Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics



  • Advocates, City Council Members Push Mayor to Invest More in Parks

    City Council Members & advocates rally for parks funding (photo: William Alatriste/NYC Council)

    As Mayor Eric Adams continues to propose sweeping cuts across city agencies, Council members and advocates are calling on him to restore, and increase, funding for the Department of Parks and Recreation.

    Mayor Adams’ proposed $102.7 billion preliminary budget provided $520 million to the parks department, a drop of $42 million compared to the budget adopted last June and nearly $58 million lower than the latest budget modification in November.

    “As our council budget response made clear, the

  • People and Places are Key to New York City’s More Livable, Prosperous Future

    New park investments (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

    New York took a big step forward last month when Governor Hochul and Mayor Adams released Making New York Work for Everyone, a plan with 40 commitments meant to steer New York City toward economic growth and livability. The report sets goals and policies for reinvigorating the city’s commercial

  • Max Politics Podcast: City Council Member Shekar Krishnan on Priorities for NYC Parks

    Council Member Krishnan outlines his parks agenda (photo: Emil Cohen/NYC Council Media Unit)

    December 9, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: City Council Member Shekar Krishnan on Priorities for NYC Parks

    City Council Member Shekar Krishnan, a Queens Democrat, joined the show to discuss his work as chair of the Council's parks committee, his vision for the future of NYC parks and public open spaces, and more.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think, on Twitter @TweetBenMax. You can listen to the show

  • City’s Greenways Get Another Boost as Officials Plot Expansion

    NYC Greenway

    New York City’s greenways are getting another lift. Greenways, paths for pedestrians and non-motorized vehicles exclusively, are viewed by supporters as boons for safe, environmentally-friendly alternatives to traditional transportation and opportunities for quality-of-life-boosting recreation.

    Advocates stress that building these pathways, ideally in an expansive and connected network, has several benefits. Those include reducing car use and pressure on mass transit, offering venues for outdoor exercise, and creating green spaces that line the thoroughfares and prevent flooding and even

  • Better Managing Public Space is Key to New York City’s Recovery

    Public space (photo: John McCarten/City Council)

    Summer is in full swing and street fairs, parades, and block parties are enlivening public space across New York City. But these vital signs of city life exist alongside indicators of the challenges we are facing: trash blocking sidewalks, lack of staff to keep crucial community spaces activated, and the threat of traffic violence.

    The activity on our streets, parks, and stoops helps define what makes New York special. These spaces would not thrive without committed

  • In Updated Budget, Adams Fails to Follow Through on Housing and Parks Funding Promises

    Mayor Adams (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

    Mayor Eric Adams on Tuesday released a $99.7 billion executive budget proposal, a $1.2 billion increase from his February preliminary budget. Though Adams committed billions more in funding for housing and hundreds of millions for the parks department, he nonetheless failed to abide by major pledges he made while running for mayor last year. 

    As a mayoral candidate, Adams made sweeping promises for how he would lead the city. But on two fronts he was particularly

  • 6 Ways You Can Keep New York City Green This Earth Day and Beyond

    Get out to the park (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    Many New Yorkers know that Friday, April 22 marks Earth Day 2022, but few know that this year’s celebration has a theme: Invest In Our Planet. Clearly, this city’s knack for financial investment is unparalleled, yet when it comes to investing in our planet’s future, we continue to lag behind major U.S. cities in key areas such as electric

  • Strengthening New York City’s Natural Areas to Tackle Unemployment and Climate Change


    Trees and jobs (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's)

    New York City’s20,000 acresof natural areas have been a lifeline for New Yorkers throughout the pandemic and form the first line of defense against the harms of climate change. But decades of underinvestment in the care and preservation of these vital open spaces threatens their longevity, even as surging visitation adds new stresses.

    At a time when New

  • In First Budget, Adams Fails to Fulfill Pledge of 1% for Parks

    Erica Sherman/Brooklyn BP's Office

    Mayor Eric Adams as BK BP (photo: Erica Sherman/Brooklyn BP's Office)

    When he was running for the position and since becoming Mayor, Eric Adams publicly committed to increasing the budget for the Department of Parks and Recreation to 1% of the total city operating budget, which would mean nearly $1 billion annually. But as he presented his first budget plan this past week, an $98.5 billion spending plan for the next fiscal year,

  • How Our Parks Can Save Our City

    how parks our

    Cunningham Park, Queens (photo: @NYCParks)

    New York City’s parks literally saved lives during the pandemic. In my community of Jackson Heights and Elmhurst, our open spaces allowed us to escape the physical, mental, and social constraints of quarantine into fresh air. Today, our parks, pools, playgrounds, and plazas are places of reconnecting and healing for a community pushing forward from its days as the epicenter of a global crisis.

    Across our city, parks and public spaces will be essential to meeting the multiple challenges we face, from health care

  • Imagining a DeCentral Park


    Bikers in Central Park (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    The past year has taught us all just how valuable outdoor space truly is, and how much our current cityscape is sorely lacking. Nearly 20% of New Yorkers, almost 1.5 million people, are not within walking distance of a park. But there is a solution right before our eyes, a hidden “Decentral Park” in our city’s streets.

    Open Streets, Open Restaurants, and pop-up bike

  • Covid Shifts Discussion on 'Future of Open Space' in New York City

    Prospect Park Brooklyn greenery

    Prospect Park (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)

    In New York City, virtually every square foot of open space is highly contested, considered, or counted on. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, open spaces have become more important than ever. Yet while open space initiatives such as outdoor dining and car-less streets were widely praised during the summer months and into the fall, questions have persisted about how people will adapt during the winter and what the long-term plans are for the utilization of open space in New

  • Max & Murphy Podcast: Parks, Beaches and Open Space in the Coronavirus Recovery

    5 mayor first section

    (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

    June 10, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Parks, Beaches and Open Space in the Coronavirus Recovery

    adam ganser 150Adam Ganser, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Parks, joined the show to discuss the city's approach to parks, beaches, and other open space during the coronavirus pandemic and after.

    Listen to the conversation and

  • Mayor and Council Speaker Differ on Creating Open Space, Enforcing Social Distancing Amid Coronavirus Shutdown

    speaker co jo covid update

    Mayor & Speaker at a coronavirus briefing (photo: John McCarten/City Council)

    Governor Andrew Cuomo on Sunday gave New York City officials a 24-hour deadline to provide plans for enforcing social distancing in public spaces as the coronavirus continues to rage through the city and the governor said there was too much group activity in the five boroughs under his “pause” orders. Mayor Bill de Blasio has since announced some of the measures his administration is taking but his approach differs from what the New York City Council under Speaker Corey

  • NYCHA Open Space: The Next City Park Frontier

    1 nycha fro

    Samuel N. Bennerson 2nd Playground could be a model (Google, 2019)

    New Yorkers have been building parks in the most unexpected places. Popular parks have risen over rotting piers on the waterfront; on an elevated and abandoned rail freight line; and even in the middle of busy traffic intersections in Times Square. Many skeptics doubted that anyone would want to sunbathe along the East River, eat a snack in the middle of Times Square, or walk on a rickety steel structure 30 feet above the streets. The skeptics were wrong. Millions have flocked to new spaces in

  • Veterans Stand Up for Our National Parks, Time for the Federal Government To Do So Too

    vets parks mbb

    (photo: @missioncontinue)

    The Statue of Liberty has stood as a symbol of American values for more than a century. Throughout its life in New York Harbor, the landmark has welcomed immigrants to the United States and served as a historical resource for millions.

    It embodies the values that have driven our nation from its founding and that our military veterans have dedicated their lives to protect — that of freedom, acceptance, and hard work, all in search of the American Dream.

    Since the National Parks’ founding, United States veterans have served as their

  • A Better Trail to New Rail and Parkland in Queens

    queenslink rendering

    QueensLink rendering

    The Rockaway Beach Branch right-of-way is a 3.5-mile, skinny strip of land that holds the key to transforming our borough in two fundamental ways. First, it will connect north and south Queens with the rest of the city in an environmentally sustainable way. Second, it will create up to 33 new acres of park space adding value to local neighborhoods and the entire city.

    This dual-purpose project is called QueensLink.

    It was disappointing to read “...

  • A Greenway for Queens


    (rendering: DLANDstudio)

    In the heart of Queens there is a 3.5-mile strip of abandoned railroad track that represents the promise of transformation. No train has traversed its overgrown rails since 1962. A mature forest of trees towers above the derelict tracks. Weeds and wildflowers poke up amid the trash that has been dumped there.

    It is a space that could better serve some of New York City’s most diverse communities and show that every neighborhood deserves a great park and a safe place away from cars to walk, run, and cycle. 

    The Trust for Public

  • Local City Council Members Must Head Back to Drawing Board on East River Park Plan


    (photo: @ERPAction)

    An Open Letter

    Dear City Council Members Carlina Rivera, Margaret Chin, and Keith Powers:

    You have indicated that on Thursday you will vote for the flood control plan that will demolish East River Park and rebuild it 8-10 feet higher over five years. This is a $1.45 billion, five-year project that will destroy more than a mile of coastline park that is vital to our neighborhood, the un-wealthy end of the Lower East Side and East Village. I urge you to change your vote to “no” on Nov. 14. Here’s why: 

    Once this plan

  • City Council Must Act Now to Protect the Lower East Side

    escr rendering

    (rendering: City of New York)

    It has been seven years since Superstorm Sandy made landfall on our city, causing billions of dollars in damage and ravaging some of our city’s most critical infrastructure, including our parks. It took years for the famous boardwalks in Coney Island and the Rockaways to re-open. Trees across our coastlines died and continue to be at risk from exposure to salt water. And many of our coastal parks are no less protected from the next big storm today than they were in 2012.

    As a steward and advocate for our city’s parks, I know that we can’t

  • Invest in City Parks to Improve Our Public Spaces and Save the Environment


    (photo: @RiversideParkNY)

    Parks are an essential part of any city’s infrastructure. Getting into nature at an urban park lowers stress, eases depression, and fosters happiness. Parks help build community - people get out and meet each other, kids play together, mothers talk, residents meet neighbors.

    Parks are particularly invaluable in New York City, the nation’s

  • Revitalizing New York’s Aging Parks

    parks department

    (photo: Parks Department)

    New Yorkers are all too familiar with the consequences of aging urban infrastructure. Years of underinvestment in New York City’s century-old subway system has led to a full-blown transit crisis, with rampant delays, consistently overcrowded trains, and frequent equipment breakdowns.

    But the subways are just the most glaring problem in an aging city. Another vital piece of public infrastructure is also several decades old, years behind on basic maintenance, and nearing a breaking point: New York City’s parks system.

    With more

  • Investing in the Parks System New York City Deserves

    Mark Levine Council Parks

    Council Member Levine, the author (photo: William Alatriste)

    The numbers are startling: 42 million visitors per year in Central Park -- double the number of visitors to Disney World. Over 7 million people visit the High Line annually and 5 million visit Bryant Park. On a peak summer weekend 127,000 visit Brooklyn Bridge Park.

    Park use in New York City is surging. And with the population in the five boroughs continuing to grow and tourism booming, this trend will surely continue.

    But the story is not the same

  • Building in the Wrong Places: A Pivotal Choice

    hudson river park aerial

    photo: Hudson River Park Trust

    Building sites for so-called "parks" or other misplaced uses in or over the water offshore is a ruinous policy. Unprecedented proposals now before the City Council to help finance such in-water construction by selling legally dubious "air rights" (supposedly unused development rights) from sites in the lower Hudson River--starting with Pier 40--or other public waterways to mega-developers would magnify this harmful policy's potentially catastrophic citywide impacts.

    Joanne Witty's ...

  • Building and Maintaining Parks in New York City: A Reality Check

    brooklyn bridge park bbp

    Brooklyn Bridge Park (photo via Henrik Krogius)

    Recently, there has been considerable focus on the idea that public parks are important to the health and wellbeing of New Yorkers. Mayor Michael Bloomberg invested $5 billion in parks during his 12 years in office after decades in which even caring for existing parks was a low city priority. Mayor Bill de Blasio has made his Community Parks Initiative a centerpiece of his agenda to reduce inequality in all aspects of city life. Since announced, the number of community parks targeted has increased from 35 to 67,