A may have been a Worldwide Day of Play for 35,000 romping restless children and their families, but Prospect Park’s Nethermead field did not fare quite as well, according to the park’s usual patron’s.
“They did a number on the Nethermead yet again” said Prospect Lefferts-Gardens resident Noel Hefele. By “again” Hefele was referring to the damage done by the celebrants of the two-day long Great GoogaMooga music festival. That fiasco-fest left the parts of the park fenced off for almost the entire summer.
Nickelodeon’s party on Saturday left the great lawn covered in dirty debris and scarred parts of the grass where the dirt was left bare.
Regular visitors to the park say that the thousands of people playing sports, dancing to the music of rock bands, and all the equipment needed to sustain all the various activities wreaked havoc on the lawn. The fact that it was destroyed so blatantly within months shows an insensitive disregard for the regular park users by the people who make the decisions about the park’s usage.
“It is so disheartening after events like these to see the blatant disregard for our backyard” said Randi Lass of Windsor Terrace, who is a regular volunteer for green space clean-up. “I thought after GoogaMooga perhaps they learned a lesson about the scale of events in Prospect Park.”
Park officials said that they are still investigating what damage was caused by the Nickelodeon event. They pointed out that these large-scale events such as this one and the GoogaMooga festival help to pay for the everyday costs of keeping up the park.
“We have a mission to bring different types of events to the park for the public and we have a responsibility to restore, maintain and preserve the park” said Eric Landau, spokesman for the Prospect Park Alliance, manager of the park. “And these events do bring in revenue, so it is sort of two-fold.”
Some neighborhood residents see the issue quite differently.
“The Prospect Park Alliance’s idea about proper uses for the park are loathsome” argued Windsor Terrace resident Jolanta Benal.
“We are witnessing a for-profit private land grab in the heart of Brooklyn” said Hefele. He added that he fears that events like these will continue in the park, growing larger and even more disruptive for the residents.
Laundau explained that Nickelodeon is required by their contract to pay for any damages they caused, just as the GoogaMooga organizers had to pay to replant grass and to repair the widespread damage that their event caused.