Central Park‘s 12-acre Great Lawn will be closed to the public until April due to extensive damage caused during last month’s rain-soaked Global Citizen Festival, the Central Park Conservancy said today.
“The Central Park Conservancy is very disappointed that the iconic Great Lawn is now closed and unavailable for New Yorkers to enjoy this fall,” the Conservancy said in a statement released today. “The use of heavy equipment and intense foot traffic in the saturated conditions from the September 23 concert damaged a large portion of the lawn and fully destroyed a third of it. Our team is now working to restore the lawn, hopefully in time to reopen this spring.”
Attended by about 30,000 people – about half the usual audience size due to heavy rain – the annual concert is a major fundraising event for Global Citizen, the anti-poverty organization. This year’s concert included performances by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Lauryn Hill, among others.
The Lawn is typically roped off from the public during winter and early-spring months for maintenance, but the damage from the concert has necessitated an early close of about six weeks. According to The New York Times, repairs from the damage could tally up to $1 million.
The city’s Parks Department released a statement today saying, “While we share New Yorkers’ frustration, we have had a positive relationship with the Global Citizen Festival producers and are confident any damages will be remedied expeditiously.”
Global Citizen also responded to the closure news, releasing a statement reading, in part, that it had worked closely with city officials in the lead-up to the concert to determine whether the event should proceed this year.
“This year’s rainfall meant closer alignment with City agencies and stakeholders than ever before,” the statement says. “In the months leading up to the festival on September 23, and daily in the week before the event, we worked closely with the NYC Mayor’s Office, NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, Office of Emergency Management, NYPD, FDNY and the Central Park Conservancy. Ultimately, the City of New York, the Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Central Park Conservancy, determined that this year’s festival should go ahead.
“In addition to the fee paid to the City each year for use of the Park,” the statement continued, “Global Citizen works with the Central Park Conservancy to assess and cover the costs of any damage, and we remain committed to fulfilling those obligations, as we have since 2012.”