According to New York Jobs With Justice: “Years ago, NYC’s public parks were administered by over 7,500 municipal employees of the Department of Parks and Recreation. Today, it’s only 2,500 municipal employees taking care of NYC’s public parks. This number continues to shrink as the years go by. Much of the labor has been privatized through city partnerships with non-profit administrators resulting in a two-tier work force of public servants in the City’s public parks.”
That is a 66% reduction in Parks Department workers. Since so much has been willingly privatized (by the City), it’s hard to know what the actual number of workers is now.
Another result of the reduction in the Parks Department budget and the City government’s focus on privatization of our public spaces is that private entities manage the space and also deem how that space is used.
In addition, the City sells off naming rights to, for example, the fountain at Washington Square Park under the ruse that they can’t afford to repair it otherwise, and they agree to re-name it Tisch Fountain for $2.5 million (and it ends up being moved, unnecessarily “aligned,” along with the deal) …
The Parks Department accepts a $7 million “anonymous” donation with STIPULATIONS – strings attached – that this donation ensures that there is a private restaurant in the historic Pavilion at Union Square. Although it hasn’t been revealed who the donor is, somehow restauranteur Danny Meyer, who is also co-chair of the Union Square Partnership (the local BID-business improvement district), is the only name bandied about as the choice to helm the restaurant.
You can see how much of a slippery slope this whole privatization game is.