Thursday, January 30, 2014

Pepsi And Verizon Invade Bryant Park - Bryant Park Corp. Refuses to Disclose How Much Its Receiving

Park Purpose? Verizon Power House pavilion. Like magic Bryant Park's iconic fountain has been made to temporarily disappear, hidden behind a large wall and flat-screen displays. More than 25,000 square feet of the historic park has been allowed to be transformed into convention center-like exhibit spaces for two multi-billion dollar corporations - Verizon (above) and Pepsi (below).  (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge

A reproduction of the iconic Pepsi-Cola sign in Long Island City along the East River can be seen on the left in the Taste of PepsiCo event. 

The Bryant Park Corp., the not-for-profit company that privately manages the park, has refused to desclose how much it was recieving for renting out the public park land despite repeated requests.

By Geoffrey Croft

Welcome to PepsiCo and Verizon Park.

Major parts of historic Bryant Park have been taken over by Pepsi and Verizon for two separate marketing events, ostensibly in an effort to cash in on Sunday's Super Bowl game being held in New Jersey.  

More than 25,000 square feet of the historic park has been allowed to be transformed into convention center-like exhibit spaces for two multi-billion dollar corporations that cleary do not have a park purpose.  

Verizon, the country's largest U.S. wireless telecommunications business generated operating revenues of $120.6 billion in 2013 according to the company.   PepsiCo, the global soft drink and snack food giant had net revenues of more than $65 billion.  

Hidden behind a make-shift stage is the bronze and marble statue of William Cullen Bryant, the park's namesake, dimly lit in blue stage lighting.  

Bryant Park Corporation,  the not-for-profit company that privately manages the park for the city,  has long been criticized for exploiting the park for the sheer number and size of the commercial events it allows in renting out the public park each year. 

By law concession revenue from city parks must go to the City General Fund however under an unusual agreement the well-heeled group run by its president Daniel Biederman

 has been allowed to get away with keeping 100 % of the revenue whereby diverting money at the expense of other city services including public parks. Even Central Park does not have that  lucrative a deal.

Despite being able to divert more than a hundred million dollars over the years Mr. Biederman has repeatedly claimed the park is run without "any public money."

Repeated messages left for Mr. Biederman and  Joe Carella, a spokesman for Bryant Park Corp asking how much the group was receiving for renting out the park for these two events were not returned.  

On Wednesday, scant crowds staggered into the two separate exhibit spaces on the first day. 

Attendees to the Pepsico space were first subjected to full-body magnetometer security metal detectors searches.   Once inside guests were ascended upon by greeters wearing form fitting outfits who passed out a "Taste of PepsiCo passport" entitling them to receive free half bite-sized samples from eight stations.

Specialty menu items incorporating PepsiCo's 22 brands of products including Lays, Tropicana, Quaker Oats and Gatorade were created for the three-day event.  Cupcakes sprinkled with Doritos were hard to forget. 

Attendees to A Taste of Pepsico are first subjected to full-body magnetometer security metal detectors searches before being allowed to enter the event.  

The indoor space occupies 10,000 square feet including an 80 foot wide by 40 foot high custom-designed facility resembling a bio-dome.  Performers worked on several make-shift stages.  

Waiters walked around offering various Pepsi beverages in tiny plastic shot glass-sized cups.

Barely visible is the famous bronze and marble statue of William Cullen Bryant, the park's namesake,  which is hidden behind a stage. Small sections of the larger than life-size memorial - Herbert Adams sculptor and Thomas Hastings architect - were dimly lit in blue stage lighting. 

According to a Pepsico press release its three day event is meant to be a "Thank You Gift" to New York and New Jersey.  

Outdoor park space on both sides of the exhibit serve as security check points and guest entrances occupy even more of the park.

Over at the Verizon Power House pavilion, located on the northwest side of the park, park features fared no better. The park's iconic foundation was made to completely disappear, hidden behind a huge wall display with flat-screen TV's.

Attendees are applauded by a half dozen enthusiastic greeters as they enter the red carpeted 15,000 square foot pavilion.

The telecommunication giant billed the exhibit as "15,000 square feet of personal, interactive technology for football fans in New York City's Bryant Park. A Super Bowl Tech Journey for Football Fans. 

Once inside greeters half-heartedly attempted to direct guests to various stations including a touch wall,  a giant LED screen visualizing Verizon’s 4G LTE network and  a 270-degree projection mapping room.   

They also touted the NFL Mobile app.   

A second story skybox was built to showcase the company's soon to be launched  LTE  Multicast  service.   In order for guests to be allowed up they first had to hear a pitch by an attendee holding a tablet who blocked the stairs. 

As visitors exited they were offered phone power charging,  free bright red and black gloves and hot chocolate. 

Verizon Power House  replaced the Google's  Winter Wonderlab,  a  retail  popup  shop that hawked tablets and laptops streaming-video service that has there for a few days over the holidays. That store was across from the Stella Artois beer Chalice Factory.

Bryant Park Corp. officials are increasingly coming under fire for also signing 

non-disclosure agreements for the events being held on what is supposed to be public parkland, whereby avoiding even the slightest semblance of a public-review process. 

Information giant Google required them to keep quiet about its plans for the Wonderlab promo event.

The  Bryant Park Corp. officials also signed  non-disclosure agreements for a  T-Mobile marketing event featuring concerts by Shakira and Swizz Beatz which reportedly drew 7000 people. 

The same board raising concerns about these incidents however, Community Board 5, is also the same board who overwhelmingly approved more alcohol and less children and community space in Union Square Park by supporting the unwanted bar and restaurant in the pavilion. 

VIP Entry for PEPCITY.

Sign Of The Times.

Verizon's LTE Multicast Skybox.  

Verizon's exhibit space seen from the LTE Multicast Skybox on the second floor. 

Verizon Power House.

Verizon Power House pavillion -  41st street & Sixth Avenue.

Exterior near the rink.

Outdoor Signage.


Cupcakes sprinkled with Doritos were hard to forget at PEPCITY. 

Appetizing? Bacon strips held up by paper clips at the David Burke Kitchen station.  They made Mountain Dew Bacon Tacos with Sabra Guacamole,  Pepsi also owns Sabra.

Attendees at two of the free food sample stations.

Read More:

gothamist - January 30, 2014 - By John Del Signore  

No comments:

Post a Comment