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Friday, September 7, 2012
The Madness of Oval "Events"
Many people who live in Stuyvesant Town work during the week. Not as many as used to, because we now have a very significant student and senior population, but the Monday through Friday workers still exist as tenants, and one would think in sizable numbers. If Stuyvesant Town offers anything particularly special to these residents, it's a chance to relax and unwind in the relative peace and quiet of the Oval on Saturday and Sunday. Many times, I see residents of ALL ages taking advantage of good weather and the Oval, sitting around reading, having conversations, playing with their kids, tending their newborn, contemplating nature or their own thoughts, or picnicking or sunbathing on the Oval Lawn.
And yet the Powers That Be consistently feel that something MUST BE HAPPENING in the Oval or else it's all a failure. They have even used "something is always happening" as a PR mantra, oblivious to the fact that for many residents this "happening" intrudes upon residents' own weekend in Stuy Town. Furthermore, residents are smart enough (well, most of them) to make their lives as "happening" as they desire, without the Powers That Be dictating what that activity will be and forcing its effects upon the entire Oval area.
Most of these events, from a crowd gathering point of view, are embarrassing failures, made more painful by the amount of money spent on them. It's a good day for the Powers That Be if a couple of hundred people show up of the thousands upon thousands that live here. Sometimes, barely a hundred or so residents and their guests turn up. Not a good ratio.
Why do it?
For two main reasons, I think:
1) Events are a selling point in advertising and the future sale of this property. Despite the reality that the overwhelming number of residents here do not attend these events and that many residents who live around the Oval loathe them because of the disruptive noise that flows into their apartments, the Powers That Be will stubbornly keep on churning out these events because they fear that in not making Stuy Town a place where "something is always happening" interest in Stuy Town will lessen, as will the value of Stuy Town as an asset.
2) It keeps employed the people who craft and work on these events, so it's a paycheck that these people desperately do not want to lose, and we, the residents, suffer because of it.
Tomorrow, Saturday, if it's a nice day and you decide to spend the morning at the Oval, you will have to compete with another "event"--this one the outdoor screening of the U.S. Open beginning at 11am. Which probably means a set-up an hour or two before then, with the Oval Fountain, the central axis of those who want to relax, being turned off in the morning. Worse, afterward there will be something called "New Fox Tuesdays Private Outdoor Screening." No, it's not coverage from Fox News, but rather a promotion for Fox's Tuesday TV line-up, a promotion in tandem with Verizon's Fios. That's right, a commercial push and pimping out Stuy Town right on the Oval to further fuck-up your Saturday if you routinely like taking advantage of the Oval.
Quite simply, having events continually "happening" on the Oval is a telling display of the disregard and paternalism that the Powers That Be have toward the Stuyvesant Town community. I've no beef against the occasional event, but it's now gotten to the level of clear madness, with the Powers That Be not cognizant of the fact that they are now ensconced in the mad house, from which they plan out their events and issue their dictates.
We have wonderful playgrounds in this community and a wonderful "park" and a beautiful fountain. This is what others, living in the city outside of PCVST, envy. We have everything that can make living here particularly appealing.
So, for heaven's sake, PLEASE LEAVE US ALONE with this cavalcade of events!