Just one day after Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that 10 playgrounds across the city were closed because of overcrowding issues, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday that all NYC playgrounds would be closed, seemingly going over the mayor’s head. The governor did note that parks and other open spaces will remain open, though, he said, “The NYPD has to get more aggressive. Period,” referring to social distancing requirements.
The “bluffs” zone includes five granite slides and boulder scrambles; renderings courtesy of BKSK Architects & Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners
As the threat of climate change grows, parks in New York City are working to become more resilient. Officials on Thursday broke ground on an $18.3 million waterfront playground at the Battery in the Financial District. The Battery Playscape, as it’s being called, is expected to be one of the city’s largest sustainable parks. It will triple the size of the current playground and will feature a rainwater runoff system and a wide variety of durable plants.
February marks Black History Month, a nationwide celebration of African American culture and history. New Yorkers will have plenty of opportunities to honor the contributions made by the black community, with live performances, guided tours, comedy shows, art installations, and more events happening across the city. From the Apollo Theater’s open house celebration to spoken word performances at Brooklyn barbershops, pay tribute to the achievements of black Americans this February, as well as all year round.
Proposed outdoor seating facing the park; Rendering by Inca Architecture, courtesy of NYC Parks
A restaurant with outdoor seating could be coming to McCarren Park in Brooklyn next year. The city’s Parks Department is working with the owners of the entertainment venue Brooklyn Night Bazaar, which closed its doors permanently last fall, to bring a new concession to the McCarren Park House, a structure built in the early 20th century and designed by McKim, Mead, and White. As Brooklyn Paper first reported, the restaurant, expected to open in spring 2021, would help finance a $1.2 million renovation of the crumbling comfort station’s facilities.
The city wants to restore the Upper West Side’s 79th Street Boat Basin as a waterfront resource for the community. Last month, the Parks Department presented a $90 million proposal to Community Board 7 that would reconstruct docks damaged by previous storms, add additional boating berths to increase capacity, and make the area more resilient to climate change. According to the West Side Rag, the board, as well as many residents, support the project.
Manhattan Councilman Mark Levine introduced a resolution on Thursday urging Mayor Bill de Blasio to terminate the Trump Organization’s ongoing contracts with the city, the Daily News reports. The president’s company has four contracts with the Parks Department to operate the Lasker and Wollman Skating Rinks in Central Park, the Central Park Carousel, and the Trump Golf Links in the Bronx. Levine—who issued similar demands in 2018 and 2015—argued that the contracts violate the Domestic Emoluments Clause of the Constitution and that Trump’s association with the venues is causing the city to lose money.
Photo by Danny Avila for NYC Parks
Although it’s technically safe, you may not want to swim in the East River. Swimming on the East River, however, is an entirely different story. The Floating Pool Lady is not just a pool. It’s a floating pool located in a retrofitted barge that’s currently docked in Barretto Point Park in the Hunts Point neighborhood of the Bronx. Best of all, it’s the only floating pool in the country.
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.
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.
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.