Following vigorous community opposition, the Parks Department has decided to drop its controversial plan to put up tennis bubbles in Central Park during winter months. Parks recently axed a similar plan on the East Side.
The Central Park Tennis Courts (Photo Courtesy of Westside Independent)
On Tuesday, the Council’s Parks & Recreation Committee, Chaired by Melissa, held an oversight hearing on concessions. At the hearing, Council Members, advocates, Community Board representatives and members of the public criticized the Parks Department for its lack of transparency in awarding concessions and for not involving the surrounding community in a meaningful way, using the Central Park bubbles as a prime example.
“Community input, community dialogue, community planning–that’s what this whole debate was about,” said Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. “If the Department of Parks had just given the larger community the respect it merited then this very public showdown could have been avoided. In the end, I thank Parks for conceding to what we all knew to be true–that these intrusive and enviromentally unfriendly bubbles within the heart of this cherished oasis would have defaced this historic landmark.”
The plan would have allowed for a concessionaire to inflate 35 foot bubbles over the Central Park tennis courts during colder months. The bubbles were to be inflated by diesel generators, which raised environmental concerns. Meanwhile, the concessionaire proposed charing up to $100 per hour, leaving the courts far out of reach for so many New Yorkers.
For more information on this victory for advocates and the Westside community, see the NYC Park Advocates Blog.