We were a little confused when we read a short piece in today’s Post claiming that a rise in staycations has made Central Park “so overcrowded on weekends that people have to wait their turn to sit on a patch of grass.” Like most New Yorkers, we’ve spent a few lazy Sundays vegging out in various areas of Central Park, and we’ve yet to find ourselves unwittingly rubbing up against random strangers for lack of space. Truth is, there is really a lot of grass in there (250 acres, to be precise). So where is this coming from?
The entire two-sentence article seems predicated on a quote from Central Park Conservancy president Doug Blonsky, who relayed that he’d “seen people standing in line to enter the Sheep Meadow.” We assume that’s true in some form or another (the Central Park Conservancy hasn’t responded to a request for comment), but does it really indicate that the city is “running out of grass,” as the headline blares? Does this herald the beginning of a dark new era for our city, one in which overpopulation will force us to sit on horrible, un-fluffy things like dirt and pavement and other people? Is this something we should be panicking about?
Not at all, assures New York City’s parks commissioner, Adrian Benepe. He tells us that while staycations indeed seem to have contributed to a rise in park use this summer, Blonsky may have been taking some “poetic license” with his observation. “I think that was somewhat of an exaggeration by the park administrator. There isn’t literally a line,” Benepe says. Phew. That’s a relief. All the same, if you plan on seeing an outdoor film at Bryant Park, be prepared to fight to the death for some blanket space.