Mayor Gray to Mayor Bloomberg: Sell Central Park

By: Kirby Vining, Stronghold,

DC’s Mayor Gray tries to persuade NYC’s Mayor Bloomberg to sell Central Park for development: a sardonic drama in one pathetic act of desperation. All names are real, but the action is fiction with a frightening resemblance to reality.

“Bloomberg here.”

“Mike, it’s Vince Gray. How are you? Hey, buddy, it’s election year, and my main source of campaign funds just dried up – you know the story. But I got this great idea: sell parks! Whaddya think? All that green just wasted on young lovers and children playing in the grass, not paying a dime in taxes or rent. A waste, I tell you! Low-hanging fruit just waiting to be harvested. Whaddya think, Mike?”

(Aside, to an assistant: “They got some Tammany Hall thing down there, or is this guy on dope?”). (Gravely) . . . “Uh, you’re right, Vince, one has to keep an open mind about whatever is necessary for the people and city we govern.”

“Mike, I got this great place here, McMillan Park, designed by the Olmsted firm that designed our National Mall and the Capitol grounds, that seems to have fallen into the wrong hands — mine . . . and I called because I realized you’ve got parks by the same group of guys — Central Park, Prospect Park, Morningside Park . . . they’re just apples waiting to fall off the tree and feed a campaign — yours! With a finder’s fee to your good friend who suggested it, of course! Whaddya think, Mike?”

(Aside to the assistant: “Change my number . . . this guy is an extraterrestrial.”) “Vince, those parks have been city treasures for about a century, scene of some of the most memorable events in the lives of the people of our cities. But you’re right, there’s no tax revenue from them as things are now, but they’re important for — ”

“Mike, I’m about to auction off McMillan Park to the highest bidder, whom I’ve already hand picked, and I’ll get back to you with more ideas like this when that’s done.” (Both hang up).

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