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Some Prospect Park-goers fear second coming of Great GoogaMooga

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Angry Prospect Park-goers fear the second coming of a giant music and food fest in Brooklyn’s backyard will leave the green space worse for wear — just like they say it did last year.

Park activsts claim that the Great Googa Mooga, which will return to Prospect Park for its second run on May 17, damaged the park’s Nethermead field, which was scattered with large dirt patches and full of tire-track depressions from the tractor trailers brought in to load and unload equipment. Neighbors claim that the greenspace still shows signs of the destruction wreaked by the 40,000 lovers of food and music, such as bare swatches of dirt

“There is very clear, evident damage to the Nethermead,” said Prospect-Lefferts Gardens resident Seth Kaplan, who attended last year’s inaugural GoogaMooga. “My concerns are that the damage from last year hasn’t been fixed and here is the festival coming back again.”

Superfly Productions, the events organizer, has expanded this year’s extravaganza into a three-day festival with food stands for 85 restaurants and musical performances from 20 bands, such as the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, and Matt and Kim. The festival will be held from May 17 to May 19 and is expected to bring an estimated 90,000 patrons. Tickets are still available for Friday at $54.50. Saturday and Sunday are sold out.

“It’s going to be a disaster,” said Josh Carr, a lifelong Windsor Terrace resident. “It’s not a sustainable event to have in the park especially if they are not going to put the park back to its natural condition afterwards.”

Prospect Park Alliance spokesman Paul Nelson admits that the greenspace did suffer damage after last year’s GoogaMooga. But, he said it was repaired and paid for by Superfly. He said that the truck-damaged grass was reseeded and that the Wellhouse Drive, a pathway leading to the Nethermead that suffered cracks and ruts as a result of the event, was recently repaved.

“Superfly has shown to be very responsible taking care of the Nethermead,” said Nelson. “Some damage did occur during load-out, but was taken care of within a few weeks.”

GoogaMooga was brought in as a way for the Prospect Park to generate funds to help pay for operations, maintenance and free programming, according to officials. The Alliance will make at least $75,000 off of this year’s festival.

“We are testing the idea that an event like GoogaMooga can be developed in a way that will provide additional support for the care of the park, to the benefit of all park users,” the Alliance wrote on its website. “Part of the learning is to see if GoogaMooga can provide activities of broad interest and contribute resources for the park without causing long-term damage to the Nethermead or excessively disrupting other activities.”

The website also states that the Alliance will document before and after conditions “more extensively than last year to assure that conditions end up back where they started.”

Still, neighbors say the damages have yet to be fixed. And they worry about the many trucks and tractor-trailers moving in and out of the greenspace in the days before and after the enormous event. Superfly co-founder Rick Farman is confident that if the park faces any wear and tear from this year’s event it will be restored.

“We’re fully committed to leaving the park as we receive it,” said Farman. “We want to have as little impact on the community as possible and be a positive force for both the community and the park.”

Farman also promised that this years Great GoogaMooga will be a better experience than last year’s blowout which saw shortages of grub and booze, and extremely long lines. Organizers even gave full refunds to “VIP” ticket holders who shelled out $250 for the exclusive pass, which actually wasn’t so exclusive.

Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at nmusumeci@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at twitter.com/souleddout.
Updated 10:10 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Kevin Beers from Park Slope says:
Yo say that Mr Kaplan and others "claim" that there is still unrestored damage from last year's event. ALl you have to do is go to the Nethermead and you will see the dirt patches where the grass has not grown back. There are numerous spots and they corresppond with where the food stands were set up. It is disingenuous for the park officials and event organizers to pretend it isn't true. Go look for yourself. While the Alliance claims on it's website that the "GoogaMooga can provide activities of broad interest and contribute resources for the park without causing long-term damage to the Nethermead or excessively disrupting other activities” the evidence of last year's event prove otherwise.
May 9, 2013, 3:09 am
Carla from Brooklyn says:
The park only gets... $75,000 for this event????

omg omg omg
May 9, 2013, 3:13 am
diehipster from Beheading Brices says:
Oh no!!! Oh no!!! I really hope this event will happen because lets face it - there is NO OTHER TIME OR PLACE in Nieuw Breuckelen that the transplanted, sheepish, nasally, creatively-awesome, pseudo intellectual crowd can eat organic tacos and grass fed meatballs and drink "hand crafted" ales. I repeat - THIS IS THEIR ONLY CHANCE!

Let under-privileged Team Ohio have their fun!
May 9, 2013, 6:14 am
F.F from PLG says:
The other problem is that large sections of the park are not open to even walk through. All side roads and back trails are closed making it impossible to get around the event. The damage to the park was offal, the trash and crowds in surrounding PLG was hellish. I do not support this event and am extremely disappointed this event is returning again. Three days...no!! Two was plenty
May 9, 2013, 6:18 am
F.F from PLG says:
The other problem is that large sections of the park are not open to even walk through. All side roads and back trails are closed making it impossible to get around the event. The damage to the park was offal, the trash and crowds in surrounding PLG was hellish. I do not support this event and am extremely disappointed this event is returning again. Three days...no!! Two was plenty
May 9, 2013, 6:18 am
scott from park slope says:
$75K does not sound like much when they're grossing >$20mil. can't the park get a better deal?

there aren't that many weekends in the summer, and fewer with good weather. so losing the park for one of them so an event organizer can use a public good to rake in $20mil. is an imposition, to say the least.

as an aside, The Hipster Woman (German translation: die hipster), don't you have needlepoint to get back to? stop annoying the good people of Brooklyn with your PMS-fueled rants.
May 9, 2013, 8:54 am
Me from Bay Ridge says:
Scott from Park Slope. Are you the same person who put a comment on the Brooklyn Courier just before Sandy struck pooh-poohing the warnings being given by the city government and saying it was an event of "histrionic proportions?' I swear your ID rings a bell.
May 9, 2013, 9:12 am
Really? from Cobble Hill says:
Lets cut the hyperbole and misinformation.

$20MM? how do you figure? Not even close. Lets just be even and say 90K bought tickets (even though only friday night and VIP are the only paid entries). 90,000 x $55 = $4.95MM in ticket revenue. Not sure how vendor revenue is split but I doubt the park gets much if any of that.

Also I was in nethermead 2 weeks ago and looked for Googa damage and it was hardly visible, if at all. The dirt patches were caused by all the pickup soccer games and have been there for years. There was some slightly thinning grass left where some of the vendors were but I imagine that is mostly lush now that grass is no longer dormant from the winter.
May 9, 2013, 9:51 am
Seth Kaplan from Prospect Lefferts Gardens says:
I was quoted and photographed for the article. I had heard rumors that the park does not substantially profit from these events but when I read the $75K figure I felt heartbroken. The Alliance is easily losing that much money in private donations from the sizable number of patrons who are extremely dissatisfied with the current direction and leadership of Prospect Park.

The Great GoogaMooga doesn't just disrupt the park for three days -- the load-in and load-out from the event interferes with access to the park for almost two weeks. And the damage is long lasting.

Much of the response from the park and Superfly makes little sense if you know anything about horticulture. The impact from the huge numbers of people and equipment cannot be taken care of "within a few weeks" as stated by park spokesperson Paul Nelson. In comparison when the Brooklyn Botanic Garden next door has major programs such as its Cherry Blossom Festival its lawns undergo intensive repair which takes months of careful restoration.

There is simply no way to address the impact from an event like GoogaMooga in such a short time frame and this is why the Nethermead is in the worst condition I have seen it. The treed area near the music pagoda was particularly hard hit and is now mostly mud. While I can understand if Superfly does not know much about the maintenance of a large urban park, the Alliance has no such excuse.

Regrettably, the park's only response appears to be that, sure, the Nethermead is in poor condition but that's not the fault of a large corporate promoter and by the way, we're selling out the park to them again for a very small sum. And also sorry if we can't really afford to properly care for the park anymore but we're broke?

Anyway seeing a problem with this?

The Alliance could easily raise more than $75,000 by promising contributors to never rent out large parcels of the park again and to immediately reverse the trend of privatizing the park for the benefit of corporate interests.
May 9, 2013, 10:08 am
"Interloper" from Kent Ave says:
Great event but don't bother with the VIP tickets. Lines take way too long for any sort of food / booze. Best bet is to sneak in your own food and booze and enjoy the music / people watching.
May 9, 2013, 11:16 am
Josh Carr from Windsor Terrace says:
I was quoted in the article too, and when I was interviewed I also mentioned how GoogaMooga staff had cut off access to most of the park's walks during the festival as well. So you can't even get around the festival. So for someone like me who walks in the park every day. GoogaMooga has effectively barred me from most of the walking paths even though they were no where near the entrances to the Nethermead.
May 9, 2013, 11:20 am
Chicken Underwear from Park Slope says:
Hey Park Slope Paper

How about you take a lot of before pictures of the grass so the after can be documented.?
May 9, 2013, 11:41 am
JAZ from Hunting Redbeards says:
It doesn't matter if regular park patrons get interfered with, or if the park gets damaged; Cruelty Free Caleb, Bushwick Based Zak, and the rest of the transplanted garbage pail kidults must get priority to prance around and discuss fish tacos.
May 9, 2013, 11:43 am
Gypsie from from Romania says:
There were 13 comments on this story... not lucky. There are now 14. You're welcome
May 9, 2013, 12:42 pm
Not Goish from Prospect Heights says:
The Great Douche-A-Mooga isn't right for Prospect Park. This is a Williamsburg-type operation which should be held in McCarren Park or a ironic, locally sourced vacant lot nearby that post-event will be host to an organic chicken-and-waffles farm.
May 9, 2013, 12:45 pm
Pat from Ps says:
You people are such idiotic trolls.

Nothing you say will change the fact that the event IS happening. I live in Park Slope, will be attending as I did last year with my friends (who also live in Park Slope) and we will enjoy some good food and music.

GET A LIFE!

Do you have nothing better to do than complain about a terrific event that will be enjoyed by thousands on a couple days out of the year? You're like those gross old busy bodies who live near Central Park and complain about the Macy's Parade. Nothing you say is going to change the fact that this benefits many and your complaints are all selfish. Go hang out in Ft. Greene park for a day if you're so upset about it. Good grief, you're lucky to have the park right there for the other 362 days a year, 80% of the city has no park near them. How about you complain about something real instead of about a festival or a bike lane or whatever nonsense you busy bodies like to complain about. Jesus Christ, you all are a bunch of entitled selfish whiners.
May 9, 2013, 12:51 pm
Ed from Prospect Heights says:
What Pat says.

I find the anti-Googa trolls to be just that. Trolls. They think Prospect Park is their own personal backyard. It's not. Most people I know are in favor of this (even if they don't go) and it's the loud but very vocal minority (same story with the PPW bike lane) that gives this area a bad name as a place filled with selfish yuppie scum. I see it on here daily and the comments above (minus Pat) show it in all its glory.
No this event doesn't belong in Williamsburg, it belongs here. Just like Celebrate Brooklyn and the Bandshell concerts belong here. Prospect Park is spacious enough to accommodate all. This isn't about YOU.
May 9, 2013, 1 pm
Janey from Park Slope says:
The event was a mess last year. Expensive, disorganized, long waits, and ran out of beer for a couple hours. PP is big enough for an event of this size, but it should benefit the park more. These "Alliances" all makes deals that give it away too cheaply to promoters that are making major cash. Doesn't seem to make any improvements to parks in the end. Overall, I would rather it be just a park than a suburban style yuppy-fest of mediocre food and drink.
May 9, 2013, 4:27 pm
Prospectperk from bunchofcomplainers says:
And I'd rather you not bring your grill in there and 50 guests for little Zac's bday party, but ——e happens. Get over it Janey. Last year, the Saturday was disorganized and the Sunday was a blast.

If you don't think Prospect Park has greatly improved in the last 20 years, you are CLUELESS! You should have seen what a dump this park was in the 70's and 80's.

More Park Slope whining and entitlement. CHECK!

Have you seen the brand new lakeside restoration? How about the new ice skating rink under construction? You don't know what you're talking about JANEY! This park gets more beautiful EVERY SINGLE YEAR!
May 9, 2013, 4:55 pm
Prospectperk from bunchofcomplainers says:
And I'd rather you not bring your grill in there and 50 guests for little Zac's bday party, but ——e happens. Get over it Janey. Last year, the Saturday was disorganized and the Sunday was a blast.

If you don't think Prospect Park has greatly improved in the last 20 years, you are CLUELESS! You should have seen what a dump this park was in the 70's and 80's.

More Park Slope whining and entitlement. CHECK!

Have you seen the brand new lakeside restoration? How about the new ice skating rink under construction? You don't know what you're talking about JANEY! This park gets more beautiful EVERY SINGLE YEAR!
May 9, 2013, 4:55 pm
jay from nyc says:
First, googoammooga 1, total failure, lost money damaged park, and damage is STILL visible, (as of today, I go by it everyday) trash from the event left for months afterwards, nasty grease stains that stunk, closed off cross park access to everyone else, the load in and out and event was for weeks, spill over in to surrounding neighborhood causing problems with noise public urination and trash as well, which NEVER got picked up by googa mooga.
So the question is, to you pro googoo moogos, why, if something is a failure, should such a failure be allowed to be repeated, and at public expense no less?
Second, Prospectperk from bunchofcomplainers,
which part of lakeside restoration are you talking about? The trash that lines the banks? The crumbling stone walls along the bank? The algae bloom? The electric boat that no longer runs? As for the skating rink its been "under construction" for over three years now, how in the hell can you cite that as some great sign of progress?
Fourth If as one poster suggested, the revenue is 4.9 million and the park is getting only 75K that is not even 10%. For those of you math challenged people, ten percent would be just under $500,000.
10% is a bare bare MINIMUM standard for such usage and this is way under that, to me, this is a total violation of the fiduciary duty of those running the park and making the deal, and that alone means people involved should be getting investigated or fired.
Even if you are pro-goga-moga, this number alone should make you say what the hell are they doing here.
May 9, 2013, 5:49 pm
mc from 11211 says:
Jay is correct. Fans do not want to know this, because the only time they ever use our Parks is for this type of paid, private programming. They can not enjoy a park without it having a consumable raison d'être.
May 9, 2013, 7:54 pm
Mom from Clinton Hill says:
A park is an area of open space provided for recreational use. It can be in its natural or semi-natural state, or planted, and is set aside for human enjoyment or for the protection of wildlife or natural habitats. It may consist of rocks, soil, water, flora and fauna and grass areas, but may also contain buildings and other artefacts such as play grounds. Many natural parks are protected by law.

or better yet: A park is an area of open space provided for recreational use, usually owned and maintained by a local government. Parks commonly resemble savannas or open woodlands, the types of landscape that human beings find most relaxing.[citation needed] Grass is typically kept short to discourage insect pests and to allow for the enjoyment of picnics and sporting activities. Trees are chosen for their beauty and to provide shade.

What is a Googamooga? the name says it all.
May 9, 2013, 8:51 pm
PLG fan from guess where says:
Why not have the GGM in the Long Meadow? We'll see how much Park Slope likes that.
Let's face it, GGM is on the poor side of the park.
May 10, 2013, 1:42 pm
Witness from BK says:
I saw all of the damage and garbage last year. It was absurd. I think alternating between the Long Meadow and Nethermead is a better idea.

$75,000? Also absurd!
May 10, 2013, 3:27 pm
Josh Carr from Windsor Terrace says:
The poor side of the park? I think that's rather relative. And why do I feel like the word 'poor' means something else?
May 10, 2013, 5:02 pm
Barry from Flatbush says:
Can't Bloomberg drop $75k in "tip money" to the Alliance and save us and the park from this idiocy?
May 10, 2013, 5:17 pm
jay from nyc says:
PLG, people don't like it on the "poor" side of the park either, people object to it being in the park at all, but nice try at playing a race card.
May 10, 2013, 5:40 pm
jay from nyc says:
PLG, people don't like it on the "poor" side of the park either, people object to it being in the park at all, but nice try at playing a race card.
May 10, 2013, 5:40 pm
jay from nyc says:
PLG, people don't like it on the "poor" side of the park either, people object to it being in the park at all, but nice try at playing a race card.
May 10, 2013, 5:40 pm
jay from nyc says:
and one other thing its not actually on the "poor" side of the park, its in the middle, the "poor" side is on the other side of the lake
May 10, 2013, 7:47 pm
johnnyboy from windsor terrace says:
Lets not forget three days of over the top sound being pumped into the Windsor Terrace Community .

put this crap in Coney where it belongs.
May 11, 2013, 11:33 am
yeah yeah yeah from plg says:
Why has nobody mentioned a compromise? Music and food are wonderful cultural pursuits to bring the community. I'm sure we can work towards a plan that benefits everyone and maintains green standards. I'm going to Googamooga and I love the park. We should call for preventive measures before the trucks start rolling in. I'm sure something can be laid down to protect the grass underneath. Whining has never created change - and last time I checked "hipsters" aren't the only stereotype of people to enjoy good food and good music and the "poor side" of the park is filled with brownstones settled by doctors and lawyers and people who are far from poor or uneducated. This blame game is frivolous. Let's try action instead.
May 13, 2013, 5:03 pm
Witness from BK says:
Yeah Yeah Yeah from PLG-

I agree with you that comprise usually most effective in these situations.

Last year after witnessing the disastrous set up, event, and clean up (?), I suggested the same thing in a written letter to the Alliance. Someone on our neighborhood listserv suggested writing them in a campaign of sorts, as they are our "voice" when it comes to protecting the Park. I assumed community meetings might come from these letters. However, I merely got a polite response basically stating if these large events happen in the future they would try to do better. I never heard of any formal gatherings re: coming to comprise with the community on the matter.

I have little faith that they will make enough of an improvement given what I have seen already, but I do hope this year is more successful. If not, will no longer support be able to support
the Alliance with my membership.
May 15, 2013, 8:03 am
Bob from Park Slope says:
And we hear from outraged park goers that Googa Mooga work carts have been using the Lullwater paths as a race course. This is against everything that Prospect Park Alliance used to stand for. In the name of $$'s, we're well on our way to paving paradise and putting up a parking lot.

I guess that's already in the planning stage when they pave over Breeze Hill for the skating Rink parking lot.
May 15, 2013, 2:47 pm
kevinizon from williamsburg says:
Oddly enough, another commenter's idea of putting googamooga in williamsburg is a good one. McCarren park is an awful, downtrodden scrub patch of a park, and the area is always receptive to ridiculously overpriced everythingness.

Trampling down an already hideous park is better than wrecking Prospect Park.
May 18, 2013, 9:09 am

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