Prospect Park Alliance worked with the NYC Parks Department and event organizers Superfly Presents to host the Great GoogaMooga’s food, drink and music festival in Prospect Park for its second year. This year’s event was attended by almost 40,000 people.
Since 1987, a key role of the Prospect Park Alliance has been to provide facilities and host activities that large numbers of people from Brooklyn and beyond can enjoy together – including the Annual Halloween Haunted Walk and Carnival, the New York Philharmonic, Celebrate Brooklyn, and Spike Lee’s Michael Jackson Birthday Celebration, just to name a few. These types of events are an important part of programming in the City's open spaces and GoogaMooga was developed in this spirit.
We’ve heard – and share – concerns about the impact of GoogaMooga on the Park’s landscape and on Park users not attending the event, and wanted to take this opportunity to address some of those concerns.
Lawn Care – We worked closely with Superfly on reseeding damaged lawn areas and repaving a pathway. This year, we planned a slower event set-up and breakdown to reduce damage. We will not be able to fully assess the condition of the lawn until all equipment has been removed from the Park.
Disruption to Other Park Users – The event site was fenced off to the non-attending public during the event as a crowd control and safety measure. Event plans required Superfly to keep pedestrian paths and roadways around the event area open and accessible: specifically, operations on Center Drive and Wellhouse Drive were to allow for pedestrian and bike access, and all pedestrian paths west of Center Drive and east of Wellhouse Drive were to be unimpeded. However, the need for additional security checks produced intermittent disruption to movement over Breeze Hill between Wellhouse Drive and East Drive.
Sunday Cancellation – The decision to cancel GoogaMooga on Sunday was based on an assessment by the New York City Parks Department, the Alliance, and Superfly. On Sunday, 36 hours of rain had left the event site and surrounding service areas saturated. In addition, some forecasters were predicting thunderstorms. The decision to cancel was made jointly in the interest of protecting the landscape, workers, and the public.
As the Alliance has an increasing financial responsibility to maintain Prospect Park, we look for new and innovative ways to bring resources to the Park. Events like GoogaMooga have worked in public spaces nationwide and this event provided the Alliance with an opportunity to learn about a larger, more complex type of event than we have had in the past. Since 2008 traditional sources of income have declined, and our hope was that GoogaMooga would become a new source of revenue to help maintain ballfields and playgrounds, restore historical structures and landscapes, and protect wildlife habitats. While the fees for 2012 and 2013 were modest, future returns to the Park could be much larger. In addition, GoogaMooga helped the Alliance attract 1,000 new members and donors, provided members access to tickets, and helped restore pathways long in need of repair.
The Alliance will continue to look for ways to provide innovative programming. We want to thank everyone who has contacted us with both concerns and encouragement. In the days and weeks ahead we will be conducting a full assessment of the event, including its effect on the Park landscape and Park users, as well as potential benefits to the Park. Your thoughts and observations are helpful as we evaluate GoogaMooga and future programming in Prospect Park.