A Quiz On NYC's Parks Commissioner

Updated: Answers at bottom!

On Saturday night 9/6, NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe was honored by local group, the Lower East Side Ecology Center, along with others including NY City Council Member Rosie Mendez and No Impact Man Colin Beavan. Parks Commissioner Benepe’s name in the list of honorees drew particular scrutiny from parks/public space/environmental activists and advocacy groups.

Urban environmentalist and activist, Mitchel Cohen of the Brooklyn Greens and No Spray Coalition (fighting toxic pesticide spraying in NYC), took action. He designed a flyer and he, along with Village community activist and parks advocate, Elizabeth Adam, put them in the hands of those attending the event. (In Saturday’s pouring rain, I might add!). The flyer, the text of which I’ve posted below, asked some illuminating questions. Do you know the answers?

***How Much Do You Know About NYC’s Parks Commissioner?



As Commissioner of NYC Parks Department, Adrian Benepe has presided over an unprecedented destruction of our parks on behalf of private business interests, from Washington Square to Randall’s Island, Union Square to Kaiser Field in Coney Island.

1. How many trees did Adrian Benepe’s NYC Parks Dept. chop down in East River Park?
a. None. We need to preserve our trees as an essential part of NYC’s urban environment.
b. 2. We had to remove two trees because they were already dead, but this didn’t affect the wildlife habitat there.
c. 18. Trees do absorb waters from high rains and floods, but we figured that NYC has plenty of trees and is elevated high enough above the flood plain.
d. 105. Yea, and if you guess this figure you probably also believe that there are crucial unanswered questions in the takedown of the World Trade Center on 9/11.

2. Why is Adrian Benepe ripping up natural grass and installing synthetic turf in many of NYC’s parks?
a. He believes that artificial turf represents progress.
b. He believes that it’s too difficult to maintain real grass the way God intended, especially with 70 percent budget cuts to the Parks Department.
c. He likes to watch the helicopters and trucks spray toxic pesticides that pool on the artificial turf, the better for children to play in.
d. He thinks that the 168 degrees temperatures the synthetic turf can reach and the toxins it gives off can be controlled by spraying water on the fields.

a child

3. On the left is a photo of a child whose feet were severely burned while playing on the Parks Department-installed rubber mats.
a. How hot can these mats get when the sun shines directly on them?
b. How many children are treated each year for similar burns?
c. Why didn’t Benepe have these materials tested before installing them in playgrounds, to avoid children getting burned?
d. What has been the City’s response to children being burned?

4. Which multi-millionaire provided funds (and how much?) to bulldoze Washington Square Park in order to have the new fountain named after him?

a. Laurence Tisch

b. David Rockefeller

c. Osama bin-Laden

d. George Bush

The above is just a small sampling of what’s happening to our parks. For much more information, contact the Brooklyn Greens at BrooklynGreens-owner -at- yahoogroups.com, and we’ll send you a list of people and organiza¬≠tions in your neighborhood who are working to protect and improve our parks.

Text Above, Courtesy Mitchel Cohen, Brooklyn Greens

Photo: Courtesy Geoffrey Croft, NYC Park Advocates.

ANSWERS: (How many did you answer correctly?)

1. d.
2. b&d.
3. a-165 degrees Fahrenheit; b-at least 12; c-good question! d-Believe it or not, NYC plans to fine parents whose children want to play barefoot in the parks
4. a. $2.5 million

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2 thoughts on “A Quiz On NYC's Parks Commissioner”

  1. I laughed out loud when I heard that Benepe was getting honored. I thought it was a joke, and then I read on and was pretty shocked, considering all of his deeds. Just his defense of that ridiculous astro turf should have immediately disqualified him. That’s a bit of a deal breaker in terms of the environment, no? Especially when it is endangering the welfare of people who come into contact with it. Then there is the fact that he sure loves to use that chainsaw on healthy trees whenever he and his friends feel compelled to put THEIR spin on OUR parks. So let’s give the man an environmental honor? Really??? It is a joke. That quiz completely nails it.


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