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Parks & Public Spaces

Application from Civic Entertainment Group for “T-Mobile Launch” in Bryant Park on Wednesday, October 9, 2013

At the regularly scheduled monthly meeting of Community Board Five on Thursday, October 10, 2013, the following resolution passed with a unanimous vote of 38 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstaining:

WHEREAS, Civic Entertainment Group ("Applicant") submitted an application to hold "T-Mobile Launch," an event and product launch, on Wednesday, October 9 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.; and

WHEREAS, The event was to consist of two-and-a-half days of set-up, a concert consisting of two thirty-minute sets, speeches about a new T-Mobile product, T-Mobile branding on movie screens, and one and a half days of breakdown; and

WHEREAS, Set-up was to begin at 12 a.m. on Monday, October 7, and breakdown was to be completed by 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 10; and

WHEREAS, The applicant estimated that 6,000 people would attend; and

WHEREAS, The event was to consume the entire footprint of Bryant Park, consisting of a large stage with three adjacent LED movie screens for branding, two 48-foot-high metal truss towers for lighting, barricades around the perimeter paths, and additional LED boards surrounding the lawn and two VIP tents; and

WHEREAS, The Lawn was to be largely closed throughout the event's set-up, although Applicant was optimistic that parts of the lawn could be open to the public so long as the technicians deem it sufficiently safe for the public; and

WHEREAS, The event was also to occupy the north side of 40th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues, as well as part of 39th Street, which would be reserved for staging, portable toilets, storage, and equipment, and parts of 6th Avenue and 42nd Street were to be used for the attendees to queue prior to the opening of the Lawn at 6 p.m. the day of the event; and

WHEREAS, The event was to be staffed with a significant security presence; and

WHEREAS, The entire event was to be free to the public, although only accessible with tickets that were to be distributed by means of social media; and

WHEREAS, Two VIP tents were to accommodate 500 attendees, mostly T-Mobile account representatives, with Bryant Park Grill providing them complimentary beer and wine; and

WHEREAS, Amplified sound at an anticipated volume of 80 decibels were to be employed for the duration of the event, employing a sophisticated system of 24 speakers and sub-woofers; and

WHEREAS, Signage, to include promotional information for the product as well as general information about T-Mobile, was to consist of the three arena-sized LED boards adjacent to the stage, as well as many smaller LED boards lining  the length of both sides of the Lawn, thereby further restricting Park usage outside of the Lawn; and 

WHEREAS, Although Bryant Park Corporation expressed support for the event and it is believed the Applicant would submit a very large payment to have the event in the Park, CB5 has significant objections to the duration, size and footprint of the event, its overtly commercial nature, its significant use of amplified sound, and the obstruction of the Lawn, as well as restricted access to the rest of the Park; and

WHEREAS, Several components of the event, when it occurred, were not presented as part of the event application, including greater number of security than was anticipated, more extensive restrictions to public access than was anticipated, and more extensive T-Mobile branding and signage that was anticipated, in the form of T-Mobile branded coverings over the multiple barricades that were erected around the Lawn perimeter; and

WHEREAS, CB5 insists that any such event applications in the future that have such a short duration of actual programming significantly limit the footprint and set-up time, increase park access and include some benefit to the public; and

WHEREAS, The application was officially submitted to the Parks Department and to CB5 only 13 days prior to the event's set-up, much less than the 21 days that is required by the Parks Department's own regulations, and well after event details were already finalized, preventing the community from having any input as to this use of public space; and

WHEREAS, CB5 insists that the Applicant, should it seek to hold future events of this nature, come to CB5 at the earliest stages of planning, to ensure that the community's concerns are addressed; and

WHEREAS, CB5 insists that Bryant Park Corporation anticipate the public review of events of this size and impact in public space by bringing applications to the attention of CB5 far earlier in the planning process; and

WHEREAS, Despite the fact that the event was to occur before CB5 had the ability to weigh in, CB5 recognizes the importance of continuing to establish a public record of our concerns and objections when it comes to the usurping of public space for overtly commercial enterprises of significant duration and impact; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends denial of the application from Civic Entertainment Group for "T-Mobile Launch" in Bryant Park on Wednesday, October 9, 2013.

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