New York City’s Bryant Park Was a Hot Mess. Then It Was Privatized.

People would rather have “public” than “private”.

Public is…free, right? Wide open. Sharing. All are welcome. It’s all good.

“Private” is…selfish, closed, for the rich.

Public must do better.

I find it hard to believe that the phrase “public restroom” is used. It’s dirty, smelly and ugly.

Many people believe that.

Because I see tourists staring at long lines of people waiting for a toilet in the vicinity of my Manhattan office, I am able to tell.

With a disgusted expression, they said “Yuck.” Why would they line up? This?”

A bathroom attendant laughed, “Many people say that.”

Wait, a bathroom attendant?

Yes. It is an entirely different type of bathroom in a completely different park.

There is ice skating, pingpong, juggling lessons, yoga lessons…all for free.

Bathrooms are cleaned by two attendants 30 times per day. The bathrooms have flowers and paintings. The speakers play classical music.

This represents a significant improvement over 37 years prior, when Bryant Park was full of trash and vagrants. Dan Biederman, an urban redeveloper, was allowed to take over the management of Bryant Park.

He borrowed money from nearby businesses to try out innovative ideas, such as playing in bathrooms with music.

Biederman, in his new video, says, “It is just another element. Along with flowers,recessed lighting, and art, that makes people feel they are going to be secure.”

It is vital to be safe because there is always crime.

Bryant Park is safe because it’s not a place where crime thrives. This park, however, is full of people.

You can also find small businesses like Joe Coffee Co., Le Pain Quotidien and others. The park is paid for by them. Some individuals object.

A park shouldn’t be all about business! They say.

Biederman responded, “In the present state of things you cannot have ‘passive areas.’ Many people circulate who are emotionally or violently disturbed.

To discourage such people, he fills his park businesses and activities—like the juggling lessons. He says that vagrancy becomes less common when there are many people in the park.

However, it is not always easy to work with difficult people. People who suddenly feel so hot after taking K2 are the worst, he said.

Biederman says that our guards will “guide them out the park.”

All of it works. Bryant Park is visited by twelve million people every year. And taxpayers don’t have to pay a dime. The city actually has more people than it costs. Does money, says Biederman, because “the increased real estate taxes paid by the surrounding buildings—it’s $33 million a year.”

“Why don’t governments do that?” Ich frage.

He replies, “They do at times.” He points at Central Park.

Central Park, however was saved by a private charity that I work with. The park was dangerously neglected and covered in graffiti before our team started to take over.

This is often true for public property. Politians don’t often spend time doing boring chores like maintenance.

“A typical thing for parks departments to do is take old oil drums…and use them as trash cans,” says Biederman. The ugly oil drums make a very bad impression. How does this speak to the general public?

He installs elegant trash cans. He then has them regularly emptied. He explains, “This is a sign that somebody cares.”

Biederman manages “private” parks elsewhere, such as Salesforce Park in San Francisco or Fair Park in Dallas.

These all save money for taxpayers, and government-run parks are more cost-effective. KostenThe money of the taxpayers.

The majority of government work is more expensive and has lower quality.

Stossel TV’s first video was about a NYC park who spent $2,000,000 on their bathroom. 2 million dollars was a “good deal” according to Parks Commissioner.

“But, you can still buy entire houses in this neighborhood for less money than you paid on the bathroom,” I replied.

He said, “These are very, extremely durable materials.”

I need a break. Bryant Park has a nicer bathroom that uses the same durable materials. It cost much less.

When possible, leave it to the private sector.