GoogaRiddance! Grass-gouging music fest no longer welcome in P’Park, park officials say

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The controversial music and food festival that wrecked Prospect Park for two years in a row will not be invited back to party, a Parks Department official told city council at a Thursday hearing.

The weekend-long Great GoogaMooga wrecked the park’s Nethermead meadow both go-rounds, forcing the field to close for costly clean-ups and raising the ire of park patrons who said that the big-ticket event had no place in Brooklyn’s backyard — and the city finally seems to be listening.

“After two years of assessing [GoogaMooga] in that site, we pretty much feel at this time that it’s probably not the appropriate venue for something like that,” said Parks Department assistant commissioner Betsy Smith at the hearing about the private use of public parkland.

Smith said that the fest caused “more damage than we thought” after this year’s gated event, which attracted tens of thousands of attendees and left the park fenced off for repairs for most of the summer. The Parks Department deemed the event “too big” for the park’s Nethermead meadow, Smith said.

Green space advocates cheered the news that the big festival will not be making a three-peat of the long lines and drunk crowds that they say were better suited for a stadium than a rolling lawn.

“It’s certainly really good news,” said Geoffrey Croft, director of New York City Park Advocates. “The event obviously should have never been sited there in the first place. It’s a completely commercial event with a non-park purpose.”

Organizers with Superfly Presents, the company that organizes the event, said in a statement late Thursday night that they get it, okay?

“We understand and support the Department of Parks & Recreation’s decision, and we look forward to continuing a great working relationship with them, both on this project and others in the future,” the company wrote. “We thank the Prospect Park Alliance for the opportunity to bring GoogaMooga to Prospect Park the past two years, and we pledge our continued support for their mission to make the park an enjoyable and world-class public space.”

Thursday’s council hearing came nearly two weeks after a festival thrown by cable kids network Nickelodeon drew 35,000 children and their families to the Nethermead and further wrecked the big field, according to park regulars.

Park preservationists who are opposed to the park hosting big, ticketed events like GoogaMooga and Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play have said that the security guards, corporate logos, and long set-up and break-down times show a clear privatization of the commons but, despite the GoogaMooga snub, park officials do not see it that way.

“Large events occur because New Yorkers demand them,” Smith told the council. “They love them and they turn out in large numbers to enjoy them.”

Councilman Brad Lander (D–Park Slope) said at the hearing that his office was inundated with phone calls from concerned users of Frederick Olmsted’s public playground after GoogaMooga and the Nickeledeon bash.

“It does feel to people like their park is being taken from them and they don’t like it,” he said.

Park officials said that the reason for requiring tickets and putting up barricades at large-scale events, which are typically free, is simply for crowd control.

But the events do bring money to the city. The Parks Department charges a fee to any organizer hosting an event in a city park that draws more than 500 people. The fee is often negotiated for large-scale events like GoogaMooga and is calculated based on the duration of the event, the impact the event will have on the park, and the level of commercial activity the event generates, agency officials said.

Smith said that the fee has nothing to do with how much money party organizers make, but some councilmembers argued that it should be factored in.

The Prospect Park Alliance, which manages Prospect Park, made $75,000 on a fee from GoogaMooga, $41,500 from the movie-party Tropfest, and $150,000 from Nickelodeon. The funds help pay for park maintenance and free programming, according to the Alliance.

Any organizer hosting a large-scale event is required by contract to pay for any damages that occurred as a result of the event.

Updated 12:48 pm, October 4, 2013: Story updated to include statement from GoogaMooga organizers.
Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at
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Reader Feedback

Joe Black from Kensington says:
Only homeless junkies and muggers are welcome here
Oct. 4, 2013, 6:35 am
diehipster from Pile driving Palmers says:
Oh no! Where will the nasally interlopers from Flyoverlandia gather now to eat the magical substance called "food". This is a major problem - not being able to be photographed with a —— grin on your bearded face with a "craft ale" in one hand and a sustainable fish and kale taco in the other to post on Instagram or your gentrification blog. Where will they gatherrrrrrrrrr??????? Aaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!! Helpppp themmmm!!!!
Oct. 4, 2013, 7:41 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I'm all for Councilman Brad Lander . For those who don't like this position, you can always simply just not vote for anyone who is running for it, because nobody will be forcing you to do so, but don't come complaining if someone you don't like wins especially when you chose not to vote for anyone in that race to begin with.
Oct. 4, 2013, 8:35 am
bkmanhatman from brokeland says:
Perhaps Googamooga would be better situated on the East River Park or Brooklyn Bridge Park. At least concrete and asphalt doesnt get damaged like the lawns.
Oct. 4, 2013, 9:20 am
ty from pps says:
Tal -- How do you make all of your comments sound so unhinged?
Oct. 4, 2013, 9:37 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Yet another personal attack by TY. It's one thing to disagree but these attacks are a completely different animal. Do I drive my car on the beach? Do I drive my car through Prospect Park? Of course I don't. I'm sorry for you that you are unable to understand my point of view and my healthy beliefs in knowing what a "devil's advocate" is.
Oct. 4, 2013, 9:57 am
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
wow, this thing was so overblown. The grass looks big deal...nothing to see here. For some reason, it upsets the sensibilities of some folks to see affluent white people enjoy themselves en masse in the park.
Oct. 4, 2013, 11:05 am
ToTal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Festivals like this mess up traffic. Why does the park have to be near major thoroughfares? It also interrupts the street grid. There are a number of states that Prospect Park can be moved to so ny drivers can tear through Brooklyn at high speeds.

Those who don't like this position can always simply just not vote for moving the park but don't come complaining if a festival crashes through your ceiling and masked cyclists steal your clothes from the dryer, especially when you chose not to have cheese fries to begin with.
Oct. 4, 2013, 11:17 am
Affluent White Guy from PPW says:
I live on the park. I went to googamooga once. It was fine. It was a nice sunny day. I ate a lobster roll. I saw a pig carved up, and fell asleep in the sun watching the carving demonstration.
I wore non-skinny jeans and a nice shirt because I'm not a hipster. I have a normal name. A normal job, and am generally a pretty normal Brooklynite.

I pay an ass load to own on the park, and I pay huge taxes.

I like the f-ing bike lane on PPW. I like events in the park like googa, though I doubt I'd go to it again. I take my kids to the park every weekend and I've never seen this damaged lawn Nick and Googa are blamed to have caused. There's a lot of space there.
I also bike in the park, run in the park, walk my elderly grandma who's from Brooklyn (BK Heights) in the park. I even used to ice skate there and I sometimes feed the birds, but never the bums. I live for this damn park. I've even seen the mystery park-dwelling dog beast.

So there.
Oct. 4, 2013, 11:21 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
It's just like the "Atlantic Antic". I'm all for a fun time but there is a time and a place for everything as the old saying goes. Why does this have to take place on such a major thouroghfair? There are a number of other side streets that the "Atlantic Antic" can take place on that are close by. I should also add that the bike zealots are in the same boat as the drivers here. Too bad that they will never dare take my side.
Oct. 4, 2013, 12:23 pm
rolandsque from bath beach says:
Hey "diehipster" are you the ORIGINAL, or just a cheap knockoff? Don't get me wrong, I think you're an idiot, BUT you used to at least get me chuckling sometimes. There is so much more you could be pointing out about the effects of gentrification on our great borough, but you just keep hammering away at skinny jeans, beards, kale, and sustainability. Do you even live in Brooklyn?
Oct. 4, 2013, 12:37 pm
bkmanhatman from brokeland says:
Tal would prefer a 5 lane highway to cut across Prospect Park.
Oct. 4, 2013, 1:07 pm
ty from pps says:
Wow... you have a problem with the Atlantic Antic too?! Jesus, Tal. That one Sunday per year really ruins the world, eh? Imagine! Cars can't drive down the western end of Atlantic avenue for 18 hours out of 8,760 per year! Oh, the humanity!!

I can't even begin to imagine what you think of the NYC Marathon, the 5 Boro Bike Tour, the 5th Avenue Street Fair in Manhattan, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

(And I don't disagree with you about the stupid Oogah Moogah... I just think every comment you make is the rantings of a crazy person.)
Oct. 4, 2013, 1:29 pm
Not As Affluent White Guy from PPSW says:
Affluent White Guy from PPW - perhaps the reason you've "never seen this damaged lawn Nick and Googa are blamed to have caused" is because you live on PPW and have no reason to go over to the Nethermead (since you're right next to Longmeadow and/or the ballfields). For those of us who live on or near one of the three other sides of the park, the Nethermead is an important open space.
Oct. 4, 2013, 1:35 pm
SwampYankee from runined Brooklyn says:
What will the "Brooklyn based but not Brooklyn Born" Foodie bloggers foodie blog about? How will we keep Flickr and Instagram full off pictures of foodie-fare? How will the foodies continue to nasally honk about Kale Kale Kale? and good god we might have to listen to bands somebody actually heard of!
Oct. 4, 2013, 1:44 pm
ty from pps says:
Get over yourself, Swampy.
Oct. 4, 2013, 1:49 pm
SwampYankee from ruined Brooklyn says:
There you go again Ty. Absolutely nothing to contribute about the article at hand, just want to comment about the people with something to say about the article. What a little gossip sissy you are. BTW, your tampon string is showing again
Oct. 4, 2013, 4:15 pm
Jbob from Park Slope Mafia says:
I believe Googa Mooga is still available at the Coop
Oct. 4, 2013, 4:16 pm
Affluent White Guy from PPW says:
@Notasaffluantwhiteguy (I do like your name):

I had a picnic on the Nethermead this weekend with my kids, enroute to the zoo. Didn't see the damage, did see some milfy hotties sunbathing.

I do prefer the longmeadow, but I branch out.

More milfs please.
Oct. 4, 2013, 4:34 pm
Affluent White Guy from PPW says:
At the zoo I saw the fattest person I've ever seen, pushing a quad stroller with three fat daughters (triplets?). She was walking with two fat sons who were tweens. They were seriously totally round, looked like tweedle d and tweedle what's his name. I felt bad for them (not the mom, she should have been arrested). How does this happen? How do the kids ever expect to fit into skinny jeans? Good thing they were from BK so they won't even aspire to be hipsters.

This has nothing to do with the grass situation, but it was worth mentioning.
Oct. 4, 2013, 4:37 pm
SwampYankee from runined Brooklyn says:
BTW, for those of you that did not see that damage to the park from this hipster foodie-fest start here and then just googa mooga mooga damage prospect park:
Oct. 4, 2013, 4:53 pm
YoungOne from ThePark says:
Looks fine from where I'm currently standing RIGHT NOW. How do I post a picture? There is no lasting damage. What, you think the grass magically GREW back?! I doubt it was ruined in the first place (or by that kids event a week or so ago).
Oct. 4, 2013, 5:03 pm
SwampYankee from ruined Brooklyn says:
Yes, it's grown back now. Problem was the hipster foodie fest was in May. So large parts of the park had to be closed for most of the summer so the grass could grow back and the damage repaired. But who would want to use a park in the summer anyway? The beardos did their damage, ruined it for everybody else, and moved on to the next shiny thing.
Oct. 4, 2013, 5:32 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I hope that these bike zealouts/hipsters don't win. For those who don't like this position, you can always simply just not vote for anyone who is running for it, because nobody will be forcing you to do so, but don't come complaining if someone you don't like wins especially when you chose not to vote for anyone in that race to begin with.
Oct. 4, 2013, 6:17 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
So what did I miss after being so busy today with so many errands and almost sleeping in the day? I can see that the usual suspects if resorted to impersonations to make me look bad, which I happen to see through. Anyway, I am not fully against the Great Googa Mooga on being in Prospect Park, but I do want them to be more responsible for how they are using it. The same goes for any other major events using any parks. They should also be responsible for replanting the portions of the park that they ruined. Still, stop resorting to impersonations, which I find to be a real low.
Oct. 4, 2013, 6:38 pm
Mom from Clinton Hill says:
The libraries are up for sale now. Maybe they can hold Googa Mooga in one of them. And don't we have an arena or something in Brooklyn now? Comes with automatic crowd control.
Oct. 4, 2013, 7:45 pm
jay from nyc says:
why did they not just do this at the band shell? Would have prevented many problems.
Oct. 4, 2013, 11:27 pm
SwampYankee from runined Brooklyn says:
There is a ton of hipster foodie-fests around. They just go by different names. Many of these same vendors can be found on Governors Island, some Williamsburg festival or at the Brooklyn Flea each weekend. If you want the food it's not hard to find, if the you want an event where everybody can LOOK AT ME!!!! MOMMY PLEASE LOOK AT MEEEEE!!! i'M ZANY AND QUIRKY LOOK AT MEEEEEEE! Well, those are not hard to find either
Oct. 5, 2013, 6:42 am
Bkmanhatposeur from Brokelyn says:
It is utterly amazing how Tal will someone try to bring up his hatred bicycles in a subject about quality of life issues.
Next you know he will be advocating for the crotch rocket savages to be able to zoom down 5th avenue. Not 4th but 5th avenue & it's leisurely atmosphere that he so despises.
Swamp just want old school fearful racist-Balkanized Brooklyn back. He's another fool that wants Brooklyn to be a place you leave not a place to live & enjoy.
Oct. 5, 2013, 8:07 am
SwampYankee from runined Brooklyn says:
How the hell do you know what I want and what qualifies you to speak for me or anybody else? My concern is the the hipster foodie-fest tore up the park making unusable to others for the summer season. In this case I would be just as angry if the West Indian Day parade tore up the park making it unusable to others. But that didn't happen, did it? Even thought the biggest parade in NYC ended in the park it was completely undamaged and usable the next day. Greedy Googa Mooga destroyed the park with their hipster foodie fest.
Oct. 5, 2013, 9:30 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Bkmanhatposeur, I never actually brought up bicycle, some person using my name, who was probably you, did that. Anyway, I don't like the mess that the Great Googa Mooga leaves over, and the should be responsible and leave that portion of the park the way they founded rather than as a mess. If they can't do this, then they shouldn't be allowed there anymore. The parks department is NOT their butlers, and they shouldn't be treated as such.
Oct. 5, 2013, 4:09 pm
OtherTed from Park Loper says:
Bkmanhatposeur is right about a lot of this. Seems like the beardie-haters want BK to go back to the wasteland it was for a bit, forgetting it was affluent to begin with.

They want to live in a neighborhood of fear and muggings and blue collars and speeding cars.

Move to Bay Ridge. Leave the park to those of us who can actually appreciate it.
Oct. 7, 2013, 2:07 pm
SwampYankee from runined Brooklyn says:
Brooklyn was never, ever a wasteland. If you were Brooklyn Born instead of Brooklyn based you would know that. Don't know where you live but Brownstone Brooklyn was never like you are describing. you just have no idea what you are talking about. Do you think you invented Brooklyn? It was a pretty nice place before you got here so stop destroying our park.
Oct. 7, 2013, 8:30 pm

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