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NYC Parks proposes new special event rules in Flushing Meadows as Governors Ball preps for weekend fest

Jun. 6, 2023 By Bill Parry

NYC Parks announced it will hold a public hearing on July 7 on proposed new rules to change the application timeline for special event permits and to establish standards for the distribution of permits for multi-day special events in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

New Yorkers will have the opportunity to submit comments on the proposed new rules beginning on Tuesday, June 6, and comment submissions will be accepted until Friday, July 7, when the public hearing is held at the Al Oerter Recreation Center at 131-40 Fowler Ave. in Flushing.

The proposed rules include setting maximum attendance for events in Flushing Meadows Corona Park to 40,000 at any one time and account for the large crowd size, transportation impacts, and length of events while ensuring the protection of Flushing Meadows Corona Park’s natural and landscaped environment.

The announcement was made on June 2, one week before tens of thousands of music fans will descend on Flushing Meadows Corona Park for the 2023 Governors Ball Music Festival from Friday, June 9, to Sunday, June 12, featuring performances by Lizzo, Kendrick Lamar, Odesza, Kim Petras, Lil Nas X and nearly 60 other acts.

Courtesy of Governors Ball

Founders Entertainment, which is promoting Governors Ball, began setting up the main stage near the New York State Pavilion and the Unisphere last week and its co-founder Tom Russell has gotten only positive feedback from NYC Parks, noting that the rule changes are for future special events in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

“We are excited the Parks Department is as enthusiastic as we are about hosting events in Flushing Meadows [Corona] Park,” Russell said. “Ensuring the community has an opportunity to provide input about future events will make for an even better experience for both neighbors and promoters.”

NYC Parks provided a document that was sent to Queens elected officials explaining why the new rules have been proposed.

“FMCP is the largest park in Queens, and for nearly one million New Yorkers, is the most significant outdoor open space to which they may have access,” the document says. “Because Flushing Meadows Corona Park (FMCP) serves a multitude of uses including stadiums, cultural institutions, concessions and attractions, the remaining space for everyday recreation, including for permitted events, is only about one-third of FMCP’s total acreage. Events of 2,000 or more people put additional burdens on FMCP’s resources and can restrict normally accessible areas of the Park and create parking and traffic congestion problems.”

Courtesy of NYC Parks

The proposed rules will also change the date at which Parks begins accepting applications for special events permits, from the first Monday in November to the Tuesday following Labor Day in September, allowing an additional two months for the planning process.

“In addition, the proposed rule would alter the standard the Department’s policy of giving preference to events that took place in the prior year and instead, in FMCP, would give preference to events that did not take place in the prior year, except in the case of events that have a 10-year or longer history in FMCP,” Parks explained. “This deviation from the standard Department policy is to promote a broader array of events and greater access to FMCP.”

The final proposed rule would preserve accessibility to Flushing Meadows Corona Park by members of the public not attending the planned special events. The proposed rules will be available for review at rules.cityofnewyork.us. The July 7 public hearing at the Al Oerter Recreation Center will begin at noon.

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