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Slimed! P’Park lovers say Nickelodeon kid fest has no place in Brooklyn’s backyard

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An upcoming Nickelodeon festival that is going to pack Prospect Park with screaming children will be the latest in a long line of big-ticket events to trash Brooklyn’s backyard, claim park preservationists who refuse to give the kids’ network a pass.

The cable channel’s Worldwide Day of Play event, which will descend on the Nethermead field on Saturday, may seem like a perfect fit for parenting mecca Park Slope, but some grass-huggers claim that the festival’s 35,000 excited adolescents will be a turf-destroying nightmare on par with the Great GoogaMooga and Tropfest, big-time extravaganzas that they say have taxed the Nethermead enough already.

“It is clearly evident that the Nethermead is being over utilized,” said Prospect Lefferts Gardens resident Seth Kaplan, pointing out that some parts of the park were fenced off for nearly the entire summer because of damages caused by GoogaMooga, which took over the beloved field for two days in May.

“There are still large brown patches from where grass has died,” he said.

The Day of Play is free and will feature an array of kid-friendly activities including, sports, dance, double Dutch, and performances by pop band Big Time Rush and teenybopper star Ariana Grande, who also appeared at the MTV Video Music Awards at the Barclays Center last month, but park stalwarts say the blow-out is a symbol of corporate excess that has no place in Frederick Law Olmsted’s public playground.

“It certainly dismays me as Prospect Park is a public park,” said Noel Hefele of Prospect Lefferts Gardens, who visits the green space nearly every day.

“It is upsetting to see the privatization of our public parks,” he added.

As of Tuesday, much of the Nethermead was fenced off and park officials were unswayed by the outcry, saying that Nickelodeon is providing a service to the community.

“The park has always been a place for free public events and this is another free event that is specifically focused on children and their families,” said Eric Landau, spokesman for the Prospect Park Alliance, which manages the park.

Park watchdogs who fear that the floodgates are opening for even more massive events disagree, saying that any party with barricades and ticket takers is not for them.

“An event which closes off a large section of the park with chain-link fences for a week is not a free and public event under any definition,” Kaplan said.

The Nickelodeon event marks the third time that the Nethermead has been completely closed off for multiple days leading up to a restricted event,following two years of GoogaMooga. Tropfest, which park advocates also feared would leave the meadow in ruins, was not fenced off when it took over the field in June.

Big events like these generate funds to help pay for park maintenance and free programming, according to officials. The Alliance made $75,000 on a rental fee from GoogaMooga and will receive a yet-to-be finalized fee from the Nickelodeon event, officials said.

If the kid-friendly festival does mess up the park, Nickelodeon is required by contract to pony up whatever money it costs to fix it, just as GoogaMooga organizers paid to repair the damages that it caused, Landau said.

Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at nmusumeci@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at twitter.com/souleddout.
Updated 11:44 am, September 19, 2013
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Reasonable discourse

Peter from Park Slope says:
"As yet undecided fee"... Hmmmm...
Sept. 19, 2013, 10:17 am
Chicken Underwear from Park Slope says:
and their security guards sit at the entrance to Center Drive and smoke cigarettes.
Sept. 19, 2013, 2:57 pm
Scott from PLG says:
Can we move these kind of events to Lakeside when construction is finished? At least there are big paved areas there.
Sept. 19, 2013, 4:16 pm
jay from nyc says:
yes and smoking in the park is not legal, so that is something. I don't understand how it can be argued that a closed fenced event is free and open. I guess the PPA is gong to do what ever it feels like until someone decides to sue and seek an injunction, they clearly don't seem to care about how it affects the park, or that people are not happy about this kind of thing. People can complain, but it seems the horse is already out of the barn and complaining is not going to do any good.
Sept. 19, 2013, 6:35 pm
Brookboy from Park Slope says:
My wife and I have lived on Prospect Park West and Fifth Street since 1987, and we have contributed about $500 annually to the park since we moved here. We have profound love and respect for the park and have thoroughly enjoyed living across the street from the park all these years. Lucky us.

Living across the street from Prospect Park is not always unalloyed joy. Summer weekends bring massive double-parking and litter everywhere. You can't find a hydrant that doesn't have a car in front of it on hot weekend days, and a lot of those cars have city permits that state the car is there on official business (ho, ho).

People barbecue in areas that where barbecuing is not permitted, and very large groups come early, double park on the park side of Prospect Park West, and take hours to unload all their gear for their barbecues. Horns honk and traffic backs up.

During the week, dozens of school buses descend on Prospect Park West to bring the young kids to the park, and many of them stay double-parked until the kids return. The drivers stand around and smoke cigarettes, and litter the sidewalks.

But we know the park is also a much-needed respite for many families of limited means, so we accept with good cheer the downs as well as the ups. We know that this is part of choosing to live in the city and having all the pleasures of such a wonderful place as Prospect Park. Nothing is without a price.

We love the park in all its guises and consider it our duty to contribute when and what we can to its upkeep and well-being. That's why we gave our $500 a year for so many years.

However, when the PPA decided to allow the Great Googa Mooga, we decided that we would no longer make our annual contribution. Our decision is reinforced by this latest decision to limit the park to the public in order to cater to commercial interests.

Fencing off areas of the park for some days because of a corporate event is offensive enough. What's even worse is not having those areas available afterward for long periods of time because of the inevitable damage.

Mr. Landau, I'm offended by your attempt to depict a blatantly commercial enterprise as some sort of public-spirited community event. My wife and I view the intrusion of commercial interests into the park as a betrayal of the public trust. For shame, sir.
Sept. 19, 2013, 8 pm
arther from slope says:
While this event may be free, it requires a ticket for entry -- and tickets are very hard to come by.

Nickelodeon's web site has for the last week had a posting saying no tickets are available.

So this is an exclusionary event. It's not open to the general public.
Sept. 20, 2013, 7:53 am
Seth Kaplan from Prospect Lefferts Gardens says:
I was quoted in the article and want to add that this is the second major event to be relocated from another city park to the Prospect Park Nethermead. First it was Tropfest from Bryant Park and now it is the Worldwide Day of Play from Riverside Park.

Alliance officials says they are listening to the public's concerns as they simultaneously move more and more large scale events to the very same location. It is disingenuous.
Sept. 20, 2013, 9:11 am
William from WT says:
Arther: if you sign up on the web site to get updates for when tickets are released, you are given a full days notice to prepare to get some. There have been two scheduled releases this week alone.
Sept. 20, 2013, 9:11 am
Slope resident from Park Slope says:
I don't donate money to the PPA any more for the same reason others have stated before. I want my money to go to ensuring a free and open park for all people, regardless of means or access to online tickets.

Please stop donating to the park until they vow to end this senseless commercialization of public space and the inevitable physical damage that comes with it.
Sept. 20, 2013, 11:31 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Hearing that it's going to be exclusive when it's free does remind me of that concert over at the Sheep Meadow in Central Park during MLB All-Star Weekend that I went a few months ago. For that, I also needed a ticket to go there despite the fact that it was free or they wouldn't let you in. Me and my brother could only get in at 72nd Street and CPW, but the line went back for almost five blocks south, not to mention having to take a route they made that felt as if it was taking forever to get there, plus chairs weren't provided nor was anyone allowed to bring any, so I had to sit or lay down on the grass for a good part of show. As for the Nickelodeon World Wide Day of Play, if it's supposed to be for free, then it should always be open to the public rather than telling to get tickets. Overall, I find it wrong for those associated with parks to close off a certain amount of space just for those events as if the sponsors claim that it will bother them.
Sept. 20, 2013, 2:52 pm
Outland from Brooklyn says:
The sound checks from the last two days have been extremely loud.
Sept. 20, 2013, 3:11 pm
Philip from Park Sllope says:
This is disgraceful. I think it is time to for the leadership at PPA to be replaced and that will only happen by withdrawing individual support. We contribute $1000 annually in smaller donations and, after discussing it with other friends that also support the park, we have collectively decided to en our support until there is a change in leadership. We believe they are grossly out of step with the local communities surrounding the park.
Sept. 20, 2013, 5:15 pm
Reeve place resident from Windsor terrace says:
Very few of the families in Windsor terrace were able to get tickets.
This event is a joke. Googa Mooga is one thing but denying entry to children is a crime.
Any child should be allowed to enter at any time or don't ruin or park.
Sept. 20, 2013, 10:38 pm
greedles from PLG says:
Shouldn't they make it a policy to contain these types of events to a smaller scale and use the bandshell.....
Sept. 21, 2013, 8:02 am
ProfC from Windsor Terrace says:
We donate to PPA but are going to stop, because of two Googa Moogas, Singapore Day last year, TropFest, and now this. The event today was way more than the usual weekend hassle--traffic, noise, litter (we live across from the park), and screeching. Plus all the setup meant we couldn't take our dog to the Nethermead for days beforehand and probably afterwards also. I too am sick of the idling trucks in the park, the smoking guards and setup people, the double parking, and the destroyed grassy areas left for those who didn't score a ticket to the events. And why don't they do these events up where the rich folks live, on PPW? Why is it ALWAYS our Nethermead?
Sept. 21, 2013, 3:59 pm
Burp from brooklyn says:
People you live in brooklyn not long island. If you want piece and quite then move to long island.. jersey or florida where you can catch a tan and wait to die. Simple
Sept. 22, 2013, 7:34 pm
Burp from brooklyn says:
*peace .... I know some jerk is going to go in on me..lol
Sept. 22, 2013, 7:35 pm
John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
Hi Burp. John Wasserman. Since you are so eager to spell things correctly, you might as well switch "quite" with "quiet". Pardon my pointing this out for you. Also, and forgive me if I'm wrong, but men don't use "lol" (assuming you are male).
Sept. 23, 2013, 12:08 pm
Barb from Prospect Heights says:
Brookboy from Park Slope, don't blame the messenger. Spokespeople say what they're told to say. The fault starts at the top, not the bottom.
Sept. 23, 2013, 10:07 pm
Jimmy from Park Slope says:
I live on PPW.
I'm happy they had this event.
I saw a lot of happy kids.
It was open to the public, yes free tickets sold out, that does not make it not open, just the public had to be quick. Not everyone gets to play.
To my ppw neighbor with the long post, I assume your problem with fire hydrant parking on hot days was something about not being able to illegally open it to cool off? wtf?
To the person who said WT people could not get a ticket... good. Keep them outta the park.

I do agree there are too many bbqs. And really I don't have a problem with those, per say, but the trash (from either the other side of the park, or away from the park, but not from park slope) that bring radios and blast music. You know who they are. And overload their "area" with tables and chairs. Wanna be in the park, listen to nature, and sit on the grass or bring a blanket. We don't need your blasting music ruining our park.
Sept. 24, 2013, 10:52 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
To quote Confucius, "Respect is something one must, not demand." In other words, you bike zealots just didn't win my respect especially with the attitude so many of you tend to display. If you really want the rules to change then start complying to them no matter how pointless or absurd they happen to be. Then and only then can they be changed. Right now, you guys are in no position to act that way, or your support won't be good among those that could be on the fence. I do tend to see websites such as Streetsblog like the Electronic Intifada especially when they don't listen to reason have numerous members there making personal attacks at anyone who doesn't side with them. I have heard on good account that the whole thing is a set up from those undebunkables over at streetsblog, mainly to discredit law abiding and tax paying motorists. For the record, I have tried to give cyclists the benefit of the doubt, but their actions tend to make me feel otherwise. The only reason why there may not be a lot of pedestrians hit by bicycles is because many of them either go unreported or the cyclist got away before anyone came to the scene. Nobody hates cyclists as a whole, just the way some tend to act.
As I mentioned in an earlier thread, attack the issue not the person taking a legitamate perspective. Going back to my points about philosophy, peple that don't seem to like those such as myself who can disproove their statements with actual facts where they are just throwing talking points that I can easily refute. These are people who believe that it's the weapon that makes them stronger when in fact that isn't always true. Eventually, they will come to a point where even their own weapons can't save them. The truth is that it's not the weapons that makes the person stronger, it's the one who uses them. An example of someone who had to learn it the hard way was King Phillip II, who was the king of Spain, when having the Spanish Armada against England's Queen Elizabeth I in 1588. Before then, Spain was said to have the most powerfull navy at the time especially when they have sailed to numerous corners of the globe in conquering lands. Many of thought that trying to fight the armada was asking for a tombstone b/c of how powerfull they were. However, the fleet was not prepared for the English Channel, and their ships were too big for a body of water with such a low depth for them. Although the English fleet had smaller ships, it was easier to get by and with the cannon, they didn't even have to board the enemy fleet but just fire from their own. Some of those who helped fight for England in that battle included explorers such as Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Franciss Drake managing the fleets. As Elizabeth walked out on the cliffs of Dover, she saw the armada on fire in the humiliating defeat on Spain. It showed that even the greatest had their demise. How it relates to my point is that some just can't seem to take it when someone can find a way to poke holes in their statements by finding facts and other stats that disproove theirs' when they don't even come up with anything to back them except for repititions. Also, the reference of the Spanish Armada is to show that even the greatest can just be human at sometimes in that nobody is invincible and there will always be a clink somewhere in that armor. On a side note, joggers are to bikers as bikers are to motorists, but at least joggers don't kill people when they bash into you like bikers do. Don't blame me b/c I am stating the facts with cold cartesian logic, as befitting a nerdy leftist.
Sept. 24, 2013, 12:16 pm

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