We know Mayor Bloomberg has had his fair share of issues with hot dog puns, but even Bloomberg wouldn't go so far as to limit New Yorker's ability to channel their inner Kobayashi or overpay for bottles of water. But according to the Post, a new Washington Square Park Conservancy group thinks the frankfurters are too gauche, and has successfully lobbied the Parks Department to ban hot dog vendors from the park.
The Conservancy group wasn't officially approved by CB2 until June, but Washington Square Blog reports that last March, the four Conservancy founders (Betsey Ely, Gwen Evans, Veronica Bulgari, and Justine Leguizamo—wife of actor John Leguizamo) asked park administrator Sarah Neilson to move the vendors from the Arch to the east and west sides of the park. Neilson also serves in an unpaid position as the conservancy’s executive director.
“This is a private, affluent group of women being given decision-making power unbeknownst to the public,” Cathryn Swan, who runs Washington Square Park Blog, told the Post. “This is indicative of what their future plans might look like. [They’re] treating the park as a pristine garden rather than an active public space.”
Even though the hot dog vendors have been ousted, other vendors will be allowed to remain around the Arch. Those aesthetically pleasing vendors include Melt, a Lower East Side bakery that will sell $4 ice-cream sandwiches, and Mario Batali's Otto Enoteca Pizzeria Gelato Cart. The ban isn't about removing food from the park, or about cleaning up the view around the Arch and the Fountain, so much as it's about changing the atmosphere of the park.
Having said that, it's not like you can't find a hot dog vendor within a two minute walk just about anywhere in the city. Bulgari defended the move to the Post, and passed the buck to the Parks department: “We got some word from our neighbors that [the hot-dog vendors] were unsightly,” she said. “We suggested moving them based on what other people were telling us. The fact that it was done was Parks’ decision.”