QUEENS, NY – Borough President Melinda Katz stated the following in response to questions about applications recently filed by for-profit organizations with the City to shut down major portions of Flushing Meadows Corona Park from the public in order to accommodate paid-admission events in Summer 2017; the City has until December 19 to approve such applications:
“Without a fair policy in place, I remain opposed to any applications from for-profit organizations to run paid-admission events in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The absence of a revised policy, including a set selection criteria and process approved by the community, renders the process arbitrary and unfair. Cutting off public access to our treasured parks flies in the face of the very principle behind our parks, which is space designated for public access and equity. I urge the Parks Department to reject any and all such applications until a city policy on whether and how we shut down Flushing Meadows Corona Park for paid-admission events is established.”
Similar applications for Flushing Meadows Corona Park were considered by the city last year for Summer 2016, but were ultimately denied. In an op-ed published in El Diario on December 3, 2015, Borough President Katz outlined the concerns and the need for policy and public vetting to come first before any permits are granted to for-profit companies to hold large-scale, paid-admission, multi-day events that effectively shut down a park to the public: www.eldiariony.com/2015/12/03/new-york-citys-public-parks-to-rent-or-not-to-rent.
In a statement on November 2, 2015, Borough President first outlined her concerns, stating: “While public events of any scale that enhance our borough are encouraged, I take issue when it is at the expense of cutting off public access to our treasured parks like Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, which is enjoyed by thousands of families and residents every week in the summer months. It has never been done before in Queens, and without a fair city policy approved by the community to properly shape this significant precedent, we should not start now.” Full statement online at www.queensbp.org/borough-president-katz-on-proposals-to-rent-flushing-meadows-corona-park/.