NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — New York City's Central Park has a history of hosting some big concerts; James Taylor in 1979 drawing 250,000 people, Elton John in 1980 pulling in 300,000. A decade later, city officials reported 600,000 people attending a Paul Simon concert and a massive turnout for Garth Brooks in 1997 with 750,000 attendees.
So earlier this month when Bon Jovi's concert, which was heralded as a major success, reported a head count of 48,538 people but still and filled the Great Lawn where concerts are held, many observers were left scratching their heads at the disparity.
According to the New York Times, the issue came to the fore after the city denied permits for a protest that demonstrators were attempting to organize during the 2004 Republican National Convention, which was held in New York. The City rejected the permits, over concerns that the protest would damage the grass at the Great Lawn, which had just been replaced for $13 million.
Organizers for the protest filed a lawsuit against the city, pointing to non-political events that had been held on the site and drew hundreds of thousands of people. The city's answer? Well..maybe not hundreds of thousands..
"The truth is that those historical crowds, you couldn't accommodate that many people if you crammed them into every open space in Central Park — Great Lawn, North Meadow, Sheep Meadow" city parks commissioner Adrian Benepe told the New York Times.
"You would get in a room with the producer, with a police official, and a person from parks, and someone would say, 'What does it look like to you?'" said Doug Blonsky, a former city parks administrator who is now the president of the Central Park Conservancy. "The producer would say, 'I need it to be higher than the last one.' That's the kind of science that went into it." Benepe added. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers