Friends of Sunset Park


Welcome to the Friends of Sunset Park. We trust you're enjoying the most beautifully-sited park in NYC and we are looking forward to keeping you in the loop about all that's happening in our park and our neighborhood.
Check-in often. Till then...
with the best views in New York City
+ 9/11 Living Memorial Grove @FriendsSunsetPk

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Please be assured that we, the Friends of Sunset Park, did not participate in the planning or the execution of today's (Sunday-16 Aug 2009) RAID on the park's unlicensed vendors. This tactic, while it might make some people feel powerful for a few minutes, does not work, period. In fact, it generates graffiti, other types of vandalism (against trees/plantings, equipment & facilities), as well as more garbage aka "garbage with a vengeance." Members of the Friends of Sunset Park have been approaching the vendors directly for the past couple of months to elicit their cooperation as a partner in preserving and maintaining the park. While this outreach may not carry the drama of a raid or a call to arms vs. the vendors, we believe that it will eventually yield better results. For the past several years we have been advocating for a multi-prong/multi agency approach that includes education, small business tech support, and constructive enforcement, but the response is always the same: "it's definitely the right approach, but we don't have the resources necessary."
At the end of the day, all that the RAID accomplished was to terrorize the hundreds of children present, and the vendors' children, in particular, who witnessed their parents being chased like animals, as they abandoned their carts and property to avoid (perceived) arrest.
A number of the vendors spoke with us today thinking that the RAID was orchestrated by us, and since that was not the case, we are directing them to Park's management and the individuals who did so that they may discuss this issue directly with them.
Friends of Sunset Park was founded 12 years ago and has remained a constant and effective presence in our park as different park's personnel has come and gone, and as many individuals and special interest groups have also come and gone. We invite anyone who reads this posting and who is interested in responsible, effective, long-term, hands-on and realistic involvement in the preservation of Sunset Park to join us and work in a collaborative and inclusive manner. Our mission is "TO PRESERVE OUR WONDERFUL COMMUNITY BY BRINGING BEAUTY, EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS, RECREATION AND ENTERTAINMENT TO A SAFE AND CLEAN PARK...
One-shot RAIDS against the vendors, with the goal of scaring them straight, have never and will never work long term. The "cleansing" effect may, at best, last a couple of days, but they will re-establish themselves and always in greater numbers and savvier, because of it; the graffiti and vandalism that these "enforcement actions" generate will cost all of us far more in lost well-being, frustration, park salaries, materials, and reduced enjoyment of our treasured park.
Yours truly- MR for the Friends of Sunset Park-


  1. thank you for posting this information about the raid. what you have said shows that you and your organization have great wisdom and in addition compassion.

    it is wonderful that you are forward thinking and not subscribing to the typical ignorant knee-jerk reactions.

    keep up the good work

  2. I have noticed these raids happening on a small scale for weeks now. It really makes me angry! The police are chasing hard-working women in the park ( the vendors), while ignoring the drunken men who sleep there all day and pee on the trees in broad daylight! Why can't the police simply ticket the people who litter, leave glass bottles in the grass etc...?

  3. I don't agree with the way the raids have taken place, but if these people don't want to deal with the police, they shouldn't be relying on an illegal activity to make their living. Get a permit! Where do you draw the line between selling things illegally? No one would be sad to see drug dealers being rounded up since they are selling things without a permit.

  4. Nancy- We truly believe that most want orderly, licensed vendor activity in our public spaces, however the process of becoming a licensed vendor in a NYC park is not an easy one. We invite you to join FoSP and work with us in a comprehensive approach that includes education, advocacy, small-business tech support and realistic/effective enforcement. Much more can be accomplished with a well-managed long-term strategy, than with unsustainable knee-jerk approaches. We can be reached at

  5. Let's clean up the park (diapers, leftover food, paper) without destroying people's livelihoods or our neighborhood's character!

    So resources aren't available - let's tap into other resources. How can we encourage vendors to discourage litter? Can we get local businesses involved in cleaning the park? How can we get our fellow residents to invest in taking care of our park?

    I would also like to see police focus on the litterers and the drunk guys who live in the park and who I have seen using the gardens as a bathroom.


  6. It seems my comment didn't go through.
    I am available to help with anything.
    These raids arent the way to go but I do agree with nancy in the sense that something should be done. May it be dialogue or helping them get permits. Who organizes these raids?

  7. Sunday's raid was conducted by the NYC Parks Dept.'s Enforcement Unit at the request of Parks management. However, it's effect didn't last very long. Vendors began to return yesterday. So, what was accomplished?

  8. I agree. Plus why raid the people that are part of our community? it defeats the purpose of being in a community. Raids will only push people away.