The Real Deal New York

Activists hold protest against Union Square Park restaurant

Carolyn Maloney and Richard Gottfried call on the state to review the deal
March 10, 2014 02:23PM

Union Square Park advocates rallied this week against the opening of a seasonal restaurant in the park’s north pavilion, despite a recent court ruling allowing the city to lease the space.

Residents of lower Manhattan and city officials, including Assembyman Richard Gottfried and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, gathered in the park Sunday to protest Chef Driven Market’s coming al-fresco location, which is slated to open as early as mid-April.

The company, which owns both the Pigalle and 5 Napkin Burger franchises, picked up the spot in a 15-year agreement with the city. The deal calls for Chef Driven Market to pay an annual rent of $300,000, and then $450,000 in the final year. The New York State Court of Appeals has already determined that the deal is not a “violation of the public trust,” as plaintiffs in a two-year legal battle claimed.

Still, activists say the play space and free speech uses at the Woman’s and Children’s Pavilion will be negatively impacted, and that the restaurant should be required to get state approval for the arrangement. [DNAinfo]Angela Hunt