Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Coney Island Cyclone Roller Coaster $ Set For New Contract

The Parks Department flag flies as the legendary Cyclone Roller Coaster plunges down the wooden tracks in Coney Island amusement park. The City is expected to sign a fifteen-year deal with the owners of Luna Park to operate the historic coaster. (Maisel/News)


Geoffrey Croft

The cyclone is set to become a cash cow for the city. The City is expected to rake in at least $200,000 annually the first year alone in a new fifteen-year deal expected to be approved in a few weeks.

The new operator of the historic coaster will be Central Amusement International, LLC,(CAI) the developer of Luna Park.

The City's Franchise and Concession Review Committee (FCRC) and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation are holding a hearing on Monday, March 12, 2012 at 22 Reade Street, Borough of Manhattan, at 2:30 P.M.

PARKS AND RECREATION REVENUE AND CONCESSIONS JOINT PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE OF A JOINT PUBLIC HEARING of the Franchise and Concession Review Committee and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation to be held on Monday, March 12, 2012 at 22 Reade Street, Borough of Manhattan, commencing at 2:30 P.M. relative to:

INTENT TO AWARD as a concession the renovation, operation and maintenance of the Coney Island Cyclone Roller Coaster ride and the development, operation and maintenance of food service, in Coney Island, Brooklyn (“Licensed Premises”), for one (1) fifteen-year term, to Central Amusement International, LLC (CAI). Compensation to the City will be as follows: for each operating year, CAI shall pay to the City a license fee consisting of the higher of a guaranteed annual minimum fee:

(Year 1: $200,000; Year 2: $205,000; Year 3: $210,000; Year 4: $215,000; Year 5: $220,000; Year 6: $225,000; Year 7: $230,000; Year 8: $235,000; Year 9: $240,000; Year 10: $245,000; Year 11: $250,000; Year 12: $255,000; Year 13: $260,000; Year 14: $265,000; Year 15: $270,000) or a percentage of gross receipts derived from the operation of the Licensed Premises for each year (10% of gross receipts up to $2,500,000, plus 15% of gross receipts from $2,500,001 and above)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Arson In Prospect Park's Most Sensitive Habitat and Wildlife Area

A fire burns at Rocky Pass one Prospect Park's most sensitive habitat and wildlife areas.
(Photos and illustration: Rob Jett/Citybirder) Click on images to enlarge.


By Geoffrey Croft

It was a close call this afternoon for one Prospect Park's most sensitive habitat and wildlife areas.

A fire was deliberately set on Rocky Pass and a witness saw three teenagers running away from the scene.

Bird watcher and naturalist Rob Jett, founder of Citybirder, was in Prospect Park's "Ravine" area at approximately 2:45pm when he heard a few teens fooling around on the pathway at "Rocky Pass."

"Shortly thereafter, I heard them laughing and running down the path towards the Nethermead Meadow. Immediately after I began to see smoke coming up from where they had just been, then I saw flames in the underbrush climbing the hillside. "

Jett quickly alerted the authorities and within a couple of minutes employees from the Prospect Park Alliance arrived including a crew from landscape management with shovels and rakes. A few minutes later NYPD patrol cars arrived.

Fast acting cops grabbed fire extinguishers from their patrol cars and emptied five of them putting out the fire.

FDNY arrived at the scene about 3:20pm. A law enforcement officer at the scene commented that the fire department's delay was caused because they were not familiar with location names within the park and had a difficult time finding it.

"Luckily, between landscape management workers creating a fire break and police officers with several small fire extinguishers, they were able to keep the fire from spreading through the entire woodlands at the Ravine. By the time FDNY arrived it was just smoldering with no open flames," said Mr. Jett.

Location of the fire.

"It could have been a lot worse. This is one of the most rich woodland habitats in all of Brooklyn and it could have burned to ashes without this quick responce. "

According to Jett, at least 20 species of birds nest in that area including the red tail hawk, and it contains Broolyn's last remaining forrest.

According to Jett and other park watchers, one of the biggest problems with this isolated section of Prospect Park is that it is rarely patrolled, either by NYPD or PEP. He says that homeless people and miscreants regularly hop over the fences at these two hillsides creating trash, fire hazards and other problems.

Making matters worse park workers say they are reluctant to go into those areas alone. In the summer months these supposedly protected sections of forest are trashed by people and illegal parties.

Jett says in the past he sent photos and complaint letters to former Prospect Park administrator Tupper Thomas regarding this area, but nothing was done to reign in the problem and he says it has only gotten worse.

In a April 14, 2008 email to Mr. Jett, Ms. Thomas acknowledged that there are problems in the area.

"(I) have been very concerned about the increased abuse for some time," Mr. Thomas wrote. "I have not seen the actual people doing the damage but have seen the effect and we had worked with the police on the large drinking parties that had been happening at night."

He hopes the new administration will take these issues more seriously and devote proper resources.

Park watchers have long complained about the limited funds being earmarked for the park, especially for its natural resources.

FDNY, and multiple NYPD units responded to the fire this afternoon.

Read More:

Arson suspected at Prospect Park wildlife area
The Brooklyn Blog - New York Post - February 29, 2012 - By Rich Calder

The Brooklyn Paper - March 1, 2012 - By Natalie O’Neill

A fire broke out at Prospect Park's Rocky Pass,
and a witness says he saw teens laughing and fleeing the scene
Park Slope Patch - March 2,2012 - By Jamie Schuh

Friday, February 24, 2012

Glass Tube & Takeout Food Coming To Tavern On The Green

"With all of the important work that is going on, it seems antithetical to go and put a large glass box at the main entrance in the central courtyard. If more restaurant space is needed, it should be accomodated in additions on the secondary façades, a tactic typically required of other landmarked buildings throughout the city." - The Historic Districts Council

Historic Scenic Landmark? The City has repeatedly maintained they removed Tavern On The Green's Crystal Room in order to restore the area to compliment the original Victorian Gothic style building, designed by Jacob Wrey Mould and built in 1870-1871, within the English Romantic style Central Park designed by Olmsted and Vaux.

When the new Tavern On The Green reopens in 2013, the city hopes it will become what the Parks department’s proposal termed "a moderately priced restaurant,” with "a vibrant bar scene," a "bar space for park visitors to meet and gather for a drink and small plates,” as well as a cafe with “both indoor and outdoor seating” that also offers takeout food. Yes takeout food.

The Mayoral approved Landmarks Preservation Committee approved the glass tube design on Tuesday.

"Approving the proposed addition opens the door to insensitive additions in years to come, and the Tavern on the Green begins down the slippery slope from which it is presently recovering,"Landmark West! testified on Tuesday.

"The proposed addition is inappropriate to the historic Tavern on the Green building and the Scenic Landmark setting. We urge the Commission to deny the addition." - Geoffrey Croft


A Victorian Gothic style building, designed by Jacob Wrey Mould and built in 1870-1871, within an English Romantic style public park designed by Olmsted and Vaux. Application is to demolish existing additions, construct a new addition, modify masonry openings, replace infill, install HVAC equipment, and modify landscapes, according to The Historic Districts Council.

The Historic Districts Council is the advocate for New York City’s designated historic districts and neighborhoods meriting preservation. Its Public Review Committee monitors proposed changes within historic districts and changes to individual landmarks and has reviewed the application now before the Commission.

HDC applauds the restoration and uncovering, or rediscovering, of Tavern on the Green. With all of the important work that is going on, it seems antithetical to go and put a large glass box at the main entrance in the central courtyard. If more restaurant space is needed, it should be accomodated in additions on the secondary façades, a tactic typically required of other landmarked buildings throughout the city.

On a lesser note, we also ask that window configurations display more divisions as they do throughout historic photos. The divided light scheme is more in keeping with the romantically rural tradition of the sheep’s fold and Tavern on the Green.

LPC Determination: Approved

Landmark West! is not opposed to new design at the Tavern on the Green site in principle, but a legendary destination and a handsomely designed building such as this deserves something far more sympathetic; a quietly masterful note of our time, they write on their website.

The pavilion proposed is a hefty glass-and-metal box that does nothing but hide what is most exciting about the building's primary facade: the East-facing central bay.

We're disappointed to report that the LPC ultimately approved the City's plan, glass box and all.

Read more from preservation advocates on this issue:

*Central Park, home to Tavern on the Green, was the City's first Scenic Landmark, designated by the LPC in 1974. Learn more about the park and its history in the designation report. Up until now, and until work on the restoration begins, the Tavern on the Green building has served as a visitor's center (more here).

Read More:

February 22, 2012

Landmark West! - February 23, 2012

Landmark West! - February 22, 2012

Curbed - February 21, 2012 - By Dave Hogarty

A Walk In The Park - December 30, 2011

Parks Dept. Removing Trees To Prevent Muggings In Inwood Hill & Isham Parks?

"This will open up sight lines in and out of the park to better improve its appearance and public safety," Parks Department spokesman Phil Abramson said in an email, adding that the department decided to take action after "unfortunate incidents occurred in the park."

Trees being removed in Isham Alley
Approximately 10 trees were removed from Isham Alley (above). The Parks Department began its weeklong effort to trim, prune and chop down trees and bushes in Isham and Inwood Hill parks in an effort to improve public safety. At least 40 trees were removed from Isham and Inwood Hill parks during the week of Feb. 20, 2012. (Photo: Cristobal Vivar/via DNAinfo)

"I hope someone talked about more police patrols before they took out the chain saw," commented WPIX's Greg Mocker in a follow up story.

The reporter caught up with Manhattan Park Commissioner Bill Castro at Isham Park where he denied multiple times the reason for removing the trees was to improve site lines.

"Part of the plan was to give a site line here right is what I understand," Mocker asks Commissioner Castro.

"No," responds Manhattan Park Commissioner Bill Castro seemingly contradicting the agency's press spokesperson statement which was given out to multiple media outlets. "It's to deal with storm damage", and to "remove dangerous trees."

"So it wasn't because of some of the crimes that have happened or so, it wasn't a clearing that... " Mocker presses.

"No, that's only for pruning purposes," said Commissioner Castro.


INWOOD — Inwood tree lovers are up in arms after the Parks Department cut down dozens of trees over the past week, saying the city's efforts to tamp down an ongoing mugging problem can't be solved with a chainsaw, according to DNAnfo.

Parks Department spokesman Phil Abramson confirmed that crews have cut down approximately 40 trees in Isham Park and Inwood Hill Park since Feb. 20 and plan to continue work until Saturday. He said crews were targeting dead trees or those damaged in recent storms.

"This will open up sight lines in and out of the park to better improve its appearance and public safety," Abramson said in an email, adding that the department decided to take action after "unfortunate incidents occurred in the park."

"With more visibility in an incident, you are more likely to be seen," he added. In addition, he said the work will also protect parkgoers from falling branches, which have been a problem across upper Manhattan since Hurricane Irene.

Local residents have been calling for increased safety measures at the parks after repeated incidents of violence and burglary over the past few years, including two in December 2011.

On Dec. 15, a man was on his way to a Christmas tree lighting in Isham Park when he was jumped by a group of teens who took his iPhone. Two days earlier, a family thwarted muggers on the edge of the park who tried to rob them with an L-shaped piece of plastic.

Law enforcement and elected officials have said crime in the parks is exacerbated by the limited visibility and seclusion parks offer would-be attackers.

But some residents dismissed the tree-cutting initiative as extreme and misguided.

"I know we have had a habitual problem with crime in the park. But shouldn't the answer be more beat cops, better lighting, or even cameras?" asked Jon O'Neil, who has lived in Inwood for 35 years. "Why does the city go right to chopping down trees for safety?"

The NYPD did not respond to requests for comment.

"It's a horror show out here," Inwood resident Elena Perez said as she watched 6- to 8-foot chunks of trees crash down on the Isham Park lawn Thursday morning.

"I want to feel safe, but the trees aren't even sick. If you look at the bark, they aren't hollow or anything. Why would they do this?"

Although Inwood resident Cristobal Vivar said safety is of concern to him and his wife as they raise their 2-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter near the park, he believes the removal of the trees had more to do with concern over lawsuits than public safety.

When he heard the sounds of chainsaws in Isham Park outside his apartment window Monday, he initially thought the department was trimming a few loose or damaged branches.

But when he saw the amount of trees being taken down, he began to have second thoughts.

“I first told my daughter they were doing something for the trees so they grow better, but I didn’t believe it, because it was too much,” he said.

Workers are slated to continue removing trees until Saturday throughout the parks, which were littered with dismembered tree limbs and chipped wood piles on a recent visit, park officials said.

The Parks Department said it was also tending to several diseased and damaged trees that local volunteer gardeners had voiced concern over for the past several years.

Isham Park trees cut

A Parks Department employee prunes a tree in Isham Park. (Photos: Carla Zanoni/DNAinfo)

Abramson noted that an inspection of the trees "confirmed that they were hollowed out, split or suffered severe damages from recent storms."

Although the tree-cutting in both parks stirred many emotions in the neighborhood, several volunteer gardeners said the work was unavoidable.

"This is massive and I knew it was going to create a lot of unhappiness, but the truth is that there is a lot of damage and disease and not all of it is easy to detect when you just look at it," said Pat Courtney, an organizer for Volunteers for Isham Park, which cares for the park.

"It's like a member of the family dying when you see a tree go down, no matter the condition it was in you are going to be upset," she added. "But we have to realize that the landscape is always in the process of renewal and destruction. It is inevitable."

Parks Department tree Trucks

A fleet of of orange Parks Department bucket trucks wait to converge on Inwood Hill and Isham Parks.

Read More:

Inwood Park Trees Thinned Out to Thwart Muggers
DNA Innfo - February 23, 2012 - By Carla Zanoni

WPIX - February 23, 2012 - By Greg Mocker

A Walk In The Park - December 30, 2011

A Walk In The Park - August 17, 2011

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Randall's Island Water Park Suit Against City Dismissed - Again

A New York State Appellate Court judge threw out the Randall's Island Aquatic Leisure's latest breach of contract claim against the City for terminating its agreement to build a controversial $ 168 million dollar 26 acre water park and private beach club on the island.

The project finally began to collapse in 2007 when Comptroller William C. Thompson Jr. sent a letter to Mayor Bloomberg stating the developer had failed to meet the city’s deadline to arrange financing.

Opponents of the sole-source water park deal had argued the massive complex - which had grown to 26 acres - would have privatized public parkland during its 35 year proposed license and charged a prohibitive $ 37 per ticket for a facility located between Harlem and the South Bronx.

Randall's Island Aquatic Leisure poster. Randall's Island Opening in 2008.

Randall's Island

By Geoffrey Croft

On Tuesday an Appellate Court judge threw out Randall's Island Aquatic Leisure's breach of contract claim against the City for terminating its agreement to build a controversial 26 acre water park and private beach club on the island, A Walk In The Park has learned.

The court sided with the city ruling that plaintiffs did not comply with its obligation to obtain financing. Plaintiffs' had alleged oral promises to extend their financing deadlines were made. The court was not swayed. The decision stated that the record "demonstrates that all extensions granted by the City were in writing, and reserved to the City all of its rights under the agreement, including the right to terminate if plaintiffs failed to meet certain financing conditions. Obtaining loan commitments by a date certain was a contractual obligation. Plaintiffs failed to meet the condition, and the City terminated the agreement. Thus, the breach of contract claim was correctly dismissed as against it," the decision read.

On July 22, 2010 New York Supreme Court dismissed the case which Randall's Island Aquatic Leisure appealed.

Randall's Island Aquatic Leisure was hoping to build the largest indoor waterpark in the country, with seven-acre indoor space open year-round and an 18-acre outdoor facility. The Randall's Island Sports Foundation would have received a sizable fee from its operation estimated to be $1 million dollars annually.

In an embarrassing statement at the time, Warner Johnston, a spokesman for the Department of Parks and Recreation said, “In the event that the concessionaire is unable to fulfill its financial commitments under the agreement, the city will take appropriate steps to ensure that development of this major community improvement continues.”

When Randall's Island Aquatic Leisure failed to meet its first construction deadline, the Parks Department quietly granted Aquatic chief Herbert Ellis a seven-month extension which they also failed to meet.

Given the track record of some Ellis companies," the Daily News wrote in 2007, "city officials should listen for a change. After all, Aquatic's disclosure filings to the city neglected to mention a 1998 bankruptcy involving another publicly financed project of his upstate. And Steuben Place Partners, another Albany venture connected to Ellis, failed to repay a $1.5 million development loan to that city.

Juan Gonzalez pointed out that Herbert Ellis and his Aquatic Development Group, the parent group of Aquatic Leisure LLC, was for a time financed by Jerry Abbruzzese, an Albany businessman and friend of Republican Senate Speaker Joe Bruno.

Abbruzzese, a major contributor to state and national Republican leaders, lobbied the Giuliani administration to choose the Ellis group for the aquatic park back in 1999, former Parks Commissioner Henry Stern said, according to Gonzalez.

The project was cancelled before opponents had an opportunely to file a lawsuit.

Repeated requests seeking comment from the Plaintiffs' attorney John D. Hoggan, Jr. were not returned.

"We are pleased that the Court agreed that this lawsuit was without merit and should not proceed," the NYC Law Department said in a statement to A Walk In The Park.


2012 NY Slip Op 00843

THE CITY OF NEW YORK, ET AL., Defendants-Respondents.

111146/09, 6747, 6748.

Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, First Department.

Decided February 7, 2012.

Law Office of John Hoggan, PLLC, Albany (John D. Hoggan, Jr., of counsel), for appellants.
Michael A. Cardozo, Corporation Counsel, New York (Victoria Scalzo of counsel), for The City of New York, The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and The New York City Economic Development Corporation, respondents.
Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, New York (Jonathan Bloom of counsel), for The Randall's Island Sports Foundation, respondent.
Before: Saxe, J.P., Friedman, Catterson, Freedman, Manzanet-Daniels, JJ.

Defendant New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and plaintiffs Aquatic Development Group, Inc. (ADG) and Recreation Development, Inc. (RDI) are not signatories to the "Waterpark Concession Agreement" between plaintiff Randall's Island Aquatic Leisure, LLC (RIAL) and the City (through the Department of Parks and Recreation), which governs this dispute. Thus, ADG and RDI are not proper plaintiffs, and EDC is not a proper defendant, which alone is a sufficient ground on which to dismiss the complaint as against it. There can be no breach of contract claim against a non-signatory to the contract (Nuevo El Barrio Rehabilitación de Vivienda y Economía, Inc. v Moreight Realty Corp., 87 A.D.3d 465, 467 [2011]). There can be no claim of breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing without a contract (American-European Art Assoc. v Trend Galleries, 227 A.D.2d 170, 171 [1996]). And there can be no quasi-contract claim against a third-party non-signatory to a contract that covers the subject matter of the claim (Bellino Schwartz Padob Adv. v Solaris Mktg. Group, 222 A.D.2d 313, 313 [1995]).
The breach of contract claim against the City for terminating the agreement to build a recreation center fails because plaintiffs did not comply with the obligation to obtain financing. Plaintiffs' allegation of a course of conduct and oral promises extending their financing deadlines is belied by the record, which demonstrates that all extensions granted by the City were in writing, and reserved to the City all of its rights under the agreement, including the right to terminate if plaintiffs failed to meet certain financing conditions. Obtaining loan commitments by a date certain was a contractual obligation. Plaintiffs failed to meet the condition, and the City terminated the agreement. Thus, the breach of contract claim was correctly dismissed as against it (see Jericho Group, Ltd. v Midtown Dev., L.P., 32 A.D.3d 294, 298 [2006]). The good faith and fair dealing claim fails because the City's termination of the agreement was consistent with the agreement's express terms (Phoenix Capital Invs. LLC v Ellington Mgt. Group, L.L.C., 51 A.D.3d 549, 550 [2008]). The promissory estoppel claims fail because the statement that "possible loans" were being "considered" is not an allegation of clear and unambiguous promises upon which plaintiffs could reasonably have relied (see New York City Health & Hosps. Corp. v St. Barnabas Hosp., 10 A.D.3d 489, 491 [2004]). The estoppel claims fail for the additional reason that they do not allege "dut[ies] independent of the agreement" (see Celle v Barclays Bank P.L.C., 48 A.D.3d 301, 303 [2008]).
We have considered plaintiffs' remaining arguments and find them unavailing.

Read More:

New York Daily News - By David Saltonstall

New York Times - September 18, 2007 - By Timothy Williams

New York Daily News - September 21, 2007

NY1 News - January 12, 2006

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Residents Demand Damrosch Park Back - Cease & Letter Sent To City & Lincoln Center

Damrosch Park Convention Center. For ten months of the year - from mid-August through June - the Bloomberg administration allows Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (LCPA) to rent out the 2.4 acre Damrosch Park to various clients including Fashion Week (above) as well as keep all the revenue. As justification for allowing the park to be illegally seized Bloomberg representatives keep trying to assert that it's alright to take a park for commercial purposes as long as it's during the Winter months. (Apparently the City doesn't realize that Winter doesn't last ten months.)
(Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates)

As if that bizarre logic isn't enough the administration is also trying to justify the park's use by the private corporation by saying that the tens of millions of dollars being diverted from the city's general fund are going to maintain other areas of Lincoln Center. When it was announced that Fashion Week was moving from Bryant Park to Damrosch Park event organizers boasted they would have 30% more space. They have made good on that promise.

March 8, 2010. Damrosch Park in the Winter time. (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge.

March 8, 2011. A Park Not Even In Name Only. Even the Parks Department sign with the iconic leaf logo identifying "Damrosch Park" was premananlty removed from the park when Fashion Week moved in 2010. Hundreds of bushes and 67 trees were also removed for the event leaving a barren landscape below.


While it may not have much name recognition, Damrosch Park is inextricably linked to a place that does: Lincoln Center. Nestled into the southwest corner of the center’s campus, the 2.4-acre park is the setting for free outdoor concerts in the summer, as well as a place where performers and neighborhood residents alike go to relax. At least they did, according to the New York Times.

Since 2010, when the New York Fashion Week shows moved to Damrosch Park from Bryant Park, residents say, Damrosch Park has been all but taken over by one special event after another, making it off-limits nearly 10 months of the year. Setup for the spring fashion shows, which take place in September, begins in August; those shows are followed by the Big Apple Circus’s annual show, which runs from mid-October to January; the fall fashion shows are held in February (this year’s end on Thursday); and then there are private parties, also under tents, throughout the spring.
“It’s an assault on the neighborhood,” said Michael Graff, a lawyer who lives in the nearby Alfred condominium tower. He had to shout over the din of generators along West 62nd Street that provided power to a series of white tents for the fashion shows.
On Tuesday, a group of residents and NYC Park Advocates, a nonprofit group, announced that they had sent a “cease and desist” letter to the city and to Lincoln Center demanding that Damrosch Park be returned to its proper use as a city park.
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 and the fashion shows.
Residents, community activists and environmentalists gathered yesterday for a press conference in front of Damrosch Park's Northeast entrance which is blocked by the enormous two-story high Fashion Week facade and the event's main entrance. (Photo: Robert Caplin for The New York Times)

“Fashion Week generates $865 million in economic activity each year and helps create jobs in one of our city’s most important industries,” said Julie Wood, a spokeswoman for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.
A representative of Lincoln Center did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
At a news conference on Tuesday outside Lincoln Center, Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates, criticized the city over the terms of its agreement with Lincoln Center, which allows the center to keep all the revenue generated by subleasing the park to outside groups. Fashion Week alone will pay $17.2 million over five years to use the park, Mr. Croft said.
Lincoln Center is also allowed to keep the money from a city-owned parking garage beneath the park, said Reed W. Super, a lawyer representing NYC Park Advocates and several residents. From 2006 to 2010, the garage yielded $26.7 million, he said.
“It’s illegal,” Mr. Croft said. “According to the City Charter, all of that money has to go back to the city’s general fund.”

The Big Apple Circus takes over the entire 2.4 acre park each year from Ocotober to January. (Photo: Cleo Dana)

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 defended the agreement with Lincoln Center, pointing out that the cultural institution was solely responsible for the upkeep of the park and paid to maintain other public areas on its campus, including the signature fountain in its plaza. Lincoln Center, Ms. Wood said, “has spent millions to improve these areas, create new green spaces and program them for public enjoyment.”
Residents and some members of Community Board 7 said that in the past they had not looked forward to the four-month takeover of the park by the Big Apple Circus, but that they had grown used to it. Their frustration mounted, however, when Fashion Week arrived.
“It was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back,” said Susan Levy, a resident of the Alfred.

March 8, 2010. (before) The City destroyed 54 trees including these above in order to accomodate Fashion Week. Another 11 trees were supposedly transplanted elsewhere though the Parks Department has refused to disclose the locations.

March 19 2011. (After) Clear Cut.

March 8, 2010. (before) David H. Koch Theater in the background.

March 20, 2011. (After) Clear Cut. Trees and bushes removed to make room for commercail uses including projecting imaged of TV personalites on the wall of the Theater.
With the trees removed clients who rent the public park from Lincoln Center are now able to utilize the space for a variety of new exclusive private commercial events services like projecting 25 foot high images of TV actors on the David H. Koch Theater wall as the USA Network did during Upfront Event on May 2, 2011. "Network Upfront’s have begun. USA Network kicked off upfronts with their event held on May 2, 2011 at Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center here in New York City and invited members of the press and advertisers to show off their character and help celebrated USA’s fifth year at #1.....

To make way for the Fashion Week tents, the city removed 67 trees from the park.
City officials say that many of the trees that were cut down were in poor health and that their roots were creating cracks in the ceiling of the parking garage. The city has planted 220 trees within a mile radius of the park, while Lincoln Center has installed an additional 88 trees on its campus.
But residents say that a tree half a mile away does not make up for the loss of shade and green in Damrosch Park. “Sadly,” said the letter to city officials and Lincoln Center, “Damrosch Park has been decimated. Even the parks department sign with the iconic leaf logo identifying ‘Damrosch Park’ was removed.”
Mr. Super, the lawyer for NYC Park Advocates, said that litigation was a possibility. “We prefer not to run right into court,” he said.

Park Purpose? Fashion Week is just one event the City is allowing to occupy Damrosch Park.

Read More:

New York Times - February 14, 2012 - By Lisa W. Foderaro

Report: Lincoln Center Residents Unhappy With Fashion Week Tents
WNBC - February 15, 2012 - By Laurel Pinson

A group of Upper West Side residents claim that Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center is being used illegally for runway shows and other events.
Crain's New York Busness - February 14, 2012 - By Adrianne Pasquarelli

Fashionista - February 15, 2012 - By Hayley Phelan

My Fox - Feburay 22, 2011 - By Linda Schmidt

A Walk In The Park - February 6, 2012

A Walk In The Park - September 10, 2010 - By Geoffrey Croft

A Walk In The Park - September 11, 2010 - By Geoffrey Croft