The NYC Parks Department is doing a public survey and would like your input.
Visit here to complete the survey.
There is an opportunity to comment along the way and primarily at the end. Some ideas for improvement in the way Parks Department operates would be:
1. Stop privatization of our public spaces. If the Parks Department would focus on maintaining the parks and not have to do splashy pr-photo op-overhauls of these public spaces, money would go to maintenance and repair. When parks are elaborately overhauled, they then require additional maintenance. This is when the Parks Department pushes for privatization of the space and it’s a vicious cycle. Then a private entity becomes the arbiter of the space. Our public parks must remain public.
2. Stop the reduction of our public spaces. (Washington Square Park, Union Square Park, and Yankee Stadium Parkland all come to mind).
3. Keep parks maintained and repaired vs. overhauling them. (Relates to #1.) At Washington Square Park, pathways are cracked and uneven, the bathrooms needs repair, the lawns had not been tended to for ages. If these things had been done, the Parks Department would have never gotten away with its plans for an unnecessary and extensive redesign (not a “renovation”) with costs upward of $25-$30 million. The Park could have been repaired for $6-$7 million, thereby saving the city money that — particularly during this “financial crisis” — could be applied (still) to keeping jobs and sparing cuts from our necessary city services, such as sanitation, police, education, libraries.
4. LISTEN to community input and work with community members on any redesigns of parks. (See: Washington Square Park where community members have been ignored as well as at Union Square Park, Yankee Stadium Parkland in the Bronx, Randalls Island, Tompkins Square Park, Highland Park/Ridgewood Reservoir on the Brooklyn/Queens border, more.)
5. Work existing trees in our parks into any redesigns of parks. (See Washington Square Park – 14 trees cut down thus far; Yankee Stadium Parkland, formerly Macomb Dams Park and John Mullaly Park – 400 trees sacrificed; Union Square Park – 14 trees chopped down; Randalls Island – perhaps 1000 trees axed; East River Park – 105 trees murdered.) It’s somewhat hypocritical to say you want to plant a “million trees” while destroying wonderful, mature trees that are part of the urban landscape.
6. Place value on parks and public spaces as community gathering spots, as places for expression of art, of politics, of music, as opportunities to connect with people they just might not otherwise. The survey does not address this at all. This is the great value of our public spaces and needs to be placed first ahead of business and corporations and real estate values and “sponsors” (see Chanel, Central Park). The importance of these spaces as locales for free speech and democracy to flourish must be nurtured and recognized.
So go forth and complete the survey!