Museum of Natural History’s lawns will open as public parks this summer

Posted On Fri, April 20, 2018 By

Posted On Fri, April 20, 2018 By In Upper West Side 

Photo of the Theodore Roosevelt Park via Wikimedia

Surrounding the American Museum of Natural History, the Theodore Roosevelt Park stretches from 77th to 81st Streets between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue. For years, the city has fenced off its green space, not allowing park visitors to touch the lawns. But this summer, as part of a pilot program, the city’s parks department will open two lawns in the Upper West Side park, according to the West Side Rag. From Memorial Day Weekend until September 30, the Northwest and Southwest Lawns will open to the public, officials announced at a community board meeting.

Each lawn will have two entrances and operate between the hours of 9 am and 7 pm, five days a week. If it rains, the lawns will be closed and dried out. The lawns will also be aerated and re-seeded for four days every month.

No sports or pets will be allowed on the grass, as it will be designated “passive” areas. The plan to open the lawns of the parks to the public falls under the city’s “Parks Without Borders” initiative, which aims to make open space more accessible and aesthetically pleasing for all New Yorkers.

A spokesperson for Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver told WSR that the commissioner was “inspired by Parks Without Borders when he considered the lawns around the museum, as the design concept addresses providing New Yorkers with access to all available park spaces.”

The project’s budget, funding for which will come from the parks department, has not been released yet, but two or three officers will be hired to provide a uniformed presence, close and open the park and enforce the park’s rules.

The Community United to Protect Theodore Roosevelt Park filed a lawsuit last month against NYC Parks, alleging the museum’s planned expansion would cause environmental damage to the area and “life-threatening health hazards” to residents. Designed by Jeanne Gang’s firm, Studio Gang, the expansion includes a new six-story structure, adding over 230,000 square feet to what is now a quarter-acre of open space.

The group’s lawsuit claims the parks department “irrationally fails to recognize the significant adverse impacts of the project, or where it does recognize such adverse impacts, arbitrarily accepts grossly inadequate and incomplete mitigation measures.”

A spokesperson for the city’s Law Department told West Side Spirit: “The city stands by its approval of the Museum’s expansion plans and its environmental review,” Press Secretary Nick Paolucci wrote in an email.

[Via West Side Rag]

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Neighborhoods : Upper West Side

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