Friday, May 11, 2007

My New York: Tell Mayor Bloomberg to allow PRIDEfest in Chelsea!

As you might have heard elsewhere, in trying to move the site of their annual LGBT Pride Festival to accommodate increasing crowds and secure a more welcoming environment, New York City's Heritage of Pride has ran smack into Mayor Mike Bloomberg's sreet event policies and the New York City Police Department's regulations on street event permits.

The City has decided that in moving the event from the narrow streets of the West Village to the wider 8th Avenue in the Chelsea district and by changing the date of the PRIDEfest from the day of the actual Pride March to a week earlier, HOP has created a "new" event and, as such, will tax police department resources.

The result? A permit has been denied and Heritage of Pride has been forced to cancel this year's festival.

BUT they would like for the community to express themselves loudly and demand that a permit be granted immediately for next year's event. More information on their site including a sample letter that you can send to local political leaders, including Mayor Bloomberg.

Other views: Blogger Frank León Roberts has another take.

4 comments:

NG said...

That bit about he not being able to spare the cops is a red herring...

Brian O'Dell said...

How can you help HERITAGE of PRIDE bring PRIDEfest to Chelsea?

1. Using the attached letter as a sample, write letters, send faxes and emails to the following people and news media…. and make phone calls. Tell the Mayor that the economic improvement of Chelsea should be a priority of his, as Times Square seems to be! A weekend of Pride Activities brings anywhere from 300,000 to 500,000 tourists from around the world to NYC (the birthplace of LGBT liberation after the Stonewall Riots of 1969).

2. Heritage of Pride (HOP) will host an open, free Community Forum about PRIDEfest on Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007. The forum will begin at 7pm and go to 9:30pm. The place is the LGBT Community Center, 208 West 13th Street (7th Avenue), Manhattan. Everyone who has a stake in wanting to see a beautiful and exciting community-building event on Eighth Avenue for ALL children, youth, young adults, adults and seniors are invited to attend, get information and strategize. We want the Mayor to reverse his bad decision NOW for next year – Saturday, June 28th, 2008… and that will take a lot of convincing leading up to Pride Week, during Pride Week, and possibly after Pride Week!

3. Get the word out by talking to your fellow Chelsea businesses, restaurants, organizations, block associations and individuals. Feel free to make copies of the attached flyer and post it in your place of business.

4. We want to mobilize hundreds of thousands of folks to STILL visit all the businesses and cultural institutions of Chelsea throughout Pride Week, Sunday, June 17 to Sunday, June 24!

5. Go to HOP’s web page – www.hopinc.org – or call our PRIDEfest hotline, (212) 807- 6537 for up-to-date information about PRIDEfest actions you can participate in!
=====================================================================
Who should I complain to about HOP’s PRIDEfest not getting its 8th Avenue permit???


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
Office of the Mayor
City Hall
New York, NY 10007
FAX (212) 788-8123
To email go to below website:
www.nyc.gov/html/mail/html/mayor.html
------------------------------------------------------
Ms. Joey Koch
Special Counsel to the Mayor
Phone (212) 788-8494
Email: jkoch@cityhall.nyc.gov
------------------------------------------------------
Your NYC Councilperson:
To email go to the below website:
www.nyccouncil.info/constituent
------------------------------------------------------
Patrick J. Brennan
Commissioner
Community Assistance Unit
100 Gold Street, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10038
Phone (212) 788-7439 and (212) 788-7418
Fax (212) 788-7754
------------------------------------------------------
Anthony W. Crowell
Counselor to the Mayor / LGBT Liaison
City Hall
New York, NY 10007
Phone (212) 788-3000
Fax (212) 788-2460


Date:

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
Office of the Mayor
City Hall
New York, NY 10007

Dear Mayor Bloomberg,

I am very angry that the Mayor’s Office has refused to give Heritage of Pride (HOP) organizers of NYC’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Events, a permit for their 15th Annual PRIDEfest (PF). This event was to be held on Saturday, June 23rd, 2007 on Eighth Avenue between 14th and 23rd Streets. PF has the support of 150 businesses on Eighth Avenue. The Greenwich Village – Chelsea Chamber of Commerce is a strong supporter, as well as the 15-member Chelsea Cultural Partnership.

Since 1969, Manhattan’s Pride events have drawn hundreds of thousands of LGBT people from around the world to NYC, the last week of every June. They spend millions of dollars staying in hotels, eating in restaurants, buying tickets to cultural events, as well as merchandise for friends and themselves. Thousands of LGBT people and our straight supporters live and/or work in NYC and contribute to the economy of this city as well.

PF has been 9 months in the planning. Its permit was filed on December 20th, 2006, and was unanimously approved by Community Board 4 (Chelsea) on March 7, 2007. Why would your office wait till two months before the event to deny its street permit?

PF’s move to Eighth Avenue included specific areas devoted to all Seniors, Parents and Children in Kelly Park off Eighth Avenue, and a YouthSpace. For the first time, PF would have been fully accessible to the Physically-Challenged. Unlike the other 367 mundane street fairs, PF would have been a beautiful, community event you and NYC would have been excited to be at and promote!

PF’s previous narrow, pot-holed location on Washington Street is unsafe for the hundreds of thousands of men, women and children who attend this event. It is unacceptable to me that the City is willing to disregard public safety and not support further business development and tourism for Chelsea. This year is too late, but HOP should be issued a street activities permit immediately for PRIDEfest on Eighth Avenue for Saturday, June 28th, 2008!

Sincerely,

Name:

Organization or Business (if any):

Address:

City, State, Zip:

Anonymous said...

PRIDEfest the free street fair was cancelled by the 14 members of Heritage of Pride who voted to cancel the event, when given the option and a permit from the city for PRIDEfest to happen in the West Village on June 24th 2007 the day of the 38th annual LGBT Pride Parade.
Please be aware of that fact.
The potholes have been filled in on Washington Street and Christopher Street as of today Wednesday May 16th 2007.
Please be aware of that fact.
One of the many numerous community outreach programs that is offered at PRIDEfest is free HIV, AIDS and STD testing and screening. Testing everyone and knowing your status SAVES LIVES.
So the free street fair is important, as important as any of the PAY events.
In terms of a lack of interest I do not believe that that is a true statement. There are many individuals, community groups, business', artists, performers, and food and beverage vendors, prepared to help out and make PRIDEfest a success.
I also do not believe that any person or business in Chelsea prepared to do an event on 8th Avenue would make a personal and or business decision to not participate at a larger event in the West Village.
LGBT Pride Parade and the PRIDEfest free street fair is not stuck in the village, the West Village is where the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered young men and women resisted the police harrassment at the Stonewall Bar.
The West Village is the appropriate and historical location for this event.
How is it that Heritage of Pride has chosen to cancel the only event that is FREE on that day and is focussed on producing the dances which are for 18+ only and cost $45 ? Does that sound inclusive to you ? Heritage of Pride has a responsibility to produce PRIDEfest, if they need the community's help to put the street fair together, then Heritage of Pride only needs to ask.
We are ready willing and able to help make PRIDEfest a safe and exciting and fun and health educational event !

To do nothing on that day is UNACCEPTABLE !
I find it unconscionable to reach out to the LGBT Community to help out for "select pay events" and not provide a free event for those same people. If you quickly compare what cities and the hosts of the Pride Events offer in Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Atlanta in terms of a free festival you will see this can be done. Remember New York City is a world class city and we throw parties for other groups all the time. How many LGBT individuals worked on the Tribeca Film Festival ? And Heritage of Pride is saying that they can't find community support for one afternoon that comes at the same time each year in June to make a free street fair for the entire LGBT community.
I choose to believe that many of us are prepared to make PRIDEfest a success. The City of New York and the Department of Transportation fixed the potholes in 24 hours. WE along with Heritage of Pride(whose had a year to prepare) have 38 days to create a street fair for ourselves: can we do it ? YES WE CAN !

PS: there's always Hudson Avenue between Christopher Street and Bank Street: the same width as Eighth Avenue, slightly shorter length, with a playground The Bleecker Street Public Playgorund at Hudson Street and West 11th for parents with children and an adjacent shade area with benches and trees for seniors. Hudson is freshly paved and should be accessible to all.
Send the floats South then, and let the people go North.
Happy NYC LGBT Pride !

Anonymous said...

NYC PRIDE WILL be happen this year...it was the street festival that has been canceled.

I think the people at NYC Pride seem to be doing what's best for our community.