Some Growing Weary from Run/Walk Events in Battery Park City

The finish line of the the American Heart Association's run/walk event is on the Battery Park City esplanade. Photo: American Heart Association

Jun. 22, 2015

"Fatigue" is setting in over the charity run/walks in Battery Park City.

So far this year, representatives for five runs have appeared before Community Board 1’s Battery Park City Committee, requesting its advisory approval for street activity permits. (Two other requests, submitted to the Battery Park City Authority, did not go before the committee.) Complaints about closed streets, noise, early start times and a lack of benefits for the local community were voiced by some committee members as representatives for two more organizations stood before them earlier this month with the latest requests.

“Outsiders come into our neighborhood, wake people up, clog up the esplanade,” said member Tom Goodkind. “It’s becoming a circus.”

“I feel like we’re being used and abused,” said public member Maria Smith. “For what we put up with, we get very little back.”

The committee asked Youth Inc., one organization that appeared before them this month, to return to the committee to discuss how pedestrians would be able to navigate on the day of the run, and explain how its partner non-profit organizations would provide a benefit to the Battery Park City community.

Though the committee approved a request from the non-profit organization The New Agenda to hold its run, meant to raise awareness of sexual assault on college campuses, it recommended that the group change the section of the route that passes through the streets.

The route, however, is not so easy to change. The Battery Park City Authority has a standard route that all walks and runs passing through the neighborhood must use. The route, for the most part, goes along the esplanade with small sections on 3rd Place, West Thames Street and Battery Place.

Committee co-chair Ninfa Segarra asked Robin Forst, the BPCA’s vice president for external relations, whether the authority would be responsive to a request from the committee to change that route.

“The authority makes the decision,” Forst said. “But you should register your concerns.”

Still, some members insisted that the committee should turn down all runs requesting a Battery Park City route.

“I just think we’re saturated,” said public member Maria Smith. “I say, ‘no more,’ and that we do a moratorium. We’ve already hosted quite a bit and have done more than our fair share.”

Committee chair Anthony Notaro insisted that a moratorium is not the answer. Instead, he said, the board should form a subcommittee tasked with developing a set of guidelines that walk/run applicants need to meet, similar to the one the board once formed to field liquor license applications.

“This is New York City and there are events in every neighborhood every day of the week,” he said. “It does bring vibrancy to the city, it is the lifeblood of many of these charitable organizations, and to think that we could stop it is probably not realistic.

“What is realistic,” he added, “is starting a process where we make some sense of it.”