Activists prank Union Square Partnership over pavilion restaurant 

Jul.July 03, 2008 03:58 PM

As part of a long-running campaign to stop the city from turning the Union Square Pavilion into a year-round restaurant, activists released a fake press release yesterday announcing that the Union Square Partnership had abandoned the plan.

“We made a mistake,” the fake release quoted Union Square Partnership Executive Director Jennifer Falk as saying. “[We didn’t] consider its potential as a community space, its historical significance at the center of so many of America’s social movements, or its present value as one of the last areas for free assembly in New York City.” 

Activists-turned-pranksters created an imitation Web site,, which mimicked the partnership’s real home page, The fine print on the phony Web site, however, encourages citizens to recite the First Amendment often and participate in protests. The activists left their calling card in the hyperlinks, all of which lead to an online petition against the deal and the personal Web site of Reverend Billy, who leads an activist group called the Church of Stop Shopping.

“Why did we even consider jeopardizing this priceless legacy through privatization?” The sham site reads. “It won’t ever happen again. We’re sorry.”

The proposed restaurant is part of the park’s $21 million renovation,
which is improving its comfort stations, playground and historic

A Business Improvement District spokesman told the Villager that “it’s unfortunate that the Union Square BID name was pirated to spread irresponsible and fraudulent misinformation about the north-end renovation project. U.S.P. is working to correct the abuse of technology and continues to work with its partners at the Department of Parks to fully complete the renovation.”
The fake release also announced that the Union Square Partnership “business improvement district” would re-organize as the “community improvement district,” with outspoken park preservation activists Geoffrey Croft and Jack Taylor as board members. It also said that it told Revered Billy, “We’ve betrayed the public.”

The activists also threw a “Push Back Picnic” yesterday, parading around the park in protest of the plans. Activists carried trees around the park with petitions to stop the development, chanting “Union Square. Not for Sale,” according to the Washington Square Park Web blog.

The Partnership’s plan to lease out the 78-year-old pavilion is being fought out in the courts. In May, a State Supreme Court judge issued a “preliminary injunction” pending activist’ law suits. The Union Square Partnership and the city Parks Department were sued by the Union Square Community Coalition.

Related Articles

(Image by Wolfgang & Hite via Dezeen)

Hudson Yards megadevelopment inspires a new line of sex toys

Cammeby's International Group founder Rubin Schron and, from top: 194-05 67th Avenue, 189-15 73rd Avenue and 64-05 186th Lane (Credit: Google Maps)

Ruby Schron lands $500M refi for sprawling Queens apartment portfolio

Wendy Silverstein (Credit: Getty Images)

Wendy Silverstein, co-head of WeWork’s real-estate fund, is out

The Eddington House cafe in Shanghai

“We’re the elite”: What backlogged Chinese EB-5 investors are planning next

Margaret Streicker (Credit: Facebook)

Rent law “canary in the coal mine” runs for Congress in Connecticut

The New York State Senate subpoenaed several top names in real estate

Elliman, RE/MAX, Keller Williams subpoenaed in discrimination probe

MDC Partners CEO Mark Penn and 1 World Trade Center

One World Trade Center signs 200K sf deal with marketing firm MDC

Coronavirus delays $1B sale of SF’s Oceanwide Center

Coronavirus delays $1B sale of SF’s Oceanwide Center