The full Community Board 3 meets tonight ... among the agenda items for their consideration: The number of weekend afternoon concerts in Tompkins Square Park.
The following is from a DRAFT AGENDA. THIS HAS NOT BEEN VOTED ON BY FULL BOARD AND is not a a CB resolution or position:
WHEREAS, the Parks Department permits concerts in Tompkins Square Park in an area very close to 7th Street; and
WHEREAS, there are apartment buildings with many families on 7th Street directly across from the concert area; and
WHEREAS, there is no structure to baffle the sound; and
WHEREAS, some concerts do not impact the neighboring areas, but others are extremely loud and assault the senses, including inside people’ homes; and
WHEREAS, the Parks Department formerly had a policy limiting the number of concerts each month, but now appears to book concerts without a plan and sometimes back-to-back on Saturday and Sunday; and
WHEREAS, formerly there were PEP, NYPD, and sometimes DEP monitoring, there currently is no enforcement or monitoring; and
WHEREAS, people in this area suffer from abnormal levels of noise pollution every weekend;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that CB 3 requests that the Parks Department return to some amplified sound-free weekends, schedule amplified concerts only one day per weekend, and, in addition, schedule some of the loud concerts in other areas where people will not be as impacted, such as East River Park; and
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Parks Department arrange for both PEP and DEP monitoring for potentially loud concerts (based on previous complaints and/or monitoring); and
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Parks Department not schedule any loud concerts that have had complaints from the community directly across from residential areas, e.g., across from 7th Street, without providing or requiring a sound baffling structure.
[Howl! photo by Blue Glass]
CB3's Parks, Recreation, Cultural Affairs, Landmarks, & Waterfront Committee discussed this issue on Sept. 16. The Shadow's Chris Flash, who, along with several other people, have helped produced and promote shows in the Park since 1993, spoke at this meeting.
"I addressed the committee, assuring all that we are concerned neighbors who don't want to disturb our neighbors," Flash told me. "One thing we all could agree on was the suggestion that the Parks Department provide a portable barrier to direct sound away from the Seventh Street side of the park. I pointed out that when the Parks Department demolished the permanent Tompkins Square Park bandshell in 1992, we were promised the unlimited availability of a portable stage on a flatbed truck. This proved to be a lie."
As he said, the events that he and his friend produce in Tompkins Square Park individually and sometimes collectively raise important social and political awareness, celebrating the vitality of our neighborhood in the face of skyrocketing rents and gentrification driving out small businesses and long-time residents.
"We hope that we can resolve things before they get to the point of lawsuits and demonstrations, but we will not allow the use of our Park to be restricted by a self-appointed sound-nazi who has no authority to change or create policy or impinge upon the free speech of others," Flash said.
Meanwhile there are shows scheduled for Oct. 10, Oct. 23 and Oct. 24 that will go on as planned. Flash and company have already arranged on their own to create a sound barrier around the drum kits and to change placement of speakers so as to better direct sound away from Seventh Street.
Said Flash: "We want to respect our neighbors, but we don't want a fucking police state to arbitrarily enforce sound limits on music that some may not find appealing."