From The New York Shitty Inbox: One Greenpoint Parent Isn’t “Lovin It”

Mickey DonaldA concerned (and seriously pissed off) Greenpoint parent writes: I thought this sponsorship might at least amuse you… (forwarded email follows):

From: (Pissed Off Greenpoint Parent)
Subject: Mc Donalds sponsored Pumpkin Fest??????????
To: (excised)
Date: Saturday, October 10, 2009, 1:01 PM

I just got back from Pumpkin Fest and I am appalled. To the point that I bought to my daughter a very cute $2 pumpkin at the green market. Let me describe Pumpkin Fest- people were funneled like cattle to make sure they would give their $5 donation, then would grab a McDonalds bag full of decorations and then a Town Square, Inc. balloon… And is if the corporate co-opting were not bad enough- were was the social aspect? No table to decorate your pumpkin, no real socialization spot to have parents and children interact. Very odd lay out, was (it) not the point to have us socialize, to feel part of the same community?

And further (more) nobody at Town Square thinks it is strange in (a) time where we are being very conscientious about what our children should eat that one of the sponsor(s) of this event is McDonalds (and possibly Dunkin Donuts as there was lots of branded products there as well) …But after all, what do we expect from an organization where Exxon Mobil sponsored EARTH DAY in Greenpoint (the same neighborhood they committed one of the worst environmental disasters in American history and still avoid their responsibility)… Maybe I have no irony or no sense of humor or I am just too moralistic. But I am sure corporations do not need to run every event at every level- even the local Halloween celebration is not free from their influence.

(excised), brought to you by Burger King (kidding)
Although I have been accused of being “too moralistic” I do, in fact, sport a sense of irony and a sense of humor. This is why I find Town Square so amusing: the sheer hypocrisy. They were the peeps who brought “Blazing Saddles” to McCarren Park last year. Not that I was against this, mind you: I WAS ALL FOR IT.

I was present when the previous came to pass (on the back of McCarren Park Field House/”Comfort Station”*). The Polish contingent was confused. The white liberals/do-gooders (with young ‘uns in tow) were silent. The Mister and I (and other children of the 1970’s) were laughing our asses off.** Which brings me back to POGP’s complaint: the corporate presence at north Brooklyn’s parks.

Unfortunately I do not see this changing anytime soon. Given the geo/ego/racial/socio-economic Real Politik factors at play at this park, I see it getting worse. Last week I had a conversation with a woman from the Greenpoint Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library (regarding their upcoming bake/book sale). In the course of our conversation she mentioned that they (The Greenpoint Public Library) wanted to have a Bake Sale at McCarren Park but the constricts (READ: insurance requirements, etc. as outlined by the Parks Department/OSA) made this endeavor prohibitively expensive and therefore, impossible.

I want you, dear readers, to think about this for a moment. McCarren Park is paid for by our tax dollars. It is ostensibly a public space. Yet McCarren Park has been employed as the place of pool parties and flea markets; McDonald’s gets the thumbs up— yet our public library (which is also supported by our tax dollars) gets a thumbs down. Parks for profits, tennis court oaths and bureaucratic intransigence: that’s our future.

Miss Heather

UPDATE, October 13, 2009: Not only has this been reblogged by Gothamist, but the head honcha of Town Square, Susan Anderson wants to have her say. Here it is in all its resplendent glory (as gleaned from the CB1 Yahoo Group which is where Ms. Anderson posted it).

Pumpkin Day in McCarren Park was a community event that was run by volunteers and did not have any corporate sponsorship. We had over 600 pumpkins and gave away more than half of the pumpkins for free. We could have easily charged for the pumpkins and 5 arts/crafts activities that went with each pumpkin, but we chose to not do so. Rather, we chose to make this a voluntary donation so that children and families, who could not afford to pay, would not be excluded or made to feel badly.

Perhaps, your “Greenpoint Mom [who was] not lovin’ Pumpkin Fest” would get involved in planning and volunteering for the next Pumpkin event or, for that matter, any of the other family events that we present in our neighborhood for the benefit of all our children. In fact, we have three more coming up just this month alone for her consideration: Schoolfest next Sunday, another Pumpkin Day on the Saturday thereafter and a Children’s Halloween Parade & Party on the following Sunday. We would definitely welcome her assistance.

Had she been involved, she would have known that McDonalds was not a sponsor of this event. Rather, the local manager donated 200 paper bags on the spur of the moment out of the goodness of her heart. So, let’s celebrate – not denigrate – someone’s generosity, shall we?

And I guess your mom didn’t stay long enough to see all the families and kids socializing on the lawn in McCarren Park. There were over 2,000 parents and kids decorating the pumpkins together, listening to the live music, and enjoying each other’s company. In our view, it typically does not require a table for children to decorate pumpkins or a designated spot for adults to socialize.

As for her view that “people were funneled like cattle,” we do agree that it can be difficult to provide a quality experience for this many people with only a dozen or so volunteers. The enthusiastic magnitude of the turnout far exceeded our expectations. On the other hand, I am unbelievably proud and thankful to our volunteers and the work that they put in that day.

Finally, if she believes Town Square is a corporation, I guess that all I can say is – thank you for the compliment!

All the best,

Susan Anderson
Town Square
Chairperson

Is it me or is this woman simply not “getting” it?

*Which, as any patron of the women’s bathroom will attest, is anything but comfortable. It’s disgusting.

**God bless you, Mel Brooks. You had the presence of mind to know that the best way to fight bigotry and hatred was to make fun of it.

Comments

5 Comments on From The New York Shitty Inbox: One Greenpoint Parent Isn’t “Lovin It”

  1. superclam on Sun, 11th Oct 2009 1:47 pm
  2. I was there, and her interpretation is pretty accurate. Crowded and confusing. I did manage to wrangle some pumpkins and stickers for my kids, so all wasn’t lost. They really could have organized it a lot better.
    P.S. “… a laurel – and hearty handshake.” Gets me everytime!!
    “Are you aware that this man is a ni?”
    Jesus, Moses and Mel Brooks are the 3 greatest Jews of all time!

  3. dog owner on Sun, 11th Oct 2009 6:29 pm
  4. i am confused…you had to give a $5 donation to participate in an event in — the still public supported by our tax dollars — McCarren Park.

    isn’t that a first?

    no suggested donation for the pool parties or for the movies but for something that is directed at families you need to give a $5 donation. both of which suck up substantial amounts of both OSA & parks time.

  5. Tennis Fan on Sun, 11th Oct 2009 11:40 pm
  6. Sorry – I don’t get the “tennis court oaths” comment. I just played in the great tournament this weekend at the McCarren courts and had a great time. The courts haven’t been resurfaced in 25 years – what’s wrong with people banding together to get it done?

  7. bleibtreu on Mon, 12th Oct 2009 6:04 pm
  8. “McDonald’s gets the thumbs up— yet our public library (which is also supported by our tax dollars) gets a thumbs down.”

    Really not the case. McDonald’s didn’t get a thumbs up; the organizer of the event enlisted McDonald’s as a sponsor to cover the expenses. The library didn’t get a thumbs down; they have the same option of covering the expenses directly or of recruiting sponsorship.

    As you said, McCarren Park is paid for by our tax dollars. When any organization — corporation, nonprofit, whatever — wants to use it for something out of the ordinary why should every taxpayer have to cough up more to cover it, as well as assume the risk that in this approach is covered through event-related insurance riders?

  9. SpillConspirator on Tue, 13th Oct 2009 8:18 pm
  10. Unfortunately, Town Square still bares a scar from working with Green Washing corporations in a Greenpoint Earth Day celebration. Scars take a long time to completely heal. They only heal with proper care. I suggest they take better care of their scars.

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