“We have made it clear that certain promotions and images used this past year related to La Marina were not acceptable, and the operators agreed.”
– Melissa Goldberg, Parks Department Director of Concessions Compliance, September 12, 2013
One of the problems with operating as a nightclub instead of as a full-service restaurant (as was originally intended in the license agreement) is the hedonistic marketing that comes with nightlife promotions. The license agreement does include language such as:
“Any type of advertising … which is otherwise unlawful or obscene as determined by Parks , including but not limited to advertising that constitutes the public display of offensive sexual material in violation of Penal Law Section 245.11, shall also be prohibited.”
However, the concession has consistently hosted events of questionable sexual content. At least five times in 2013 there were “cash prize for best bikini” contests. Several other events have promoted themselves with very graphic images. The site has also allowed the filming of explicit, violent and misogynist music videos. None of this is especially new ground for a typical nightlife establishment, but this is a Parks Concession that was approved as a restaurant and a cafe, not a nightclub. Is this appropriate use of city parkland?
When contacted about these problems in 2013, the Parks Department responded through Melissa Goldberg, the Director of Concessions Compliance. In a September 12, 2013 email to an Inwood resident she stated:
“In addition, we clarified what we feel is appropriate advertising for a business on public property, including any presence on social media sites. We have made it clear that certain promotions and images used this past year related to La Marina were not acceptable, and the operators agreed. Improved control by the operators over printed and online promotional communications should help recalibrate the facility’s messaging.”
The nightlife uses also attract other problematic marketing to the adjacent residential area, drawn by the (improper) amount of foot traffic going to and from the nightclub and concerts. One particular Bronx strip club has been illegally projecting its ads on residential buildings, churches and other structures along Dyckman Street on busy nights at the concession for two years.
Needless to say such issues would not be present if the concession was restored to a normal full-service restaurant use as originally intended.