Photo of the Floating Pool Lady in Baretto Point Park by Danny Avila for NYC Parks
Outdoor public pools will be closed all summer as the city looks to make major budget cuts amid the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday. Facing a staggering $7.4 billion loss in tax revenue, the city plans to make over $2 billion in cuts to its executive budget. According to the mayor, closing the pools for the 2020 season, which runs from late June to Labor Day, will save the city $12 million.
“Getting out of this problem will take solutions that we’ve never seen before,” the mayor said during a press briefing on Thursday where he unveiled his proposed executive budget for the fiscal year 2020 and 2021. He called the budget cuts painful, but said they “pale in comparison to the challenges ahead.”
Other proposed cuts to the city’s Parks Department include the suspension of 1,000 summer camp slots for the 2020 season, a reduction in tree stump removal and tree pruning, and a reduction to tree and sidewalks programs.
The city is also considering closing public beaches for the entire summer, sources told the New York Post earlier this week. While the Parks Department is currently evaluating different scenarios for opening the beaches, with full and partial closures on the table, de Blasio said earlier this week that the city is not confident large public gatherings could even take place by August.
“Imagine Coney Island in the middle of the summer,” de Blasio said on Thursday. “Hundreds of thousands of people packed tightly together. I don’t see that happening any time soon.”
The mayor said New Yorkers, for everyone’s sanity, should lower expectations on what the summer will look like. “The notion of having lifeguards and people coming to the beach like normal, we don’t have that in our sights yet,” he added.
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