True or false: parks are public?

7 Jan 2014
We were quietly getting ready for a new Mayor last month when we heard the Parks Department was kicking hot dog vendors out of Washington Square Park!  Why? Not due to "congestion" (like they bogusly claimed at Union Square) but because rich people, heiresses, and celebrities from the new Washington Square Park Conservancy thought the vendors were "unsightly."  Funny, but we'd use words like "offensive," "elitist" and "racist" instead. Either way, we don't have enough people to be at every Community Board meeting where decisions about public space like this are made. Thank God a local blogger activist was on the case! Together with neighbors concerned about private control of their public park, parks advocates, and the affected vendors themselves, SVP held a rally and press conference to draw attention to the issue. As usual, direct action gets the goods! Just after the new year, the Parks Department reversed course, announcing that the vendors could stay. A huge victory for people who care about immigrant workers and public space. And a good start to a new year, and hopefully a new era, for vendors in NYC!  

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