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Inwood Residents Ask Why They Weren't Invited to Latin Grammys Party

By Carla Zanoni | September 27, 2011 6:47am

INWOOD — To the thousands of concert-goers who attended Sunday’s Latin Grammys Street Party in Inwood Hill Park, it was a party worth waiting for.

But for the many Inwood residents who live near the park, they said it was the party they were never invited to.

Neighborhood locals said they were surprised to see a large stage and speakers, food vendors, trucks and scores of police in the park on Sunday for a televised concert they claim flew under the community’s radar.

Thousands of Latin music fans packed into the park to listen to such artists such as Delexilio, Los Hermanos Rosario and Eddy Herrera, among others.

“I didn’t know anything about it until it was here,” said Gladys Rhodisia, as she walked her dog Sunday morning, adding she would have liked to have known earlier so that she could bring her mother to hear some of the popular performers at the show.

Other residents were not as excited about the concert once the music began to boom from the soggy soccer fields, where the stage was situated, throughout the entire park. The reverberations shook the expanse of the park and as far away as Broadway.

“This park has no business having noise like that here,” Inwood resident Elise Montalvo said of the only natural forest in Manhattan. “Isn’t this supposed to be a wildlife refuge?” 

A Parks Department spokeswoman said that although “popular music concerts with amplification are common in parks,” the same is “uncommon” in Inwood Hill Park. She added that police were on duty to address any noise complaints. 

According to the department, organizers paid a fee of “roughly $50,000,” which goes toward the city's general fund. The event planners also took out a restitution bond to cover any damage. Other than mounds of discarded French fries and mud, the field appeared to be in the same condition as it was before the concert.

For most residents, the noise level and restricted access to the park was a nuisance, but frustration about the lack of communication from the city was paramount. The event was not listed on the Parks Department event calendar.

“As I live right next to the park it would have been nice if someone, anyone, posted signs in advance, warning of the events," Inwood resident David Alan wrote in a Facebook message. "Then again, this is upper Manhattan, where anything goes."

Community Board 12 chair Pamela Palanque-North said the Parks Department had approached the board about the event, but that CB 12 was unable to weigh in as a full board as it was contacted during its summer recess.

Although Palanque-North said she was “pleased to have an event that resonates with so many residents of Washington Heights and Inwood,” she was “concerned that there was not more notice and communication to the residents about this event.”

“I hope and believe that if the event should return to our district," she said, "that we would learn from the problems from this event and control the noise and inconvenience to residents who live near the Inwood Hill Park in the future."