MEATPACKING DISTRICT — Two giant egg-shaped inflatable tents with couches and swings inside are offering a few more places to sit at the High Line this weekend.
The installation is part of a collaboration between Target and Scandinavian designer Marimekko, which is bringing are producing a limited line of clothing and home goods to be sold at the retail juggernaut.
The tents will hold products created through the collaboration as well as swings and sofas "and other things to hang out and take selfies," said Friends of the High Line Vice President of Public Programs and Community Engagement Gonzalo Casals.
One tent will be on the High Line itself, on the stretch between West 13th and 14th Streets. The other will be below it at the street level, on a little plaza encircled by Washington Street, the Whitney Museum and Gansevoort Street.
The tents will be up and open on Friday morning through Monday, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. It will be free and open to the public, but park visitors will not be obligated to pass through it while on the High Line.
Casals spoke at a Community Board 2 parks committee meeting Wednesday night, where board members expressed dissatisfaction with not being included earlier in the process of reviewing and approving the event.
"This community board has for many years objected to the commercialization of the public sphere," said CB 2 chair Tobi Bergman. "I believe this is a billboard in a park and it's inappropriate."
The renderings of the display that Casals showed the board featured more Target logos than the real installation will, Casals assured them.
The park receives minimal government funding amounting to only about 1 percent of its operating costs, and must raise the rest of its funds for its free public programs, art installations and plantings on its own.
Friends of the High Line, which raises 98 percent of the park's budget, is only allowed to host a maximum of five such events yearly. Every event must be approved by the Parks Department which designated a handful of locations that can be rented while still allowing visitors to enjoy the park.
Casals explained to Bergman that corporations plan things quickly, but Bergman seized on a comment Casals had made earlier, that having only five such events a year lends an air of exclusivity that allows them to charge enough money to keep the park afloat.
"The message that you sent to them [by allowing them to plan quickly] is, 'You come to us with a week's notice and we'll bend over backwards,'" Bergman said.
Board members pressed Casals to disclose how much Target is paying for the installation, but Casals said he was not permitted to do so. After much prodding, however, he said the rental fee is enough to cover more than half of his department's budget.
A High Line spokesman said the Target installation is considered a corporate activation and the High Line does not disclose the value of corporate partnerships or activations.