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Board Postpones Vote on Big Apple BBQ

By DNAinfo Staff on March 10, 2011 5:30pm

The 2010 Big Apple BBQ in Madison Square Park.
The 2010 Big Apple BBQ in Madison Square Park.
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By Jill Colvin

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MIDTOWN — Midtown's Community Board 5 has postponed a controversial vote on the Big Apple BBQ that had been scheduled to take place Thursday evening.

"We’ve taken it off [the agenda]," said District Manager Wally Rubin, who said the board decided to wait to vote until next month to allow more time to resolve disagreements between members over the fate of the annual popular block party.

"It’s a controversial issue and our board always believes in trying to build board consensus," Rubin said of the event, which attracted more than 100,000 people to Madison Square Park last year with its expert pit-masters, live music and cooking demonstrations.

Last Thursday, two committees of the board voted eight-to-five to recommend ousting the popular summer celebration — despite the Madison Square Park Conservancy's endorsement — citing concerns about damage to the park.

Members who voted in favor of the event took issue with that assessment, saying that BBQ organizers had always done an excellent job of cleaning up.

Tom Reidy, the conservancy's director of park operations, said that he found out about the postponement less than two hours before the scheduled vote, but declined to comment.

The Union Square Hospitality Group, which sponsors the event, did not immediately return calls for comment about whether it will consider modifying its plans to earn the board's approval.