Christine Quinn suggests a public solution to the problem of Zuccotti Park
On WOR radio this morning, John Gambling asked Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who has generally been been cautious about expressing opinions of Occupy Wall Street, her thoughts on the return of protestors to public spaces like Zuccotti Park.
Zuccotti Park is privately owned public space, built by a developer in exchange for the right to make a neighboring office tower taller.
Quinn: Well, you know, I guess in a way this was to be expected when the weather got warmer.
Gambling: Well, you know the swallows go back to Capistrano and the buzzards go back to Hinkley.
Quinn: Right, and I guess you can add a third to that, now. You know, look, I'm concerned in a number of different ways. One, we have a great history and tradition, I've been part of it in this city, of people protesting, and at times that protest is very effective, and we want to be mindful of not every impinging on people's first amendment rights. But it's a balance, particularly in a congested city. How do you make sure the neighbors and the residents and the businesses don't have their rights overly impinged upon either.
One of the things I think we really need to work to get clear on is what exactly are the rules in parks. What are the rules in the different types of parks that we have. So we all at least know the facts about what is and isn't allowed in different places. And it may makes sense for us to think about as we do these new parks created by zoning like Zuccotti, maybe we should just put them all under the Parks Department rules, so there isn't confusion.
Gambling: Now, would you be willing to make the move to get Zucotti Park? Because that was part of the deal with Brookfield, to build down here, was it not? And to make that into a park?
Quinn: Yes, a very complicated legal question. They went through, many, many years ago, the full land-use process, ULURP. In that process, I guess they wanted a bigger building, or a taller or bulkier building, or whatever. So the concession was the park. In that ULURP, which is in essence a law, they stipulated to being open 24 hours a day.
So it's a complicated legal process to go back and take away that requirement. It would take a while. You wouldn't do it in enough time for the swans, or whatever, to come back.
Gambling: The swallows.
Quinn: Right the swallows, sorry.