Central Park's Great Lawn closing earlier in the season due to damage

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Tuesday, October 3, 2023
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CENTRAL PARK, Manhattan (WABC) -- One third of Central Park's iconic Green Lawn is in need of repairs and will be closed until next spring.

The Central Park Conservancy determined the extent of the damage required reseeding and prompted an immediate closure of the lawn. Twelve acres of the public green space could remain unavailable to New Yorkers until at least April 2024.

The NYC Parks Department says that the Great Lawn is closed each year from November to April for regular maintenance. They also say that the Global Citizen Festival followed all permitting protocols and will pay for all the damage.

Councilmember Gale Brewer is asking New York Mayor Eric Adams to stop hosting the Global Citizen Festival at Central Park.

Brewer suggested in letter she wrote to the mayor that the festival be scheduled at an arena or a stadium instead. She alleges that a combination of heavy rain, foot traffic and machinery used for staging destroyed one-third of the Great Lawn.

"The Central Park Conservancy is very disappointed that the iconic Great Lawn is now closed and unavailable for New Yorkers to enjoy this fall. The use of heavy equipment and intense foot traffic in the saturated conditions from the September 23 concert damaged a large portion of the lawn and fully destroyed a third of it. Our team is now working to restore the lawn, hopefully in time to reopen this spring," a spokesperson for the conservancy said.

Adams said he will look into Brewer's request.

"We are not looking to damage the Great Law, but I don't want to damage the lawn in Prospect Park, I don't want to damage the lawns anywhere. The parks belong to the people. We should all share the use of the parks. No park is better than any others," said Adams.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Global Citizen Festival said:

The Global Citizen Festival has taken place in Central Park for the last 11 years in close collaboration with the City of New York, its agencies, and the Central Park Conservancy. We are incredibly grateful to call New York City and Central Park the home of our movement, which has seen $43.6 billion deployed to end extreme poverty, impacting 1.3 billion lives around the world. This year's rainfall meant closer alignment with City agencies and stakeholders than ever before. In the months leading up to the festival on September 23, and daily in the week before the event, we worked closely with the NYC Mayor's Office, NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, Office of Emergency Management, NYPD, FDNY and the Central Park Conservancy. Ultimately, the City of New York, the Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Central Park Conservancy, determined that this year's festival should go ahead. In addition to the fee paid to the City each year for use of the Park, Global Citizen works with the Central Park Conservancy to assess and cover the costs of any damage, and we remain committed to fulfilling those obligations, as we have since 2012.

The Global Citizen Festival is a free, rain-or-shine event. It was held September 23 on the Great Lawn with tens of thousands of fans in attendance even as remnants from Tropical Storm Ophelia brought torrential rain to New York City.

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