New York City’s Central Park, boasting a sprawling 12-acre expanse known as the Great Lawn, has officially shuttered its gates to the public until April, as disclosed by The New York Times. The steward of this urban oasis, the Central Park Conservancy, reluctantly enacted this decision in the wake of substantial wear and tear inflicted during this year’s Global Citizen Festival. This damage, attributed to a confluence of heavy foot traffic and relentless mechanical equipment, has left one third of the lawn in a state of utter disrepair, exacerbated by an unrelenting downpour. Pledging their commitment to remediate the destruction, the organizers of the Global Citizen Festival have pledged to shoulder the financial burden.
Expressing their disappointment, the Central Park Conservancy lamented the temporary closure of the iconic Great Lawn, a beloved autumn destination for New Yorkers. In a poignant statement, the Conservancy voiced their regret at its inaccessibility this fall season. In response, Global Citizen issued a statement, emphasizing their close collaboration with governmental authorities and the Central Park Conservancy during the months and days leading up to the event.
Councilwoman Gale Brewer, representing the district that encompasses the park, has dispatched a formal letter to Mayor Eric Adams, urging him to consider barring Global Citizen from future utilization of the park. Brewer expressed her reservations, articulating, “While it’s commendable to address the financial aspect, what about the people who are deprived of its use? Monetary compensation can’t rectify that loss.”
The 2023 iteration of the Global Citizen Festival featured enthralling performances from the likes of Ms. Lauryn Hill, who orchestrated a highly anticipated reunion of the Fugees on stage, along with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Notably, Megan Thee Stallion withdrew from the event, opting instead to captivate audiences in Houston alongside Beyoncé during the same weekend.
The overarching mission of this event was to amplify awareness about pressing global issues, including the dire straits of extreme poverty, the escalating climate crisis plaguing the Global South, the pervasive global hunger crisis, and the entrenched gender disparities faced by women and girls worldwide. Emmanuel Macron, the President of France, announced a generous pledge of $240 million from France and Norway towards the International Fund for Agricultural Development, aimed at combating worldwide hunger. This grand event in New York City made possible through the collaborative efforts of several prominent corporations and aptly billed as “presented by Citi and Cisco.”