Having been jilted before, Central Park Conservancy types turn on de Blasio

 de Blasio’s plans « absolutely must be opposed »

A partial view of the Parks Department building in Central Park that will be upgraded to house up to 95 horses and approximately 70 carriages.  Source :  Google Street View

A partial view of the Parks Department building in Central Park that will be upgraded to house up to 95 horses and approximately 70 carriages.  Source :  Google Street View

By LOUIS FLORES

Plans to cut the size of the horse carriage industry and move their operations into Central Park have run into early opposition.

Besides being criticised by pedi-cab drivers, who now face a ban on Central Park operations south of the 86th Street Traverse, the plans announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-New York City) have stirred the ire of officials with the Central Park Conservancy, the nonprofit group that oversees Central Park.

Mayor de Blasio’s plans include forcing the Parks Department to vacate an existing building on the 86th Street Traverse, so that the building could be upgraded, by 2018, to serve as commercial horse stables and barns to permanently accommodate up to 95 horses and approximately 70 carriages.

A founder of the Central Park Conservancy, Betsy Barlow Rogers, told The New York Times for a report filed by Michael Grynbaum that Mayor de Blasio’s plans « absolutely must be opposed » over concerns of the commercialisation of Central Park.

But the Central Park Concervancy’s protestations may have come too late. 

As reported by Progress Queens, City Hall has bulldozed its way into approving plans to sell or approve development projects in respect of strategic public assets, like Brooklyn Bridge Park, public libraries like the Brooklyn Heights branch, community gardens, and even the playgrounds of New York City Housing Authority developments, sometimes by even sidestepping requirements for public approval of the dispositions. 

None of the city’s largest or wealthies civic groups have opposed Mayor de Blasio’s neoliberal economic policies.  Their silence, even when questions have been raised by Progress Queens about the legality of the disposition of city real property by sidestepping the City Charter’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, have lent an air of tacit approval to Mayor de Blasio’s pro-gentrification agenda.  Nor has the Central Park Conservancy defeated any proposal to build any of the “super tall” luxury condominium towers that now cast shadows over Central Park. 

Attempts to reach the Central Park Conservancy for comment were unsuccessful.  If a response is obtained, that update will appear in a future report.

In 2015, The Wall Street Journal reported that the de Blasio’s had been snubbing the philanthropy set of New York society, even going so far as ignoring an invitation sent to the city’s first couple by the Central Park Conservancy to attend the group’s « hat lunch. »  Notwithstanding any tensions, before last year ended, Mayor de Blasio also forced the Central Park Conservancy to provide assistance and monies to some of the city's poorer parks.