By Bill Parry
The city Parks Department Monday denied applications from three entertainment giants hoping to use Flushing Meadows Corona Park for music festivals this summer after opposition from Borough President Melinda Katz. Madison Square Garden, AEG Live and Founders Entertainment were seeking to close off large portions of the park in order to stage for-profit, multi-day events, but were denied permits for the second year in a row.
“Without a fair policy in place, I remain opposed to any applications from for-profit organizations to run paid-admission events in Flushing Meadows Corona Park,” Katz said last week. “The absence of a revised policy, including a set selection criteria and process approved by the community, renders the process arbitrary and unfair. Cutting off public access to our treasured parks flies in the face of the very principle behind our parks, which is space designated for public access and equity.”
Parks had no further comment and AEG Live could not be reached, but Tom Russell, co-founder and partner of Founders Entertainment, understood Katz’s opposition.
“We support the borough president’s comments on the need for a fair and open process,” he said. “We only want to do events in the park if they are welcome by the community and support the local Queens culture. Our Meadows Festival embodies that community spirit and we couldn’t be more excited to bring the event back to Citifield this fall.”
The Madison Square Garden Company issued a conciliatory statement as well.
“We continue to think that Flushing Meadows would be a great place to hold a world-class music festival and that we are the right company to ensure it would be a success, and we look forwards to working with all appropriate parties to make this opportunity a reality.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr