaza with few visitors in winter. They argued that residents had ample access to nearby parkland, including Central Park, and said that many thousands of New Yorkers were able to enjoy the circus [which also takes place in the tents] and the fashion shows.
So too bad for all you folks who’d rather sit on a park bench than care about the fashion industry, in other words. But the letter also points out that the decision to use Damrosch Park for Fashion Week isn’t Lincoln Center’s — or even Mayor Bloomberg’s — decision to make, and that the tents’ placement is technically illegal.
The group argues that the deal with Lincoln Center amounts to the removal of parkland, a process that only the State Legislature can undertake. The letter said that “whether, how and when any portion of a New York City park may be used for nonpark purposes are decisions to be made by the State Legislature, not the mayor, not the parks department and certainly not Lincoln Center.”
City officials argued back that Lincoln Center, which is solely responsible for the creation and maintenance of Damrosch Park, can therefore use the space however it wants. But the park’s advocates won’t be ignored so easily, and have threatened to take the matter to court.