musicians and artists who take donations. The rules prohibit vending within 50 feet of a monument (includes the fountain) or 5 feet from a park bench, effectively making the park off-limits to performers. The impact of this is huge. Attorneys Norman Siegel (formerly of the ACLU) and Ron Kuby were on hand and poised for litigation.
The issue is of great personal interest to me as well as others, but I am not much for politics and political process. As a small business owner, I am accustomed to speedy decisions and implementation. We can turn on a dime if necessary and change course rapidly, addressing competition, changing markets and customer needs, streamlining business procedures, and a myriad of other functions. The prospect of decision by committee with long-time horizons for implementing change is anathema to the small business owner.
But political process is a necessary evil for a democracy with liberty as a cornerstone, and I respect that. However, I also do not relish an evening in a public forum, even on a relevant issue, listening to a large number of community residents making their cases one after another, essentially to be heard by those in agreement. Only if the collective voice becomes large enough, like the Vietnam War protests, and/or legal action or the threat thereof, will the powers that be take notice. Even the Parks Department representative left the meeting early, which I found quite sad.
A friend suggested that I speak since my entire business life has been supplying performers, many of whom work the parks of New York City. However, everyone in the room was in accord - I saw no change being effected by speaking to the choir, so I slipped out.
The meeting was in NYU's Kimmel Center, a newly built student center perfectly situated on the south side of Washington Square Park. I had never been in the student center even once - admittance typically requires a student ID, but not for a public hearing. So as I left the meeting room on the 8th floor, it occurred to me that I was now IN and not being chaperoned or policed. This was a rare privilege and opportunity to scout out spectacular vantage points for some photography.
The front of the Kimmel Center provides spaces for study, with windows directly overlooking Washington Square Park and facing north towards the fountain area, the arch, the Christmas tree centered below it, and Fifth Avenue running all the way up to the Empire State Building, appropriately lit in green and red, befitting the holiday season. Stairwells were accessible and are glassed, also providing views in a darkened environment.
I was happy to have left the meeting. I was thoroughly enjoying my exploration - lemonade made from the lemons of political process. As you can see by today's photos, if you are lucky, Kimmel is the place to go when you seek a Room With A View :)
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