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Thread: NYC Parks

  1. #151
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Snobby snobby comments.

    TL;DR for an ARTICLE.

    GMA(MF)B! They can agree with the points or not, but complaining about "OMG this is too snooty WTFBBQLOL" is just insanely immature.

    "Oh, the writer is from UC Berkeley"... OK, what does that have to do with anything?

  2. #152

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    ... and the comment on Kaufman?

  3. #153
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Now I gotta go re-read it.

    THANKS Edd!

  4. #154
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    Exploring Manhattanville's West Harlem Piers Park

    (click images to enlarge)


    [West Harlem Piers Park, located in Manhattanville, officially opened in 2009.
    All photos by Nathan Kensinger.]

    The landscape of Manhattanville is currently undergoing a radical transformation, as Columbia University constructs its campus extension in the heart of this formerly industrial neighborhood. Businesses and streets have been closed down and entire blocks demolished as part of a three-decades-long process. Alongside this ongoing demolition, the neighborhood has also seen the completion of several other projects, including the West Harlem Piers Park.

    Officially opened in 2009—after a lengthy construction process—this two-acre park is located on the former site of what guidebooks describe as "a glass-strewn, prostitute-bearing parking lot."

    Since its opening, it has become a neighborhood fixture, with many visitors even on a rainy weekday. Though small in size, the park includes a fishing pier, a boat dock, a kayak launch, several lawns, and seating areas for contemplating boat traffic on the Hudson River. Despite an abandoned garbage transfer station next door and commuter trains and car traffic zipping by overhead, the park is a surprisingly peaceful, quiet oasis in a neighborhood which is currently being dominated by demolition.

    The park, situated on the shoreline of the Hudson River, is bordered by an overhead Amtrak line and the West Side Highway.



    Designed by W Architecture, the park features a system of piers that jut out
    into the river, including boat docks and a kayak launch.



    The piers offer seating and fishing areas, with views of the Hudson River and New Jersey.



    The park's fish cleaning station also operates as an impromptu waterpark.



    A sudden downpour empties the recreation pier of fisherman and other visitors.



    The clearing skies reveal views of the George Washington Bridge.



    Scattered throughout the park are several sculptures by New York based artist Nari Ward.



    These include "Signage Rail"—a collection of poetic road barriers that remind
    visitors of the park's history as a parking lot.



    Ward's work frames a view of an abandoned marine transfer station, once used
    by the Sanitation Department to drop garbage into barges on the Hudson River.



    Just two blocks away, much of Manhattanville's formerly industrial landscape
    has also been abandoned and demolished to make way for Columbia University's new campus.



    Nathan Kensinger

    West Harlem Piers Park [NYC Parks]
    Official site: Nathan Kensinger Photography [kensinger.blogspot.com]

    http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/0...piers_park.php

  5. #155
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    Exploring the Bronx's Post-Industrial Concrete Plant Park

    by Curbed Staff


    [Concrete Plant Park, opened in 2009, is a seven-acre post-industrial park on the Bronx River.
    All photos by Nathan Kensinger.]

    Concrete Plant Park, which opened in 2009, is part of New York City's new series of parks that creatively engage their industrial past. Although overshadowed by its more famous siblings—The High Line and Brooklyn Bridge Park—this seven-acre space is the city's answer to Seattle's seminal Gas Works Park. Both parks prominently feature structures from their industrial history, and both seek to bring the public to a polluted, neglected post-industrial waterfront.

    Concrete Plant Park is located on the Bronx River, "one of the most blighted, abused waterways in the country," as the Times recently put it, and is part of the Bronx River Greenway, a project focused on renewing this body of water. Alongside its concrete silos, the park invites visitors to use its boat launch, waterfront promenade, chess tables, and a busy bike path. A peaceful but isolated outpost, the park is sandwiched between several busy bridges, and is cut off from the mainland by an Amtrak line and the Sheridan Expressway. On a hot summer day, few visitors can be seen in its sun-parched landscape, leaving its waterfront wilds to crabbers and skateboarders.

    At low tide, Concrete Plant Park reveals a rocky shoreline.


    As part of the Bronx River Greenway's bike path, the park is popular with
    skateboarders and passing bicyclists.


    Unlike Gas Works Park in Seattle, the park provides no access to its industrial relics,
    which were fenced off after an initial period of accessibility.


    The park's sole public access point to the Bronx River is a concrete stairway
    used for launching boats.


    A buoy collects debris and other pollutants in the river near the boat launch.


    The park, designed by Jim Mituzas, mainly provides views to the water from
    a promenade above.


    Chess tables are set up in the open sun along the waterfront. "The budget
    was tight, and the place lacks enough trees for shade," according to the Times.


    A crab fisherman has found his own access to the riverside, under the cement
    blocks of the promenade.


    An undeveloped, closed-off section of the park highlights the wilder side of
    the Bronx River, with debris and ruined docks under passing MTA trains.

    Nathan Kensinger

    http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/0...plant_park.php

  6. #156
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    That is nice.

    I always liked the look of Industry being taken back by Nature.

    And the fence around the relics is a no-brainer. The (second) thought in my head was "I wonder if I could climb it."

    THANK YOU MONKEY ANCESTRY!!!!

  7. #157
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    The Grass Looks Greener On The Riverside

    by Lissette Valdez


    WNYC Transmitter Park Waterfront (Photo Credit: juliewoodnyc via Instagram)

    Green outdoor space, outside of Central Park, is often thought of as a rare commodity in New York City; but now it doesn’t have to be. The recent opening of WNYC’s Transmitter Park on the East River in Greenpoint, Brooklyn is one of the many projects that will be improving over 500 miles of shoreline across the city.

    Breaking ground back in 2010, Transmitter Park is now finally open for the public to enjoy. As part of the Waterfront Vision and Enhancement Strategy(WAVES) citywide initiative, Transmitter Park supports the plan’s vision to provide more open recreational space for the city’s residents and a functional waterfront that will no longer display decaying industrial sites. The park is also a result of the 2005 Greenpoint-Williamsburg rezoning meant to provide local residents and visitors with continuous public access to the waterfront. The new park includes1.6-acres of open space with an esplanade for passive recreation, a new overlook to the south, new seating, and a pedestrian bridge built across an excavated historic ferry slip. The center of the park offers a large open lawn with a nautical themed children’s play area that reflects the site’s context, spray showers, and nature gardens.


    Plan of WNYC Transmitter Park (Courtesy NYEDC)

    Constructed upon the former site of the WNYC radio transmission towers, the New York City Economic Development Corporation, responsible for promoting economic growth within the five boroughs, oversaw the construction of the park. Funding for the $12 million dollar project included $9.6 million in city capital funds allotted by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg; $500,000 from the New York City Council; $400,000 by Brooklyn borough President Marty Markowitz; over $1.1 million in grant funds from the Federal Highway Administration and $370,000 in New York State Environmental Protection Fund grants; which are administered by the New York State Department of State.

    The parks design can be credited to EDAW/McLaren Engineering Group/WXY architecture + urban design with The LiRo Group as resident engineer, and Phoenix Marine Co. Inc. as contractor.

    http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/archives/46434

  8. #158
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    Exploring the Under-the-Radar Pier 44 Waterfront Garden

    by Sara Polsky


    [The Pier 44 Waterfront Garden in Red Hook is an unmapped park built on private property.
    All photos by Nathan Kensinger.]

    The Pier 44 Waterfront Garden is a Red Hook park that highlights the potential for creative, smaller scale development along New York's waterfront. Funded by local developer Greg O'Connell and opened in 2004, the park is situated on a small strip of private property managed by O'Connell's company, Kings Harbor View Associates. Although open to the public from 8am to 8pm, this unofficial park does not appear on Google Maps or on the 2011 NYC Cycling Map, and has no website. However, it has become a popular destination for both locals and visitors to the neighborhood.

    Despite being relatively tiny in size and located at the very edge of Red Hook, the Pier 44 Waterfront Garden is at the center of this neighborhood's eclectic mix of small businesses, arts organizations, and historic structures. The centerpiece of the park is The Waterfront Museum, which is housed on a 1914 barge, and the park also serves as a bridge between two of O'Connell's most popular waterfront tenants: Steve's Authentic Key Lime Pies is located at one end of the park, while the Fairway Market of Red Hook is at the other.

    Alongside The Waterfront Musem, the park offers up a tidal beach, a boardwalk, a jetty, and a garden designed by Lynden B. Miller, who has created public gardens for The Central Park Zoo, Bryant Park and The New York Botanical Garden. The stated mission of the Pier 44 Waterfront Garden is to create "a place for quiet relaxation" and "an opportunity to learn more about plants, birdlife and the workings of NY Harbor." To that end, many visitors find themselves contemplating its stunning panoramic views of the working waterfront.

    The park's waterfront boardwalk leads through a garden to Steve's Authentic Key Lime Pie.



    Benches along the boardwalk face out onto a view of the New York Bay.



    At low tide a beach is revealed under the boardwalk, which includes a boat launch and the remains of an old pier.



    Adjacent to the boardwalk, Lynden B. Miller's garden is dense with late summer foliage.



    A grassy seating area is located next to the beach and garden.



    The park is meant to be a quiet refuge on the waterfront.



    more pics

    Nathan Kensinger

    Public Garden Design: Red Hook [publicgardendesign.com]
    Official site: Nathan Kensinger Photography [kensinger.blogspot.com]

    http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/0...ont_garden.php

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    New Renderings, More Details About Planned First Avenue Park

    by Jessica Dailey



    Amidst all of their plans for luxury condos and rental towers, JDS Development Group is also planning a privately owned public park. Located at 626 First Avenue, the 38,000-square-foot open space will be between the pair of towers planned for the property formerly known as the First Avenue mud pit. DNAinfo unearthed some more details and new renderings of the SCAPE-designed green space, which will incorporate flood protections and salt-tolerant plantings. An interactive fountain will center the park, where zigzagging limestone and granite paths guide visitors through the space.







    Proposed Park Will Have Interactive Fountain and Flood Protections [DNAinfo]

    http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2013/1...venue_park.php

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    A Vision for the Van Cortlandt Park of the Future, Unveiled!

    by Hana R. Alberts



    For many New Yorkers, Van Cortlandt Park might seem like a bit of a non-starter. What it lacks in prominence, though, it partly makes up for in history. More than just marking the northern end of the 1 train, its trails are intimately familiar to city cross-country teams, part of the Croton Aqueduct is its most notable feature, and hey, it's actually the city's fourth-largest park. There will be other draws, too, presuming the 20-year master plan unveiled this week by parks department urban designer Charles McKinney, pictured above, comes to fruition. The Riverdale Press reports that when McKinney presented his design to Community Board 8, he explained that it stemmed from a year of meetings with neighbors.

    McKinney's proposed changes, detailed in the map above, include building a new playground near North Riverdale, constructing three pedestrian bridges over highways a la the ones in Central Park, and removing Tibbetts Brook from the sewage system and placing it aboveground so that it becomes a pleasant water feature. Trails for running and walking will remain, of course, but the design calls for more access for bikes and pedestrians in general. More details about the plan can be found here.

    City outlines first-ever master plan for Vannie [Riverdale Press via New Yorkers For Parks]

    http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2013/1...e_unveiled.php

  11. #161
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    One Side of Bronx Park Has an 18-Hole Golf Course. The Other Lacks an Essential.

    By LISA W. FODERARO


    Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times
    The western side of Ferry Point Park in the Bronx has no public restrooms, despite a decade of requests from local advocates.

    This is a tale of rich park, poor park. They just happen to be the same park.

    On the eastern side of the park, the luxurious new Trump Golf Links was completed in October.

    Ferry Point Park in the Bronx, with 422 acres on the East River, is divided neatly in half by the span of the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge. On the eastern side, construction was completed in October on the sculpted mounds of the Trump Golf Links, a new 18-hole, 192-acre golf course atop a former garbage dump. When the course, which cost $120 million, opens next summer for youth play, it will bring public golf to a luxurious new level, eventually with greens fees to match. Building it took four years, a large part of which was devoted to capping the landfill.

    On the western side, where thousands of visitors and soccer fans set up camp on weekends, the dusty fields have steel pipes for goal posts, water fountains are dry and — worst of all, parkgoers say — there are no restrooms, despite a decade of requests for one.

    The contrast between the two sides is lost on no one. “The people who will play over there have enough money to play anywhere,” said Israel Figueroa, 37, a construction worker who recently watched his 9-year-old son’s soccer practice at the park. “But what about the kids? They have nowhere else.”

    Dorothea Poggi, the founder of Friends of Ferry Point Park, said she had been asking the city to build a public restroom — a comfort station in the parlance of the parks department — since 2003.
    A few years ago, it seemed as if some progress was being made. In 2010, the parks department opened a synthetic-turf field on the western side. It installed two water misters that were supposed to keep the field cool in the summer heat, as well as water fountains. The plan was to start work immediately on a restroom, but the contractor who won the bid suddenly pulled out, leaving the project in limbo. Complicating matters was the fact that no water service had been hooked up, so the new fountains and the misters have remained dry.

    Ms. Poggi’s group used to organize several volunteer events a year, for planting bulbs and picking up garbage, at the park. But angered by the delays for the bathroom, she stopped those activities two years ago. “The parks department put up a fence with a picture of a bathroom in 2010, and we were so happy,” she recalled. “Then they took it down. I’m not going to bring in hundreds of volunteers who have to hold their knees together. It’s insulting.”

    In its defense, the parks department said the plans for a new restroom had been slowed not only by the contractor’s withdrawal, but also by new building standards after Hurricane Sandy. Zachary Feder, a department spokesman, said the bathroom’s design was revised to elevate the utilities, adding that construction could begin next fall.

    The park’s water fountains will be inoperable for at least another year. “Water service to the western portion of the park is pending construction of the comfort station,” Mr. Feder said.

    While the soccer leagues that have permits to use the fields arranged for installation of eight portable toilets, they cannot handle the several thousand parkgoers who arrive every weekend from spring through fall. As a result, people dart into stands of reeds and trees that line the park to relieve themselves. Even in late October, well-worn paths into the reeds were visible.

    Last summer the police cracked down on park users who urinated in public. “People get tickets all the time,” said Victor Bernardez, 48, who was watching his son play soccer. In addition, a nearby hotel has complained of being overrun with adults and children in search of toilets.

    Ms. Poggi, who lives a half-mile from the park, said she was pleased that a restroom was finally being built on the eastern side of the park, where a new playground had also been constructed. But because of the park’s layout, that restroom will not be accessible by the huge crowds on the west side. Until a bathroom is built there, parkgoers will continue to rely on the portable toilets, as well as the reeds. “I’m disappointed that our park is put on the back burner, especially since it’s so heavily used,” she said.

    With the towers of the Whitestone Bridge rising in the middle distance, she marveled that the parks chief Robert Moses managed to have it built in less time than it has taken the parks department to open a bathroom. The bridge opened in 1939, after just 23 months of construction.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/09/ny...l?ref=nyregion

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    Daily What?! Van Cortlandt Park Vaults From 1776 Hid NYC’s Important Records During the Revolution

    by phillipe martin chatelain



    Our very own history editor, Benjamin Waldman, happened across these mysterious vaults in Van Cortlandt Park dating from New York City’s colonial era. While researching the history of the Bronx, he read about the vaults in the book The Borough of the Bronx, 1639-1913: Its Marvelous Development and Historical Surroundingsby Harry T. Cook. Digging a little deeper, he found that the vaults pictured here were used in 1776 by Augustus Van Cortlandt, then the City Clerk, to hide important “records of the City of New York…when the City was evacuated by the Americans in 1776, and preserved until peace was restored.”


    This image from Harry Cook’s 1913 book The Borough of the Bronx, 1639-1913 shows the vaults in the early 20th century.


    At the top of Vault Hill in Van Cortlandt Park you can find the historic vaults, fortified behind walls and an ornate front gate. Harry Cook writes in his treatment of the location:

    No spot of ground around New York is so hallowed by Revolutionary memories as this. It was on Vault Hill, to the northwest of Van Cortlandt mansion, that Washington in 1781 kept a string of camp fires blazing for several days to deceive Clinton across Spuyten Duyvil Creek, where the allied French and American armies were speeding across the Jerseys on their way to Philadelphia and Yorktown. Vault Hill derived its name from ancient burial place of the Van Cortlandts.

    Here are some more of Benjamin’s photos exploring the vaults:







    http://untappedcities.com/2013/11/21...he-revolution/

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    With University’s Help, New Park on Harlem River Is a Marshland Sanctuary

    By LISA W. FODERARO


    Network of string helps discourage Canada geese from eating newly planted grasses.
    Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times

    Muscota means “place in the reeds” in the language of the Lenape, Manhattan’s original Native American inhabitants, and a new park that opened quietly in mid-January at the northern tip of the island appropriately bears the name.

    Called Muscota Marsh, the park was built by Columbia University, in collaboration with the parks department, on an acre of land on the Harlem River near the university’s Baker Field. Columbia agreed to create the park as part of the deal to build its new Campbell Sports Center, which opened nearby in the spring.

    Muscota Marsh fills a gap in access to the Harlem River for residents of the Inwood neighborhood, while extending the riverfront of adjacent Inwood Hill Park, with its 196 acres. The new park also offers kayak and canoe access from a floating dock in front of a university building that is used to store racing shells.

    The new park is unusual in its juxtaposition of a saltwater marsh and a freshwater wetland. The newly planted spartina grass, switchgrass and sedges should attract aquatic organisms, dragonflies and other insects. Those, in turn, are expected to draw wading birds like snowy egrets and black-crowned night herons.


    The park, delayed by Hurricane Sandy, will host programs for local students.
    Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times


    Until the spartina is established in the salt marsh over the next few years, an intricate web of strings and flapping banners will remain in place, forming a network a few feet above the grass. Looking like an art installation, the web is designed to discourage Canada geese from eating the spartina.

    “It’s the only plant in eastern North America that can tolerate being inundated by saltwater twice a day,” said Michael Feller, the parks department’s chief naturalist, as he gazed out at the mud flats during low tide. Ring-billed and herring gulls padded about the muck.

    While the parks department will hold an opening ceremony in the spring, local residents were already exploring the park this week. Designed by James Corner Field Operations, which also oversaw the High Line on the West Side, the park features a meandering wooden boardwalk, neat gravel paths and curvaceous wooden benches. “I love it,” said John B. Murtaugh, a former state assemblyman who lives across the street, visiting recently with his beagle Jazzie. “It was a long time coming.”

    The park’s completion was delayed by Hurricane Sandy, Columbia officials said. “We were pretty far along,” said Joe Mannino, Columbia’s vice president for capital project management. “The park was about 80 percent finished.” Then floodwaters washed over the area, damaging electrical conduits, stone pavers and plantings.

    The park, located at the corner of Indian Road and West 218th Street, will be used for education. Last June, a group of sixth graders from nearby Intermediate School 52 spent a day in the marsh with Matt Palmer, a senior lecturer in Columbia’s department of ecology, evolution and environmental biology. A week’s worth of outings are planned for students from the same school this spring.

    Columbia’s president, Lee C. Bollinger, said in a statement that the new park would create a “green space where members of the community and visitors can enjoy this beautiful waterfront location and learn about the ecological richness of the Harlem River estuary.”

    The university has also agreed to provide maintenance and security at the park.

    For the students, the marsh will function as an outdoor laboratory that allows them to collect and analyze data. “Marshes are dynamic environments, and we built this with a certain hope,” Dr. Palmer said. “But nature is going to influence the outcome. Some wildlife is going to arrive and some is not; some plants will succeed and some won’t.

    “One reason we’re excited about having long-term partnerships with the schools,” he added, “is that if students go out and perform some of the same studies year after year, they will build up a data set that will be useful for understanding the changes in the marsh over time. If students notice declines in wildlife or changes in water quality, then that can be the impetus for future management.”
    The floating dock for kayaks and canoes juts into a calm stretch of the river where harbor seals are sometimes spotted in winter. Jennifer M. Hoppa, the parks department’s administrator for parks in northern Manhattan, has paddled that section. “Even though it has an industrial grit,” she said, “it’s fabulous to be right on the water.”

    One of the goals of the marsh is to improve the river’s water quality by filtering storm-water runoff from adjacent streets. In recent years, city agencies have worked to create so-called green infrastructure in the form of environmentally sensitive playgrounds, heavily planted medians and “rain gardens” to capture and cleanse storm water.

    The freshwater portion of Muscota Marsh has a tiered system that uses sand and various plants to filter runoff. “It’s counterintuitive to most horticulturalists to use sand, which is nutrient-poor,” Mr. Feller said. “But most urban wetlands are already too nutrient-rich, and sand resists invasion by plant species like phragmites.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/20/ny...l?ref=nyregion

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    Focusing on Lesser-Known Open Spaces in New York

    By LISA W. FODERARO


    Astoria Park, along the East River and under the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, is one of the places in New York City
    that could benefit from an increase in capital funding for neighborhood parks. Richard Perry/The New York Times

    For the past year, the notion of “park equity” — that all of New York City’s parks should be equally well kept — has emerged as a hot topic in public policy discussions. It was the subject of a City Council hearing last month, and there is even a #ParkEquity hashtag on Twitter.

    Now, the issue of fairness in parks spending is surfacing in the budget negotiations underway between Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Council.

    The mayor’s preliminary budget included an additional $80 million in capital funding for “neighborhood parks,” as distinct from destination parks with well-funded conservancies, to be used at the discretion of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. And the Council’s own budget response allocated $27.5 million in additional operating money to pay for scores of new park maintenance workers, gardeners and patrol officers in every borough.

    The focus on park equity, which fits in with Mayor de Blasio’s theme of inequality, follows years of huge capital expenditures on parks under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, with almost $1 billion going to a small number of parks, like Brooklyn Bridge Park, Governors Island and the High Line.

    While many parks across the city also benefited from new capital projects, the maintenance budget lagged even as the parks system expanded by more than 800 acres. Many smaller neighborhood parks also have suffered from a lack of investment, and the parks department has often been at the mercy of council members and borough presidents to finance specific projects such as new bathrooms, dog runs and retaining walls.

    Much of the discussion on equity has centered on the role of conservancies in perpetuating an uneven parks system, especially in the wake of a $100 million gift to Central Park — already the city’s most manicured park — from a hedge-fund manager. State Senator Daniel L. Squadron has pushed legislation that would require the biggest conservancies to give 20 percent of their operating budgets to a fund for neighborhood parks.

    But the latest budget discussions have turned the conversation toward the city’s responsibility. In his opening comments at the recent public hearing on park equity, Mark D. Levine, who is chairman of the Council Committee on Parks and Recreation, noted that in the 1960s, 1.5 percent of the city’s budget went to parks. That dropped to 0.86 percent in the 1980s, and then to 0.52 percent by 2000.

    “This amount is low not just by New York City’s historic standards, but is far less than most other big cities in the nation devote to their green spaces,” Councilman Levine said.

    As conservancies in affluent parts of the city were created to take up the slack, he argued, the conditions of parks in low-income neighborhoods deteriorated.

    “The clear downside of the rise of conservancies,” he said, “is that it has dampened the political will of the city’s most influential citizens for robust public funding of the parks department, because such high-income individuals mostly live adjacent to parks benefiting from private donations.”

    Mr. Levine’s proposal to add $27.5 million to a maintenance budget of $380 million will not return the department to its high point of public funding. But it would go toward the hiring of permanent gardeners and maintenance workers — 15 for each borough — and another 150 parks enforcement patrol officers, nearly doubling the security presence in parks.

    The department has grown increasingly dependent on a work force of temporary employees who are cycling through a job-training program. The result is that more than half of the cleaning staff turns over every six months.

    Tupper Thomas, executive director of the advocacy group New Yorkers for Parks, said that both the $80 million in capital funding and the possibility of an extra $27.5 million in operations spending could make a huge difference for more needy parks.

    “The parks department has had to run so efficiently and with this additional money, you’re going to see results on the ground,” she said. “It will create a better-run park system over time.”

    Martha Lopez-Gilpin, who is co-chairwoman of the Astoria Park Alliance in Queens, said her group raised only $3,000 to $5,000 a year, money that went toward programming and supplies. She said that the current level of maintenance staffing simply could not keep up with the demands of the park, and that volunteers tried their best to fill the void.

    “We’re still raking leaves from last fall,” she said. “We have a huge tree canopy, and the leaves must be raked in order for the grass to grow.”

    The new parks commissioner, Mitchell Silver, starts in mid-May and is expected to take up the discussion about park equity.

    Already, some of the richest conservancies have come up with ways to help other parks. The Central Park Conservancy, for example, has for years sent maintenance crews to a dozen parks in Harlem and elsewhere. And it recently created the Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks to share its expertise on park management practices with other groups in the city and beyond.

    Still, Senator Squadron believes that several of the most successful conservancies, from Friends of the High Line to the Prospect Park Alliance, must realize that they are not islands. His plan would yield up to $15 million a year for more struggling parks. He said the parks department could put his plan in place itself, even if it did not succeed in the Legislature.

    “My proposal creates a broader connection between those parks that have improved so wonderfully and those parks that have not,” he said, “and it does that in an ongoing way.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/07/ny...l?ref=nyregion

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    Long Neglected, Lakes and Ponds in City Parks Will Get Some Attention

    By LISA W. FODERAR


    Flushing Creek in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is lined with phragmites, an invasive reed.
    Ángel Franco/The New York Times

    It is the largest lake in New York City, a historic salt marsh that was flooded when Flushing Meadows-Corona Park was fashioned from a former ash dump to host the 1939 World’s Fair.
    But while years of effort and millions of dollars have gone toward cleaning up the city’s major waterways, like the Hudson and Bronx Rivers, city officials and parks advocates have paid less attention to Meadow Lake and the four dozen other lakes and ponds scattered across the parkland.

    And it shows: At Meadow Lake, excessive algae can turn the water a sickly yellowish-green and the shore is lined with phragmites, an invasive reed. Its waters are compromised by runoff from the nearby Grand Central Parkway and Van Wyck Expressway, spent coals from barbecues in the park and even goose droppings.

    Now, in a possible model for other city lakes and ponds, the parks department is trying to restore the 70-acre lake to health, or at least mitigate some of the excess nutrients like phosphorous and nitrogen that cause algae blooms and other problems.

    Along the eastern bank, a recently completed project expanded the shoreline with native plants that naturally filter runoff, and a bioswale — a long channeled trench — was dug and landscaped to capture runoff before it reaches the lake.

    A similar project is under construction on the opposite shore, where on a recent afternoon, mallard ducks swam in a new wetland area, planted with sedges and rushes, whose main purpose is to intercept stormwater runoff from a large parking lot and the Grand Central Parkway beyond.

    “We can’t take it back to what Henry Hudson saw in 1609, but maybe we can take back pieces,” said Bram Gunther, chief of forestry, horticulture and natural resources for the parks department. “We have to work with what’s here today.”

    More troublesome for the oblong lake is the fact that several large pipes run underground from the Van Wyck and Grand Central and deposit runoff directly into the water. A more ambitious project now on the drawing board will unearth one such pipe and divert its flow to a new bioswale.

    “The runoff coming from the roadways is chock-full of nitrogen and other pollutants,” Mr. Gunther said.


    The parks department is trying to restore Meadow Lake's health.
    Ángel Franco/The New York Times

    The brackish lake, which is connected by a creek to Flushing Bay, is one of 47 lakes and ponds in the city’s five boroughs.

    “Meadow Lake is typical of so many city ponds in that they’re shallow and warm up easily,” said Marit Larson, the parks department’s director of wetlands restoration. “They have a relatively high nutrient load and get algae blooms that can cause an aesthetic nuisance and worse ecological problems.”

    One potential problem is depleted oxygen, which can harm ecosystems and occasionally cause fish kills, Ms. Larson said. Another issue is the proliferation of blue-green algae, technically called cyanobacteria, which poses health risks to people and animals. Contact with blue-green algae can result in nausea, vomiting, skin and throat irritations, breathing difficulty and diarrhea.

    The State Department of Environmental Conservation this summer issued cyanobacteria warnings for four bodies of water in the city: Kissena Lake in Queens, Prospect Park Lake in Brooklyn, and both the Lake and Harlem Meer in Central Park in Manhattan. The warning cautioned people to avoid contact with the water.

    The parks department recently began an assessment of all of the lakes and ponds in the city. Ms. Larson said she believed that about half were made by people, but the study will pin that down, as well as assess the biology, chemistry and hydrology of the lakes.


    A highway runs over Flushing Creek in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
    Ángel Franco/The New York Times

    Some of the artificial lakes — it is unknown exactly how many — are fed by the municipal water supply. In 1992, the federal Environmental Protection Agency required cities to add orthophosphate to the drinking water to reduce the ill effects of lead poisoning from old pipes. As a result, those lakes, including the one in Prospect Park, have an especially high level of nutrients that lead to algae blooms.

    nt professor of earth and environmental sciences at Brooklyn College who has studied Prospect Park Lake for several years. “Duckweed can completely cover the surface and almost looks like AstroTurf, whereas the algae is microscopic and has a pea soup-green color.”

    Solving the lake’s algae problem, Dr. Branco said, would require one of two interventions, both of them ambitious: removing the phosphorous from the water supply through some type of filtration process or tapping into the aquifer — the lake’s historic source — below ground.

    Another lake in trouble is in Bowne Park, in Flushing, Queens. While it is not listed as having blue-green algae, the lake has become smothered by other kinds of algae in recent summers, and residents have complained.

    This past summer, City Councilman Paul Vallone, whose district includes the 12-acre park, allocated $1.45 million toward improving the water quality in the lake, where two fountains provide some aeration. The Queens borough president, Melissa Katz, dedicated another $1 million toward the project.

    While the work in Meadow Lake is not yet finished, the parks department has teamed with local academics to monitor the water quality. Perhaps in anticipation, this past summer a new boat-rental concession opened at Ederle Terrace on the lake’s northern end, with kayaks and pedalboats.

    Frederick J. Kress, president of the Queens Coalition for Parks and Green Spaces, took a pedalboat for a spin in August. “It was terrific,” he said. “It was hard to tell how the water was. But it was so nice to go out on a lake. ”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/04/ny...l?ref=nyregion

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