070308pavilion.jpgIn a clever ploy to undermine the city’s controversial proposal to lease out the 78-year-old Union Square Pavilion as a year-round restaurant, a group of activists sent a fake press release Monday that claimed to be from the Union Square Partnership Business Improvement District (BID). The release announced the BID’s decision to drop its push for “privatization of the famous park after overwhelming feedback from citizens across New York City.” (NewsBlaze still has the release on their website.)

Some park advocates have been fighting the project in court, objecting to what they see as the privatization of park space, and insisting the city needs approval from the state legislature before moving forward. Ubiquitous performance artist and gadfly Reverend Billy has been passionately protesting the city’s plan, and besides sending out the phony press release, his group set up a fake and funny website that misquotes real-life Union Square Partnership Executive Director Jennifer Falk:

We made a mistake. We didn't consider its potential as a community space, its historical significance at the center of so many of America's social movements, or its present value as one of the last areas for free assembly in New York City.

Besides announcing a "reconciliation ceremony," the press release also revealed a new plan to “convert this Business Improvement District into a Community Improvement District.” Unamused, a BID spokesperson told the Villager that “it’s unfortunate that the Union Square BID name was pirated to spread irresponsible and fraudulent misinformation about the north-end renovation project.” At this point, work on the north end of the park is continuing, but the conversion of the Pavilion to a year-round restaurant has been stalled by a court order.