nyc parks

Bronx, Policy

Photo of Hart Island via Flickr

One of the country’s largest burial ground may become a city park. The New York City Council is considering making Hart Island, an island located off of the Bronx coast where roughly one million people have been buried since the Civil War, more accessible to visitors. Because the city’s Department of Correction (DOC) currently maintains the site and hires inmates from Rikers Island to bury bodies there, access remains restricted. During a hearing Thursday, the City Council introduced a package of legislation aimed at improving Hart Island, including one bill that would transfer control of the land from the DOC to the city’s parks department.

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hudson yards

Rendering via MVVA and the Hudson Yards Development Corporation

To make room for New York City’s most expensive park project ever, a handful of properties near the Hudson Yards site face demolition. One of those buildings is Affirmation Arts, a gallery on West 37th run by William Hillman. According to THE CITY, Hillman said he is willing to give his building to the city for free, on the condition it remains a cultural center. “I would like to give this building to the people of New York City to share with the world,” Hillman said during a hearing Tuesday.

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Policy

Comfort station of DeWitt Clinton Park in Hell’s’ Kitchen; via Wikimedia

Bathrooms in the city’s parks are flush with cash. The average comfort station built by the New York City Parks Department costs taxpayers just under $3.6 million, according to a report by Yoav Gonen of THE CITY. The Parks Department spent $1.3 million on average for bathrooms in 2011. Last year, the city finished its most expensive park bathroom to date, a $4.7 million station at the Bronx’s Ferry Point Park West.

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hudson yards, Landscape Architecture

Rendering via MVVA and the Hudson Yards Development Corporation

Update 3/25/19: Tishman Speyer bought last week an auto repair building on West 36th Street for $20 million, the New York Post reported Monday. The company will demolish the two-story building to make way for a greenway that will be the next segment of Bella Abzug Park. In exchange for paying for the new park, Tishman Speyer will get air rights from the city to put up a tower bounded by Tenth and Eleventh Avenues.

The city on Friday renamed a park near Hudson Yards in honor of the late Bella Abzug, a former U.S. Representative of New York and stalwart supporter of the women’s rights movement. The greenspace, formerly Hudson Yards Park, stretches just over two acres between West 33rd and 36th Street. First developed with the extension of the 7 subway line to 34th Street, the park will soon be extended to 39th Street and run over an Amtrak rail cut.

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Midtown East, Upper East Side

east river park, east river promenade, east river greenway, nyc parks

Image: Wikimedia commons.

NYC Parks has announced that Mayor Bill de Blasio has allocated $75 million in additional funding for ongoing East River Esplanade reconstruction projects underway from East Midtown through East Harlem. The new funding has been allocated to three distinct esplanade projects: East Harlem from 114th to East 117th Streets, the Upper East Side from East 90th to East 94th Streets and Midtown East from East 62nd to East 63rd Streets.

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City Living, Policy

Concept rendering of Harlem River Greenway Link view toward RFK Bridge.

The NYCEDC, the NYC Parks department and NYC DOT announced today the results of a study on how to close the 32-mile loop of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway along with plans to invest over $250 million to get the project started in Inwood, Harlem, East Harlem and Midtown. The Manhattan Waterfront Greenway announcement outlines a strategy for connecting open waterfront spaces that total over 1,000 acres that will add about 15 acres of quality open space and integrate the Greenway into surrounding neighborhoods.

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Long Island City

Via NYC Parks

A Long Island City parks group wants to change the name of Hunter’s Point South Park, a waterfront green space in the Queens neighborhood, the LIC Post reported on Thursday. The Hunters Point Parks Conservancy, a nonprofit organization that manages the 11-acre park, says despite being a “gem of Queens,” the park does not have “the city-wide recognition it deserves.”

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Featured Story

Features, Interviews, People

Park image via Elliot Scott on Flickr; image of Silver via NYC Parks

Mitchell J. Silver, the commissioner of New York City Parks Department, tells us he’s 58 years old. But with his vibrant enthusiasm and energy for parks, fitness and life in general, it’s hard to believe. Only as he details a list of his achievements and accolades over the years does his age show. Silver, who oversees the management and operations of nearly 30,000 acres of city parks, calls himself the “commissioner of fun,” a title he strives to live up to every day. This summer, Silver launched “Cool Pools,” an initiative to renovate public pools, celebrated making Central Park car-free, and increased accessibility to parks for all New Yorkers. If you want to feel good, follow his Instagram and see him sliding, swinging, running, jumping, swimming, kayaking and more.

Silver is training for his first marathon this November (with his best friend from college) after completing four half marathons. 6sqft jogged beside the commissioner and got his running commentary on the biggest challenges facing NYC parks, what he attributes his success to, what we can expect for the future and where he buys his running gear.
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Featured Story

Features, photography, The urban lens

© New York City Department of Parks & Recreation

Before iPads and air-conditioning, New Yorkers of all ages sought entertainment outside. And since backyards and open space in the city are practically non-existent, games took place outside of apartment buildings, spilling out onto the streets and sidewalks. Twentieth-century New Yorkers improvised games in streets and parks, including classics like kick the can, off the wall and stickball. Preserved and documented from an NYC Parks archivist, photos from this era will make you wistful for the simplicity of urban street games.

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Events

Long Island City community garden, photo via Quench Your Eyes on Flickr

With nearly 600 community gardens across New York City, picking just one to join can be difficult. GreenThumb, the largest community garden program in the country, wants to help connect New Yorkers with local gardens by hosting the first-ever Open Garden Day NYC. This Saturday, the organization will celebrate their 40th anniversary by opening more than 70 community gardens to the public, with lots of free, environmentally-friendly activities.

Go green

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