New York City on Friday issued two requests for proposals to operate an ice rink and carousel in Central Park formerly run by the Trump Organization. Following the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the city would terminate agreements with former President Donald Trump’s company for the operation of the Wollman and Lasker Rinks, the Central Park Carousel, and the Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point. The city’s Parks Department this week announced it is looking for new companies to operate and manage the Wollman Rink and the Carousel.
Stanziola, P. (1964) Mayor Wagner greets Dr. & Mrs. Martin Luther King, Jr. at City Hall / World-Telegram & Sun photo by Phil Stanziola. 1964. [Photograph]; Courtesy of the Library of Congress
While some of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s most memorable moments of his career happened further South, like the Montgomery bus boycott and his “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, support for his goals hailed first from advocacy organizations based in New York City, like the National Urban League. King held sermons at Riverside Church in Morningside Heights, led a march from Central Park to the United Nations in protest of the Vietnam War, and received a Medallion of Honor from Mayor Robert Wagner. As a way to honor King and his immense impact on the advancement of civil rights, the city has named streets, parks, playgrounds, and more after the icon. On MLK Day this Monday, celebrate by learning about memorials dedicated to him citywide.
Dozens of New York City parks will glow with holiday displays this year, bringing some much-needed cheer to all five boroughs. The city’s Parks Department last week released an interactive map that marks all of the menorah and Christmas tree lightings at parks and administrative buildings in the city by borough. The agency is encouraging New Yorkers to stay local and enjoy the illuminated green spaces in their neighborhoods.
More than 60 parks organizations and community groups are leading cleanups at green spaces across the city this weekend, in response to a growing trash problem at parks. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March, park use in New York soared, as it was one of the safest activities available to residents during the peak of the crisis. But the increase in visitors put additional strain on park management, which is struggling to keep up because of COVID-19 related budget cuts. On October 17, New Yorkers for Parks, City Parks Foundation, Partnership for Parks, and NYC Parks are encouraging New Yorkers to volunteer for a day of cleaning and beautifying the city’s parks in every borough.
The city’s parks department will resume issuing permits for outdoor youth sports next month, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Friday. While the fields and ballparks have been open throughout the coronavirus pandemic, NYC Parks will issue permits for organized, low-risk sports played outdoors starting on September 15. Sports leagues for baseball, softball, and soccer will be issued permits, but indoor sports, including swimming, will not be allowed.
Coronavirus-related budget cuts and an increase in use may be to blame for the growing garbage problem across New York City green spaces. As Gothamist reported, the number of 311 complaints about garbage and litter increased by 120 percent from the same period last summer. To address this increase in green space litter and to encourage New Yorkers to “show your park some love,” the city’s Parks Department launched a new “Toss Your Trash” campaign last week.
Contradictory to its “concrete jungle” nickname, New York City is home to over 19,000 acres of natural areas, consisting of forest, salt marsh, freshwater wetland, and streams. A new map from the Natural Areas Conservancy (NAC) highlights the location, size, and condition of natural resources throughout the five boroughs, while comparing the percentage of green space among neighborhoods, parks, and City Council districts. When the coronavirus pandemic hit the city, New Yorkers explored more wild parts of city parks as a way to get fresh air and maintain a safe distance from others. But according to the Conservancy, the increase in visitors is putting additional strain on park management, at a time when budgets across the country are being slashed because of COVID-19.
Photo of Sheep Meadow in Central Park on May 4, 2020 © 6sqft
Parks and public green space proved to be a lifeline for New Yorkers during the peak of the pandemic, for both their physical and mental wellbeings. But not all parks are created equal, as reports from the city’s Independent Budget Office and the Trust for Public Land found. In many low-income and minority neighborhoods, where cases and rates of death from COVID-19 were experienced disproportionately, residents lacked access to quality green space, especially when space like playgrounds and basketball courts, closed for nearly three months.
View from John Street Rendering courtesy of Woods Bagot/ NYC Parks
An open-air waterfront restaurant and bar could be coming to the South Street Seaport Historic District. The Howard Hughes Corporation and the city’s Parks Department on Tuesday presented a proposal to the Landmarks Preservation Commission for a new concession along the East River Esplanade under the FDR Drive overpass. Designed by Woods Bagot, the “Blockhouse Bar” would be a year-round establishment, with plans to add decking over the pavement, planters, and vinyl coverings during the winter months.
Photo by Kreg Holt
Summer is not totally canceled in New York City. Governors Island will officially reopen to the public next week for passive activities only and with a new reservation system for ferries. The Trust for Governors Island announced on Wednesday a system that lets visitors reserve tickets for ferry trips to the 172-acre site for the first time ever, as a way to allow for social distancing. Originally planned to open for the season in May, the Trust had postponed its opening in April because of the coronavirus.