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Parks & Public Spaces

Application from French Media Events for “Taste of France” in Bryant Park on Saturday, September 28 and Sunday, September 29, 2013

At the regularly scheduled monthly meeting of Community Board Five on Thursday, September 12, 2013, the following resolution passed with a unanimous vote of 32 in favor; 5 opposed; 1 abstaining; 1 present not entitled to vote:

WHEREAS, French Media Events has submitted an application to hold "Taste of France," an event to showcase French food, products, culture, and industry, in Bryant Park on Saturday, September 28 and Sunday, September 29, 2013; and

WHEREAS, The event would take place from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 28, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday, September 29; and

WHEREAS, Set-up would begin at 10 p.m. on Thursday, September 26, and breakdown would be completed by 6:00 a.m. on Monday, September 30; and

WHEREAS, The event was held in 2012 at Pier 54 and had a peak attendance of 5,000 people, but that venue is no longer able to meet this year's expected capacity of 10,000 at a time, and the event is already being widely publicized as "The World's Largest Event Dedicated to France"; and

WHEREAS, The event would consume the entire footprint of Bryant Park, consisting of a market with 120 vendor booths throughout the Park, the installation of an inflated hot air balloon in the center of the main lawn, a 130' x 40' tent erected over the Upper Terrace, and a 24' x 18' stage on the Fountain Terrace; and

WHEREAS, The event would also occupy both sides of 40th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues, which would be reserved for parking for refrigerated trucks, staging, storage, and two twenty-foot dumpsters; and

WHEREAS, More than 200 staffers would work the event; and

WHEREAS, Most sections will be free and open to the public, although items at vendor booths will be for sale at price points up to $120.00, and certain events will be on a ticketed basis for VIP admission only and located in tents, with more expensive items for sale, including liquor sales by means of a temporary liquor license; and

WHEREAS, Amplified sound at a volume of 70 decibels would be employed for the duration of the event, employing a system of 12 speakers and sub-woofers; and

WHEREAS, Signage would consist of nine signs, 4' x 6' in dimension, to include directional information about the layout of the event as well as corporate logos of the 29 participating sponsors; and 

WHEREAS, Although the event includes activities of a cultural nature, CB5 has significant objections to the duration, size and footprint of the event, as well as to its commercial nature, its expected noise from its use of uninterrupted amplified sound, and the obstruction of the lawn by a 75' diameter security perimeter surrounding the installed hot air balloon, preventing passive use of the lawn by park users for the entirety of a peak seasonal weekend; and

WHEREAS, CB5 has additional concerns about a new major market in Bryant Park a matter of weeks before the build-out of the annual Holiday Market, and moreover is concerned about the precedent of this event should it recur on an annual basis; and

WHEREAS, The application was submitted to CB5 less than two months prior to the event, after sponsors and event details were already finalized, preventing the community from having any input as to this use of public space; and

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

WHEREAS, CB5 strongly encourages Bryant Park Corporation to 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; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends denial of the application from French Media Events for "Taste of France" in Bryant Park on Saturday, September 28 and Sunday, September 29, 2013.

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