Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Parks Department

Parks Department

  • cuny mashup

    CUNY students during their Natural Areas Conservancy internship


    Even studying the great outdoors remained mostly indoors this year for CUNY students. Twelve young adults interested in ecology from the public university system participated in a virtual internship with The Natural Areas Conservancy this summer to create an ecological profile of parks across the city. Despite the pandemic, these students gained paid work experience during a widespread job drought and were able to develop their ecological skills and knowledge. Plus, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation

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    Pizza Rat (Youtube); Dilapidated NYC Parks Bathroom, NYC Comptroller’s Office


    The tens of millions annual tourists who supercharged New York City’s economic growth during the past few decades looked past the low public hygiene standards in their pursuit of skyline views and Broadway shows. Public restrooms? Very few and mostly awful. Overcrowded sidewalks? We got ‘em! Millions of long-suffering visitors and residents have had to tolerate oozing garbage bags on city sidewalks, grimy subway stations, crowded playgrounds, gross bathrooms in city parks, and more. When a pizza-eating rat in

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    (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

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  • 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

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  • menchaca constituent

    Council Member Menchaca with a constituent (photo: William Alatriste)


    For City Council Member Carlos Menchaca and his staff, the Participatory Budgeting Vote Week that just ended was the culmination of a year-long effort to encourage project proposals and votes from communities that are traditionally excluded from politics. Through PB, community members decide how $1-2 million in funding is allocated toward neighborhood improvements. Menchaca’s district, which includes immigrant-rich Brooklyn neighborhoods of Sunset Park and Red Hook, is one

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