Review: The Swedish Midsummer Festival is an overcrowded deathtrap

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Swedish festival Pier AJune 19, 2015- By Steven E. Greer, MD

I have now witnessed two or three of these summer solstice celebratory Swedish Midsummer Festivals, held each year in Wagner Park. They have become too popular and are now overcrowded by a factor of two or three. Many, if not most, of the attendees now are not even Swedish.

The 2015 event was this evening. I went to take pictures. However, it was shoulder-to-shoulder packed over the entire grass surface of all of the lawns in Wagner Park. I am a grown adult and felt a bit scared for my safety, worried about trampling. All it would take is one lighting bolt or sound of a gunshot to scare the mob into a dangerous panic.

More concerning, the overhead pedestrian bridge that spans the two park buildings in which Gigino restaurant now presides was overcrowded with hundreds of people. It easily could have collapsed.

Swedish festival band overpass walkwaySafety aside, the food concessions lines are so long that no one can enjoy the food. The summer dances are too crowded to enjoy, as well. People try to picnic on the lawns, but it is futile.

I saw many drunk men trampling the gardens as they cut across the open spaces. How much damage is done to the parks each year?

Once again, our community has been turned into a venue for events that serve unrelated organizations. What is Battery Park benefiting from allowing our parks to be taken over for a day and beaten down?

Fortunately, the crowds are as well behaved as they can be given the overcrowding. There was no public urination, excessive alcohol consumption, or fighting, that I saw.

The Swedish festival is a good idea, but it is clearly not being managed by anyone properly. They need to have fences and restrict access with ticketing.

Where is the BPCA administration in all of this? I saw the president, Shari Hyman, walking around with flowers in her hair, totally oblivious the overcrowding. Ms. Hyman, a former city lawyer, had zero experience running an organization, such as the BPCA, when she was appointed by Governor Cuomo’s former right-hand man Larry Schwartz.

Swedish festival flag on walkway

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