The Great Lawn of NYC’s Central Park is currently closed to visitors after damage sustained during this year’s very rainy Global Citizen Festival, as first reported by West Side Rag. In a statement, Central Park Conservancy spokesperson Matt Lawyue said that he’s “very disappointed that the iconic Great Lawn is now closed and unavailable for New Yorkers to enjoy this fall,” continuing, “The use of heavy equipment and intense foot traffic in the saturated conditions from the Sept. 23 concert damaged a large portion of the lawn and fully destroyed a third of it. Our team is now working to restore the lawn, hopefully in time to reopen this spring.” The lawn is closed every year from November through April for maintenance.
A spokesperson from Global Citizen released a statement, which reads:
The Global Citizen Festival has taken place in Central Park for the last 11 years in close collaboration with the City of New York, its agencies, and the Central Park Conservancy.
We are incredibly grateful to call New York City and Central Park the home of our movement, which has seen $43.6 billion deployed to end extreme poverty, impacting 1.3 billion lives around the world.
This year’s rainfall meant closer alignment with City agencies and stakeholders than ever before. In the months leading up to the festival on September 23, and daily in the week before the event, we worked closely with the NYC Mayor’s Office, NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, Office of Emergency Management, NYPD, FDNY and the Central Park Conservancy. Ultimately, the City of New York, the Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Central Park Conservancy, determined that this year’s festival should go ahead in the rain.
In addition to the fee paid to the City each year for use of the Park, Global Citizen works with the Central Park Conservancy to assess and cover the costs of any damage, and we remain committed to fulfilling those obligations, as we have since 2012. This was communicated to the Central Park Conservancy before this year’s event and after it, as always.
“While we share New Yorkers’ frustration, we have had a positive relationship with the Global Citizen Festival producers and are confident any damages will be remedied expeditiously,” a Parks Department spokesperson added. They also said that the rain on its own would not generally have caused them to force the cancellation of an event, unless there was also thunder and lightning in the area.
Former Manhattan Borough President and current City Council Member for the Upper West Side Gale Brewer, meanwhile, wrote a letter to Mayor Eric Adams “urging” him to find another venue to host the festival. She suggested “an arena or stadium,” adding, “I have never been a fan of the Global Citizen Festival” because she says the money it raises is rarely donated to local nonprofits.
See pictures from Global Citizen 2023 below.