New York Shitty Day Starter: Keep Off The Grass, Part II

(Or: A Turf War?)

A person we’ll call “L” writes (in regards to this post written on Sunday, May 13, 2012):

Hello! I was searching for information on why people are being kept off the grass at Smorgasburg. I saw your post…

You must have been there later than I was that day. When I was there last Saturday (May 12th), there was actually a security guard running people off — even if just their feet were touching the grass. We suspected it was security from The Edge, but couldn’t find any proof of that. I think I was there from 11 until about 12:30 or so.

I asked @smorgasburg, via Twitter, and got no reply.

I’m very curious to see if you find out more. The lack of shade is already a big problem at Smorgasburg, and not being able to sit in the grass seems a shame.

To preface, L: Smorgasburg’s liquor license hearings (Yes, there was more than one— and I attended both!) proved to be contentious. Very simply put:

  1. Smorgasburg gave a pretty lackluster presentation the first time. Among other things: they presented a petition in favor of said liquor license which had 2 (or 3) signatures total, stated their endeavor had the support of our Borough President, Marty Markowitz, without presenting any documentation; presented a letter of support from the condominium board of The Edge*— but curiously letters had been received from Edge residents wishing that no liquor license be granted.
  2. Now take into account how the Open Space Alliance concert series upset people who reside in this area. The issues at hand were a lack of crowd-control and public intoxication. Smorgasburg did not present a “plan” as to how to deal with those who were going to imbibe at their event. Well, you can guess what happened next: their license was voted down by the Public Safety Committee of Community Board 1. Three to two.
  3. However, Smorgasburg they withdrew their application, reapplied and gave no less than two pages of material outlining how they would manage this event (inclusing crowd control and security). This was well received and  got a unanimous thumb’s up form the Community Board.

To (finally) answer your question, L:

The Ponzi scheme our city (via rezoning) has with developers regarding parks development on our waterfront is entities such as The Edge will develop waterfront park space, turn it over to the city, and in return they get benefits. Among them: building taller buildings.

But the salient question here is what happens when there is (undeveloped) space used by a business (this being Smorgasburg) which is owned by a developer (presumably The Edge) and what happens if the area abutting it, the piece of turf in question, is also owned by a developer. If that’s the case (and I suspect it is here), he/she can do whatever he/she wants—and this includes rent-a-cops telling you to get off their grass.

*Which has been alleged does not exist.

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