It's unprecedented what the Madison Square Garden Company is proposing in the borough: renting out public parkland for a private, for-profit event. The city also has Governor's Ball, which is scheduled to take place at the beginning of June and located on Randall's Island, a perfect place for this sort of event. It's out of sight and out of mind, unless you're one of the tens of thousands participating.
But money will likely win out in this case and officials like Borough President Melinda Katz better be prepared to negotiate. It's hard to stop a massive company like Madison Square Garden from executing their will, so it's important that, if Queens is going to welcome a three-day disturbance, they get something out of it.
After all, this festival is not just for residents of Queens. It's a festival for the entertainment industry and music fans alike. But Queens residents will feel the disturbance. The ones who will not be able to utilize the massive free resource of Flushing Meadows Corona Park; the ones who will sit in traffic on the Grand Central Parkway, as lines back up on the exits; the ones whose commute home on Friday evening will be packed with concertgoers.
Madison Square Garden and elected officials need to soften the blow through a significant investment in the local economy. Right now, the proposal of having a free “Queens Community Celebration” isn't enough.
If the three-day music festival happens, elected officials need to bring their best bargaining ability to the table to make sure, for Queens residents, it's worth it.