GoogaMooga only lasted for 2.1 days, but the damage wrought upon the grass of Prospect Park will live on for much longer. We snapped these photos of the State of the Nethermead on Tuesday night, where crews were still working to clear out the last of the festival's seemingly innumerable tents.
Event staff told us before the festival that they would work with the Prospect Park Alliance to reseed the damaged area. But reseeding won't do a whole lot to help park-goers hoping to use the meadow for picnics and cook-outs this summer.
We spoke with Frank Rossi, a professor of horticulture at Cornell University specializing in grass ("When I open a Victoria's Secret catalog, instead of looking at the women, I look at the grass they're sitting on," he told us, by way of proof). According to Rossi, the grass won't be ready for use until at least three-to-six months from now, assuming the land is leveled and reseeded properly. Which means sections of the Nethermead will be off limits for most of the summer, thanks to a two day food fetish fest.
Good, good. We're really looking forward to lounging on the freshly grown grass in November. Maybe we can eat Thanksgiving dinner on it. Is there not a better way? Actually, yes, Rossi said, there certainly is—sod.
"If they were sodding, they could go in strip it off and lay sod down, and within a month, you could be playing on it," he said.
Sod costs between 50 and 70 cents per square foot—which translates to roughly $20 thousand for the damaged areas, whereas reseeding generally costs closer to $3 or $4 thousand, he said, adding that organizers often build expenses like this into the cost of events.
Bryant Park, for instance, is completely resodded twice a year, said Geoffrey Croft, founder of NYC Park Advocates, but unfortunately, he doesn't foresee the same treatment being afforded to the Nethermead.
"The contract specifically mentioned that they're on the hook for that stuff. But that doesn't mean the Prospect Park Alliance is holding [organizer Superfly's] feet to the fire," he said. "They are sprinkling grass seed, which is the cheapest approach."
The arrival of summer will also have a negative impact on any hope of timely grass-growing, since the seedlings will have to fight for life against the grotesque heat about to befall us any day now. A better time of year for GoogaMooga, Rossi said, would be in the early fall, at which point the grass would be back in business in time for Memorial Day.
Paul Nelson, a spokesman for the Prospect Park Alliance, told us park officials will more fully assess the damage tomorrow. He was unable to offer information on whether sodding the field was an option under consideration.
The desire for people to use the grass—especially in the city, where watching a rat feast upon a used condom qualifies as "nature"—is well and good, Rossi said. But organizers have to be prepared to spend the money required to properly and swiftly repair it.
"You basically have to get used to re-grassing these things," he said. "People want to be on grass so bad down there that they literally trample it."