I like to check in now and then on the saga of my favorite condo/park couple, Jackson Square.
As reported before, it seems like the park has been sort of "adopted" by the condo. Formerly (and still) a park known for its rough-around-the-edges populace, homeless men and women, disaffected queer kids, etc., Jackson Square has been getting cleaned up, wired up, and greened up for its debut as the front yard for condo One Jackson Square.
Now, in their latest endeavor to prepare the park for the sensibilities of its new residents, the city Parks Department has placed armed guards at the perimeter.
"Armed," in this case, means carrying a nightstick with permission to "use physical and deadly force," as given to NYC Parks Enforcement Patrol officers. They can also "make warrantless arrests, carry and use handcuffs" (Wiki).
In wondering about this new security presence, I've been chatting with some of the officers and only later found this informative Daily News story. To sum it up, Armani and the Jackson Square Alliance have indeed adopted the park, much like entities can adopt a highway with the purpose of keeping it free of litter. They're running a big clean-up and that includes hiring Parks Department officers.
Who is the Jackson Square Alliance? Says the Daily News, it's "a nonprofit comprising local residents and businesses," and their president "is vice president of Hines Interests, the firm leading development of One Jackson Square."
What are the implications when a private, luxury-based company forms a non-profit to "adopt" a public space for the purpose of improving their own profits? How about when they hire guards who also happen to be public servants?
It's worth thinking about what this means and where it could go. If only certain types of people are allowed to visit a public space, can it really be considered public? Are there forms of back-door privatization?
Follow the saga here: