Central Park is Closed – Park Completed Destroyed by Global Citizen Festival
New York City’s famous Central Park is home to some of the metropolitan’s only green spaces, including the Great Lawn that residents use to play and relax.
However, the Great Lawn is now officially closed until April 2024, thanks in part to damage caused by the Global Citizen Festival held there last month.
Global Citizen Festival
The Global Citizen Festival which was hosted in Central Park in NYC on September 23, 2023 was quite the event.
With lectures and musical acts, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lauryn Hill, Bill Nye, Chris Rock, and Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, the stage was certainly packed from start to finish.
The Crowd Was Packed Too
In addition to the many performers, there were also about 60,000 people in the crowd.
As a free event, they were definitely expecting tens of thousands of people, but what they didn’t realize was how much the crowd would affect the lawn they were standing on.
The Great Lawn Was All but Destroyed
Some of the attendees reported that the Global Citizen Festival quickly became nearly as chaotic as the famous Burning Man event in the desert.
And one of the major similarities was the immense amount of mud that appeared on the scene. In fact, about a third of the 12-acre lawn turned into a giant mud pit during the event.
How Did This Mess Happen?
In a letter from NYC Councilwoman Gail Brewer to Mayor Eric Adams, she wrote that the lawn was destroyed thanks to “a combination of heavy rain, foot traffic, and machinery used for staging.”
And while the extent of the damage wasn’t entirely visible while the event was going on, after the 60,000 people left, it was clear that the once gorgeous green lawn had been replaced by a muddy mess.
The Central Park Conservancy Decided to Close the Great Lawn
In response to the giant dirt and mud patch that has replaced the Great Lawn, The Central Park Conservancy has decided to close this area of the park until April 2024.
The Conservancy has already taken immediate action to replant grass; however, NYC residents and visitors will need to steer clear of the lawn in order for the grass to take root and grow successfully over the next few months.
The Conservancy Is Reportedly “Disappointed”
In addition to its announcement to temporarily close the Great Lawn, The Central Park Conservancy also told the press that it “is very disappointed that the iconic Great Lawn is now closed and unavailable for New Yorkers to enjoy this fall.”
And the spokesperson continued, “While we share New Yorkers’ frustration, we have had a positive relationship with the Global Citizen Festival producers and are confident any damages will be remedied expeditiously.”
Did the Global Citizen Festival Organizers Do Something Wrong?
When assessing this unfortunate situation, many people are wondering if the organizers of the event made some kind of mistake that led to the destruction of the lawn.
However, the general consensus is that the organizers did absolutely everything right by working with a number of city agencies to assess potential risks, following all protocols, and getting the appropriate permits for the staging and number of people in attendance.
Global Citizen Organizers Have Agreed to Pay for All Repairs
And even more impressively, the Global Citizen Festival organizers have already agreed to pay for any re-grassing being done on the Great Lawn.
In fact, they assumed that the lawn would need new grass after the event even before they put it on, and had already agreed to pay for it long before the rain came and washed a great deal of the grass away.
Supporters of the Festival Claim the Great Lawn Likely Would Have Closed Anyway
There are many people in New York who claim that the festival was a fantastic event and that it really isn’t at fault for the closing of the Great Lawn, as the Central Park Conservancy closes it most years anyway in the winter for regrowth.
These people believe that having the event in Central Park doesn’t change much for residents and, in fact, is a beautiful way to enjoy the city in the summer.
But Many Are Arguing That the Festival Change Locations Next Year
On the other hand, there are many who argue that the festival is a real problem and shouldn’t be allowed back in Central Park next year.
City Councilwoman Brewer explained that she has “never been a fan,” as “12 acres of public greenspace will be unavailable to New Yorkers until April 2024 or later, all to accommodate a one-day event.”
Either Way, the Central Park Great Lawn Will Be Unusable for the Next Six Months
Whether New Yorkers agree that the festival would be better suited elsewhere next year or that re-grassing the Great Lawn is a small price to pay for such a fantastic local event, the truth is that there’s no going back this year.
So the beautiful Great Lawn in Central Park will absolutely be closed until April 2024 in order to regrow all the grass that was lost.