NYC Parks

imgresParks are such a vital park of urban living actually any type of living.  They create community, they are investments in the local growth around them, the people who live around them tend to be healthier….essentially there is a range of data around the importance of urban parks.

The city has just committed $150M to rebuilding (essentially upgrade) some large parks in underserved communities.  That includes sports fields, running tracks, hiking and greenery.  A huge win for the community.  The majority of this money did not come from the city but from some of the other parks who have raised capital annually from private citizens such as the High Line, Central Park and Prospect Park.  Not only are they giving capital to the chosen parks but they are allowing many of the people who work in the well funded parks to spend time in the underserved parks to help train their staff.  My guess is many of the donors to those parks are not aware of the deal that was made although it has been written about and it public knowledge.  As an annual contributor to the High Line I am ok with this but we need to be more creative about keeping our parks (all of our parks) to the level the community deserves.  This is not a permanent solution.

To start, keep in mind that parks are able to operate from the money that is raised as a non-profit organization not because there is a line item in the city budget that pays for this.  If you are visiting any of these parks, go to their websites and give.  $1 makes a difference.  If you think of how many people walk through the parks of NYC on a daily basis those $1’s add up.  The parks that are not as organized as Central Park and we should help them figure out how to be creative.  Should some of the major companies in the city who are looking for ways to hang their hat on non-profit donations.  Perhaps they would be willing to sponsor a park.  What could you give them for that?  Could the retail shops around the parks be willing to add some dollar donation every time someone buys something?

Parks are a tremendous asset to every single neighborhood they touch.  How can we make certain that all of our parks do not fall into disarray because they are being creative about financial funding vs knocking on the doors of the few parks who have figured it out.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Pointsandfigures

    I love NYC. But one thing I love about Chicago over NYC is the park system. Tons of open space. Even as you get away from the lake.What I hate about Chicago’s park system is it like so many other parts of the govt has become a place for patronage and graft. The real cost of administering it is in the bureaucracy that oversees it, and the public pension liability that comes with all the patronage.Agree that we need public spaces like parks. Would love to see society change and manage them efficiently.

    1. awaldstein

      It ain’t bad at all here as public spaces are parks and the city is one big free wifi zone just about everywhere.The most brilliant thing NY is doing–thank you Mayor Blumberg!- is clean up the waterfronts everywhere. Ongoing but as someone who was raised here the Hudson Waterway park is nothing short of unimaginable if you were here 20 or 10 years ago.

      1. Gotham Gal

        the waterfront is incredible!

        1. awaldstein

          You and I both know what the piers alongside the west village looked like back when!The brilliance is that there is no land but there is land on all of the waterfronts and–and this is huge–it is every year making the water taxis less a novelty and more great transportation.Hoped on one and went to Jersey City in like 10 minutes. Take a citibike on one over to Williamsburgh.Urban change at its smartest

          1. Gotham Gal

            the water taxis are brilliant. we need more water transportation.

          2. awaldstein

            We are finally starting to act like an Island 😉

          3. Gotham Gal


      2. pointsnfigures

        That is brilliant. In Chicago they are building the Riverwalk.… It stretches from Lake Michigan down the Chicago River (south side or Loop side of the river) and will wrap around. In the 1800s/1900s it was where the factories were and the river was pretty polluted. Now it is getting cleaner-still a little toxic but a lot better than it used to be. The riverwalk is totally great.

        1. Tara Regan

          Like San Antonio

          1. pointsnfigures

            sort of. San Antonio is cool but this is less overtly commercial, with a much wider river (since barges still go up and down it occasionally. There are many places where the public can just sit and enjoy the view.

        2. awaldstein

          niceit’a self fulfilling destiny.put the walk in, then they put water taxis, then the river gets cleaner and water sports are in, then condos go up, then they extend the subway.

          1. pointsnfigures

            gonna be tough to have water sports on the river, but they certainly are on Lake Michigan. If you aren’t from Chicago you may not know that they reversed the flow of the river away from the lake and into the I+M Canal (to keep polluted water from getting into the lake and to ease boat traffic flow to the Illinois River and Mississippi.) But, it’s a great spot to walk. It is a fantastic place to dine. Great place to sit and just be.Extending the subway gonna be hard here. No money. City is beyond broke, so is the state and county.

          2. awaldstein

            got it.i’m seeing sailboats, kayaks, skiboats fisherman from my window on the Hudsonvery cool

  2. awaldstein

    Parks, public spaces, public arts and transportation are the true markers of a city’s greatness and depth of character.NY is pretty damn goon on these.Love this initiative you mention.Will state though that the city has barely touched the tip of public pride and public fundraising efforts. I would love to see a 5 year project cross the city, to create neighborhood pride and public support through donations, arts and maintenance of the parks.With leadership this could take it up a notch.

  3. Tara Regan

    I love that neglected parks in underserved communities are getting attention – green space makes for healthier, happier communities. I am not sure how these parks can be more “creative” in their funding though – if they are neglected, it might be hard for donors to “see” their potential. I would imagine the communities themselves do not currently have fundraising mechanisms, nor the inclination to put resources towards something that does not currently add value. I think getting a kickstart from established parks, not only with $ but also with know-how is a good model…but firmly believe that once they are “established” these new parks will need to take on their own fundraising to maintain and grow their parks in line with their community’s goals/ambitions/vision.

  4. Michael Plater II

    Makes me think of the Lowline park concept in the Lower East Side, which would be really incredible once it’s built.

  5. kirklove

    I agree.