Reverend Billy & Friends give Union Square Partnership and Mayor Bloomberg a message

by cathryn on June 5, 2008

Union Square Park Not for SaleReverend Billy & Friends give notice to the Union Square Partnership and Mayor Bloomberg that the historic Union Square Pavilion is NOT For Sale.

A scene from last night, Wednesday, June 4th, atop the fenced-in Pavilion on the North side of Union Square amidst the construction.

The Union Square Pavilion is at the moment the site of a battle between those pushing a privatization agenda (specifically, the local BID: Union Square Partnership, led by restauranteur Danny Meyer, and Mayor Bloomberg who would like to insert a private restaurant there) and those who call for free speech, and demand that our history and our common public spaces be honored and preserved.

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We must inform the Tisch Family, the Danny Meyer’s, the NYU’s… that our Parks are Not for Sale. While also passing the word along to NYC Parks Commissioner Benepe, the New York City Council, and Mayor Bloomberg – the ones who are selling them off.

These are our treasured public spaces – our commons – and they need to remain that way.

Come to Union Square NorthWest corner (17th Street & Union Square West) TODAY, Thursday, June 5th, at 5 p.m. and join in on the fun as the Union Square Partnership celebrates itself (their annual self-congratulatory dinner is being held this evening at the W Hotel), we will celebrate and revel in our public space at Union Square Park.

* Expect marching bands, a “Heroes of Union Square Walking Tour,” community visioning sessions, and soapbox preaching.

* Expect surprises and spectacles and a glimpse of what the city CAN be.

* Come out and meet your neighbors in the square and defend the public’s right to public space.

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Some history of the Pavilion: George Washington and the Continental Army gathered at this spot in 1776. The Union Square Pavilion site was built as a stage for public assembly and democratic gathering. The first Labor Day Parade was held there in 1882. This is where our American conscience erupted in the songs of Paul Robeson, the shouts of Emma Goldman and the prayers of Dorothy Day. The 8-hour workday was born at Union Square and crowds surged before that reviewing stand in the tens of thousands. After September 11th, we gathered there instinctively in our grief and calls for peace.

What you can do NOW: Sign the petition.

 
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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mimi Sheraton June 5, 2008 at 10:52 am

The parks belong to the public and it is outrageous for the city, via our mayor, selling them over to private operators, even when it is one as capable as Danny Meyer.
Leasing them with a portion of profits going to the city is a much better idea, but a playground is the best idea of all..
What is being done to Union Square Park this summer is a travesty and a company vying for private space there may well incur and unexpectedly strong backlash.
Mimi Sheraton

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