What is a parks concession? It is defined generally as a publicly licensed commercial activity at a clearly defined location for a specific, limited period of time. From hot dog carts to Yankees Stadium, concessions have long played a significant role in the vibrancy of New York City Parks. Providing amenities that enhance the park experience, as well as city coffers, concessions have been an essential component of Parks since the Victorian era.
Craving places for respite, recreation, and the contemplation of nature, New Yorkers have always placed their parks in high regard. Yet in their urge to "get away from it all," they have chosen not to leave behind all the earthly delights of the city. Successive park administrations since 1870 have sought—through the judicious placement of concessions—to meet visitors' needs, without compromising the essential mission of parks.
This history feature is based largely on the exhibition Making Concessions: A Pictorial History of Commercial Enterprises,curated by Jonathan Kuhn, and displayed at the Arsenal Gallery, Central Park, during the summer of 2000.
Text taken from Making Concessions show, Arsenal Gallery, 2000
"Restaurateurs Bid to Run Tavern on Green," New York Times, May 18, 2009 Charles Kloth, Revenue and Joel Metlen, Deputy Director of Concessions