It's a win for the Mayor, Commissioner Kelly, and the Central Park Conservancy: A judge agrees with the city and bars two protest groups from gathering in Central Park for a pre-Republican Convention protest. Two reasons stated: Groups had waited too long to file suit and security concerns. Manhattan Federal Court Judge William H. Pauley suggested other parks to protest in, like Van Cortlandt in the Bronx and Flushing-Corona in Queens, with Judge Pauley calling the Great Lawna "unique pastoral oasis amid a towering urban setting." Note to outer borough parks: You're fair game! The NY Times noted that the city said the lawn could be destroyed by 75,000 if it rained the day before or morning of the protest. Another note: Determine whether the weather is controlled by politicians. Still, it seems that Judge Pauley hopes some protest can be had in the park, though a quality-of-lawn friendly one...the question Gothamist has is how, given the kind of coordination needed by protest groups and NYPD.
Here's the text of the ruling (PDF) and a schedule of some protests happening. The two protest groups, National Council of Arab Americans and Act Now Stop War & End Racism (ANSWER), would have had 75,000 total protesters; the big kahuna, United for Peace and Justice, with an estimated 250,000 protesters, will hear the judge's decision about their suit to protest on the Great Lawn today. Also, more about Kentucky bluegrass, the kind of grass in the Great Lawn, and Gothamist's previous Great Lawn posts.