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LW! e-newsletter
June 29, 2010

Mission accomplished ... or is it?

Just ask tennis player John Isner, who endured 11 hours and 5 minutes over three days to emerge--victorious--at Wimbledon.  He'll tell you: It ain't over 'til it's over!

Because of you, the Department of Parks and Recreation withdrew (two months ago today) its misguided plan to
take public tennis courts in Central Park, enclose them with 35-foot-tall vinyl bubbles, and charge the public up to $100 per hour for play.  Togther, we beat back this plan!  But the reprieve may only be temporary ...


As a proposal by the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) began to make the rounds on the West Side this past Spring, LANDMARK WEST! sounded the alert.  And together, we--residents of New York and visitors alike--deflated the bubbles!  More than 1,300 people signed the online petition "Keep Central Park Open for All", joining the chorus of organizations calling for the protection of Central Park from bubbles (see a full listing below!).

The tennis bubbles may be out of sight, but they are certainly NOT out of mind for the DPR.  Adrian Benepe, Commissioner of the DPR, hasn't abandoned the idea of bubbles over tennis courts in Central Park, as his interview on NY1 makes clear.  And don't forget the Central Park Conservancy, the designated defenders of Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux's park.  The Conservancy's President, Douglas Blonsky, never spoke up.  So we who value Central Park as one of our city's truly special places--an open, democratic, green oasis in the dense heart of the metropolis--must remain vigilant!

Central Park tennis courts, located at approximately 94th and 96th Streets near Central Park West.

What else can we do?

In the blink of an eye, more than 1,300 people signed the online petition.  It remains "live" and as important as ever.  If you haven't already ...

By signing the petition, your voice adds volume to the chorus of opposition declaring with all its might: Central Park, the city's first Scenic Landmark, is not for sale.  Already signed it?  Send this email to a friend and encourage them to sign their name to the ever-growing roster of those who believe in keeping Central Park bubble-free.

LANDMARK WEST! has already delivered a copy of the petition
to the administrators of Central Park and the City agencies charged with the park's protection:

Douglas Blonsky, President of the Central Park Conservancy and Central Park Administrator

Adrian Benepe, Commissioner of the Department of Parks and Recreation

Robert Tierney
, Chair of the Landmarks Preservation Commission

For information on how you can contact these individuals and agencies directly, contact LANDMARK WEST! by emailing [email protected] or calling (212) 496-8110.

What was proposed--and DEFEATED--this Spring

For the full breakdown of the DPR's proposal, click here In brief:
  • Install four vinyl bubbles over 26 tennis courts in Central Park, at approximately 94th and 96th Streets near Central Park West.

  • At 35 feet tall--the equivalent of a 3.5 story building--the tennis bubbles would be among the most visible non-historic structures in the park.

  • The bubbles would privatize public space and transform an accessible recreational facility into an elitist "club", operated from 6AM to 11PM.

  • The bubble would degrade Central Park while in no way benefiting it.

  • The bubbles pose an environmental threat to an urban oasis.

Together, we burst the bubbles once already!  Thank you to Community Board 7 and the following organizations for stepping up and protecting Central Park:

The Sierra Club
New York City Park Advocates
Historic Districts Council
Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts
The Frederick Law Olmsted Society of Riverside, Illinois
The Calvert Vaux Preservation Alliance
Coalition for a Livable West Side
West 80s Neighborhood Association
Defenders of the Historic Upper East Side
West Cunningham Park Civic Association, Inc., Fresh Meadows, Queens

Finally, thank you to our elected officials who pledged their support on this important issue: 
State Senators Liz Krueger, Thomas K. Duane, Eric Schneiderman, Jose Serrano, and Bill Perkins; State Assembly members Danny O'Donnell, Richard Gottfried and Linda Rosenthal, and City Council member Melissa Mark-Viverito.

Comm. Benepe's interview with NY1 indicates that while the bubble plan may be burst for now, it could easily be reimagined and reinflated.

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