Berkeley CSUA MOTD:Entry 33242
Berkeley CSUA MOTD
2019/05/21 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular

2004/8/31 [Politics/Domestic/Election, Politics/Domestic] UID:33242 Activity:kinda low
8/30    All right, this URL convinces me that a decision by Republican mayor
        Bloomberg to refuse a permit for a Central Park demonstration can
        be reasonably argued to not have anything to do with toeing the
        party line: -liberal
        \_ yes. also this article written by Henry Stern (former NYC parks
        \_ Hm, am slightly more convinced.  OTOH, he expects 50,000 New Yorkers
           to enjoy the place on a given afternoon, but he's not worried about
           them destroying the green?  I think we need a usability assessment.
2019/05/21 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular

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The Right to Rally and the Great Lawn 7-18-04 The Great Lawn - before and after it was restored Dear Friends of Central Park: You may have heard of the ongoing debate regarding the request by United for Peace and Justice for a permit to hold a protest rally on the Great Lawn during the Republican National Convention. The Central Park Conservancy fully supports the First Amendment right to congregate in large groups for demonstrations. Our concern is that an event of this magnitude, with 250,000 people expected to attend, would severely damage not only the Great Lawn but also other areas of the Park. Many of us can remember Central Park when it was an uninviting place with large expanses of dirt and eroded landscapes. In 1980, public-spirited New Yorkers, determined to restore the Park they loved, formed the Central Park Conservancy, a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to restoring, managing, and preserving Central Park for present and future generations. Thousands of New Yorkers who contributed both time and money to the restoration of the Park have, together with the Central Park Conservancy and the Department of Parks & Recreation, transformed it from its abysmal condition during the mid-1960s to the late 1970s to the splendor envisioned by the Parks designers. As New Yorkers, our investment in Central Park is enormous and one well worth protecting. If this large public demonstration were to take place on the Great Lawn, it would set a precedent, initiating once again a costly cycle of restore and destroy, which is dangerous and not one that a natural environment can endure for very long. after demonstrations of this size, large sections of the Park must be closed for several months or as much as a year to allow them to recover. During that time, millions of people who rely on Central Park as a backyard and green oasis would be unable to use it joggers, soccer players, baseball teams, dog walkers, picnickers, birdwatchers, sunbathers, etc. We agree that it is important for this rally to be held, but we do not think that the Great Lawn, which was restored in 1997 at a cost of $182 million, is the place to do it. The damage that would be done, not just to the Lawn but also to the surrounding landscapes, would be incalculable. Central Park has offered to host other, smaller demonstrations in the Park as long as they are of an appropriate size for the space requested. We believe that if the public fully understood the consequences of what a large demonstration could do to the landscapes of the Park they would agree that Central Park is not an appropriate location. We enjoy the unusual beauty and delicacy of Central Park. With good judgment, we can have both, without damage to either.
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Kiss Your Grass Goodbye If Protesters Swarm Lawn By Henry J Stern May 14, 2004 Central Park, the best-known green space in the world as we know it, is once again under assault. Over the last hundred and fifty years, the great park has bravely borne periodic inappropriate incursions resulting in temporary encroachments. In most cases, those who seek to misuse the park are well-intentioned, and sincerely believe that the particular intrusion they support will serve the public interest and not injure the greensward. The latest threat to the park is a proposal by a group called "United for Peace and Justice." One must respect the imagination of those who have organized radical front groups over the years for the ingenuity of their ever-changing nomenclature. Old hands like Leslie Cagan have lost none of their touch. All three major words in the group's name, an adjective (in this case) and two nouns, represent good things that decent people support. UPJ wants to use the Great Lawn for a rally protesting the Republican National Convention, which will be held in New York City from August 30 to September 2 The date they propose is August 29, a summer Sunday when the park would normally be enjoyed by fifty thousand or more citizens, depending on the weather. We all know that any decision on permits for political events must be content-neutral. It doesn't matter what it is the applicants want to endorse or protest, how long we have known them, or whether or not we like their views. Both Rush Limbaugh and Al Franken must be treated alike, as they deserve. That having been said, we proceed to discuss the appropriateness of the particular site which has been sought, the Great Lawn of Central Park. Both the City of New York and Parks & Recreation are prepared to offer alternate sites in a large park or public place. The First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech, but not the right for hundreds of thousands of people to gather anywhere they desire anytime they choose. The Great Lawn of Central Park is a special place, very different today than it was in 1982, when a large anti-nuclear rally was held there. The lawn and its surrounds were completely made over by an $182 million restoration, funded by the City of New York and by the Central Park Conservancy, which since its founding a generation ago, has raised an incredible $270 million in private gifts for a public park, with Richard Gilder contributing $17 million in a challenge grant for the restoration of the park. The lawn project, which took over two years to complete, includes underground drainage, surface irrigation, substantial new topsoil and Kentucky bluegrass cover. It transformed a battered, dried-out area into an extraordinary green island for the public to enjoy. It was much more than a restoration, because the old lawn never was like the lawn we enjoy today. The Great Lawn is a 13-acre oval area just north of Turtle Pond, mid-park between 80th and 85th streets, and bounded by a half-mile hex block pathway. Ninety-two trees grow on the lawn, including American and English elms, red and sugar maples, four varieties of oaks: pin oaks, red oaks, white oaks and one burr oak. Flowering trees abound, including four crabapples and 24 cherry trees. Eleven silver lindens and two little leaf lindens adorn the lawn with their classic beauty. Dogs, noble creatures that they are, are not allowed on this lawn, because Parks wants small children to be free to crawl on the grass, without their parents having to worry about humans' litter or animals' deposits. Today, the lawn is intended to be a sanctuary for the gentlest among us. For many years after World War II, for lack of lawn and soil maintenance and for want of city dollars for capital restoration, the lawn, the pond and their borders had degenerated into a large dust bowl and silted mudflat. The lawn's highly compacted soil made it impossible for its surface to absorb rainwater, which led to erosion as the runoff water clogged the catchbasins on both sides of the lawn. This resulted in even minor showers flooding the lawn and the pathways that border it, creating small ponds. The meager green cover that did survive, which consisted primarily of the hardiest of weeds, was repeatedly trampled into the dirt. The last two events held on the old lawn were the premiere of the Disney movie Pocahontas, on June 10, 1995, and Pope John Paul II's visit on October 7, 1995. The Disney event was the first for which the city demanded and received one million dollars from the sponsors, half of which was used for Central Park restoration, and half for parks around the city that cannot generate revenue on their own. The opening was a major public event, showing that the park was safe at night. The pope's mass held in Central Park was inspiring to the many thousands who attended. It was reasonable and proper to use the area for those events; because the lawn was great in name only, there was nothing left to destroy. Later that October, the city closed the area and, with the help of the Central Park Conservancy, began the most extensive renovation project in the park's history. It took many months to remove the broken-up asphalt pathways that surrounded the lawn, and to dredge the clogged Turtle Pond of 3,000 cubic yards of sediment, which was soil that had washed away from the oval over the years. Before the dredging hundreds of turtles, weighing up to 45 pounds, were carefully moved to new abodes in the nearby lake. Then 25,000 cubic yards of topsoil, specially engineered to resist compaction, was placed over the old lawn area, and 10,000 linear feet (almost two miles) of drainage lines were laid several feet below the new lawn surface. An additional 10,000 linear feet of drainage lines were placed deep below the lawn in order to release water trapped underground from the old Croton Reservoir that occupied the site from the 1840's until it was drained in 1931. The lawn, built on the reservoir site, was completed in 1936 by Parks Commissioner Robert Moses. At that time the area was not marked for softball fields, athletics not being permitted there until 1950, when eight diamonds were built. Although the old reservoir was drained 73 years ago, its stone walls were not removed. They remain today, at one point marked by a historical sign where they emerge from underground west of the lawn. Some of the reservoir water is said to remain embedded under the lawn. Without the deep drainage lines just installed, this seepage could create sinkholes after severe rainfall, undermining the effort to stabilize the lawn. To insure that the new sod will remain irrigated and produce deep roots that would anchor it firmly in the lawn, 11,000 linear feet of irrigation lines were installed just below the surface, with 275 pop-up sprinkler heads. The new lawn was planted with five varieties of Kentucky bluegrass, with a sprinkling of perennial rye. This is done to avoid a monoculture, because if one variety were attacked by disease or blight, the lawn would be destroyed. To give the roots a chance to penetrate nine inches deep into the sandy loam topsoil, the lawn was closed to the public for nine months. If the roots were not anchored in this way, a person who slid on the lawn could move the sod like a bad hairpiece. The amount of wear the grass can safely tolerate is carefully measured by experts in horticulture. In their view, philharmonic and opera concerts can be held four times a year. In the six years that the new lawn has been open, there was one ticketed entertainment event, which caused considerable damage to patches of the sod. The seating capacity of the Great Lawn, as measured by concert attendance, is 60,000. The standing capacity ranges up to 85,000, but so many people standing cheek by jowl would be devastating to the grass they tread on for hours. Park officials believe that a crowd of over 75,000 would be excessive for the space. The estimate of attendance for the rally proposed for August 29 is 250,000. Many people will have traveled to New York from all over the country and abroad for the occasion. The estimate could be exceeded as tension builds before the ...