050708pavilion.jpgA State Supreme Court judge has issued a “preliminary injunction” prohibiting the city from turning the 78-year-old Pavilion in Union Square park into a restaurant. Last week the court ruled that the $21 million overhaul to the north end of the park could proceed while a lawsuit brought by community groups moves forward, but temporary stalled work on the Pavilion.

Opponents object to what they see as the privatization of park space and insist the city needs approval from the state legislature before moving forward. The new ruling lets the city renovate the Pavilion and rehabilitate the bathrooms, but halts plans to lease it out for a restaurant. Parks advocate Geoffrey Croft was pleased today’s ruling:

The Court indicated that the Union Square Community Coalition is likely to ultimately prevail on its primary claim in the lawsuit – that restaurant use of the Pavilion would require approval of the New York State Legislature.

Croft tells us the city still plans to make 1,860 square feet of the Pavilion amenable for a restaurant kitchen while the lawsuit proceeds, but he says that could turn out just fine for the community, “because when the case is decided in our favor we can use that renovated space for public recreation.”
Photo of Union Square Pavilion courtesy Wallyg.