The elitist monkey was gone, as was the beer cup caste system. Lexus was still "The Preferred Vehicle of GoogaMooga," but we didn't see any coupons for $1,000 off our next luxury car purchase. Whether it was the persistent drizzle or the slew of new food vendors, lines weren't a problem at GoogaMooga on Saturday. This meant you had an unobstructed view of the festival's wholly unselfconscious fetishization of food, in all its gluttonous, grotesque glory.
"It's fascist, this is a fascist system. I've lived in New York for four years, and I'm done." Park Slope resident Gino Macaluso wasn't referring to the bloated thwop-thwop-thwop of the seemingly countless NYPD helicopters Keeping Us Safe, or the bored police officers with telephoto lenses who stood guard in a tower behind a wall of porta-potties. Macaluso was upset about the carnival-based drink ticketing system, which required patrons to purchase a $2 cup and books of 10 tickets for $10.
A taste of wine cost 2 tickets, a glass, 8, with some of the nicer vintages running up to 16 tickets. Beer tasting was structured similarly. Or, you could just approach one of the booths selling the cups of Blue Moon for $7 U.S. Dollars, which is where we found Macaluso. "All I want to do is listen to music and have a drink. Yesterday my girlfriend spent $44 and no one had a clue how any of this worked, so I asked for a refund." Where was she today? "She stayed at home. She wanted me to calm down."
Macaluso aside, calm seemed to be in plentiful supply on Saturday—no one had to fight over fried chicken, just approach the counter and break a $20. Marijuana and cigarette smoke mingled with the scent of bacon. Roberta's Urban Ren Faire, the designated pop-up restaurant that was the scene of last year's bougie VIP bloodbath was this year's spot to achieve Peak Brooklyn, as sword fighters and tipsy dancers united in Daft Punk under the trees to play their parts in a rollicking stereotype—everyone looked sheepish, if liberated.
"This is a shitshow—too many calories," Upper East Side resident Erin Pepper told us, as two swans scooted across Lullwater Pond. "I just end up eating too much. No more food." Pepper and her friend Ari Pelcovitz had heard of last year's Troubles and still purchased VIP tickets this year. "We wanted to make sure that we did it right, and it seems [the organizers] really got their act together," Pelcovitz said.
But had they read Michael Powell's incisive point that park space in New York City could be trampled for commerce but not political speech? Did they know that Prospect Park Alliance was making $25K less than last year? Or that the NYPD was making more?
"It shines a light on the park, and on local businesses," Pepper said. "Central Park is always considered the main park. Prospect Park is way more beautiful. It's not as pompous. This is good for the park."
Shortly after Saturday's headliners Matt & Kim took the main stage, Kim Schifino announced to the audience that she and her performing partner/life partner Matt Johnson once had sex in Prospect Park. "We did it over there in the woods," she said, to a few cheers.
A man with an impeccably-gelled Hitler Youth haircut lounged on a couch in the VIP section, a woman's head resting on his lap. He disliked the band, and explained that he had once worked for Brooklyn record label Captured Tracks before taking a job at J.P. Morgan. "It's like a thousand knives," the man said of the performance, before taking a sip of his drink and scrolling through his Instagram feed.