Saturday, November 3, 2012

Parks Open After Hurricane Sandy

Central Park - Open For Business -  November 3, 2012.  The city's parks re-opened this morning at 8:00am after being closed for nearly a week due to Hurricane Sandy.
(Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on Images to enlarge.

Some areas in Central Park including playgrounds remain closed. The 843 acre park lost 300 trees as a result of Hurricane Sandy. The New York City Marathon was finally canceled which would have concluded in the park.

A family watched a tree damaged by Hurricane Sandy being removed.

Central Park -  W. 110th Street & Adam Powell Jr. Blvd.- November 3, 2012.  A Central Park Conservancy worker removes a PARK CLOSED DUE TO STORM CONDITIONS sign and barricades. 

Central Park - October 30, 2012 - Sign Of The Times. PARK CLOSED DUE TO STORM CONDITIONS.  Police and a fence prevent the public from accessing the park at the Engineers' Gate entrance at Fifth Avenue & 90th St.  Sandbags help secure the fencing in place. 


By Geoffrey Croft

This morning scores of runners, bikers, strollers, and famlies filed into parks across the city. 

After being closed for almost a week due to the destructive forces of Hurricane Sandy the majority of New York City parks and playgrounds reopened this morning as of 8:00am.

Recreation centers are closed. The city’s beaches and boardwalks which suffered extensive storm damage are also closed. 

Before heading out check the current list of closed parks and facilities as a number of them remain shuttered. 

St. Catherine's Park - Manhattan. E. 68th Street & 1st Avenue.  Playgrounds opened for the first time since Sunday. 

Signage and caution tape at park entrances indicate which sites remain closed. And while a park may be open, specific areas or sections within the park may be closed due to downed trees and other storm impacts, according to the Parks Department.  

In Central Park thousands of people were already in the park a few minutes after 8.

Large groups of runners were taking advantage of the morning light while a phalanx of forestry crews were busy removing dangerous trees.

Throughout the park hundreds of dog owners were walking and playing with their canine friends.  

"It's feels great,"  said Harlem resident Daryl Yarmolobet, 32, who walked down from 125th street with his dog Evy.

"It feels wonderful to get back to normal what ever normal is. We need our parks." 

Central Park - Joggers fly past a downed tree.   November 3, 2012.

 November 3, 2012. A contractor removes a damaged tree. 

The city lost tens of thousands of trees, many park facilities and features were destroyed while many others were severely damaged.

These extraordinary circumstances require everyone to be extra cautious.  Damaged trees, and hanging limbs may still come down well after the storm.  Be extra vigilant and stay away from damaged trees. Visitors should exercise caution as post-hurricane work continues.  Please do not go into any parks until the Parks Department announces that the park is open. 

Park Damage

Reports are beginning to come in regarding the extent of the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.  Not surprisingly the parks with conservancies have the most detailed information.  

*  Central Park.  The current estimate is that approximately 300 trees were destroyed and over 250 were damaged by the storm. There has also been damage to the park benches, fencing and ballfield equipment. Conservancy staff has worked with twelve teams of contractors, paid for and supervised by the Conservancy, to expedite restoration of the Park.

*  Prospect Park.  Over 300 hundred trees are down or so badly damaged that they will be taken down for safety. There were over 100 hanging limbs and , almost 1, 000 large branches and limbs are down or damaged.  

*   Fort Tryon Park - Manhattan. Over 100 trees have been damaged or destroyed.

Tree Issues

At this time, the Parks Department is prioritizing only service requests for storm related tree damage. To report a tree issue, please call 311 or text 311-692, or submit an online forestry service request. For more information, please visit our Hurricane Sandy Update page.

The Latest Numbers: Total Tree Calls: The total storm-related service requests is 15,837; of these requests, 10,326 were for Trees Down according to the Parks Department. (Photo: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge.


Many of New York City’s parks and playgrounds were impacted by Hurricane Sandy. The City and many non-profit partners are looking for volunteers to help with the clean up.  

If you would like to volunteer with NYC Parks to aid in clean-up and recovery, please review the list of parks and playgrounds that are in need of assistance and go to to sign up.

Over 3,000 people have registered so far according to the Parks Department. 

John Jay Park - Manhattan - November 2, 2012. Excited park patrons small and large converge on a park supervisor on 77th & East End Avenue to ask when the popular park would be open. 

Central Park

Some areas in Central Park including the playgrounds, Reservoir running track, North Meadow Ballfields, Great Lawn Ballfields, Sheep Meadow, North Woods, sections of the Ramble, and some smaller landscapes remain closed. The 843 acre park lost about 300 trees as a result of Hurricane Sandy. The New York City Marathon was finally canceled which would have concluded in the park.

The Great Lawn - Central Park - October 30, 2012.  Forty-one lives have been lost in the city as a result of Hurricane Sandy so far. (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge.

Fallen oak at the Tennis Center. (Photo: The Central Park Conservancy)

(After)  November 3, 2012 - (Photo: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates)

Tennis Courts - November 3, 2012. Contractors remove the remains of a downed 100-year- old Oak tree.

Prospect Park

Some areas will remain off limits to the public while cleanup continues. The Lincoln Road Playground, Stewart Playground (at the Parade Ground), the area around Nellie's Lawn, and most of the Woodlands remain closed to the public until further notice. Many other areas will be marked by caution-tape and the public must use care and avoid these areas.  

According to the Prospect Park Alliance the damage to Prospect Park from Hurricane Sandy far exceeds what any storm has done to the Park in the 25 year history of the  Alliance. Over 300 hundred trees are down or so badly damaged that they will be taken down for safety. There were over 100 hanging limbs and  almost 1,000 large branches and limbs are down or damaged.  

"NYC Service brought over 170 volunteers into Prospect Park today to help clean up and they will be bringing many more on Saturday and Sunday,"  Emily Lloyd, Prospect Park Alliance President and Park Administrator said in a statement.  "

We also had 50 Army recruiters who were attending a meeting at Fort Hamilton and members of the United States Forest Service helping clear damaged areas. We are grateful for everyone's support and service to the Park."  

The opportunity to volunteer in Prospect Park through NYC Service this weekend has reached capacity.  Please check for ongoing volunteer opportunities below. If you register there, you will be notified when future volunteer opportunities are planned.  There are a few weeks left in the ongoing volunteer season. You can sign up to volunteer on the Alliance's website and registered volunteers can use the website to sign up for any ongoing group or special efforts that are posted online. 

Prospect Park. (Photos: The Prospect Park Alliance) 

Shaded areas are closed to the public while cleanup continues.

Storm Damage and Recovery Efforts Summary
(as of November 1, 2012)
  • All 38 zones have been thoroughly inspected.
  • 222 trees down.
  • 113 hanging limbs.
  • 97 severe damage / leaning trees.
  • 38 large limbs down.
  • 909 other large branches damaged.
  • Finished clearing all perimeter sidewalks.
  • Caution-taped all hazards (hanging limbs) on perimeter locations.
  • Lincoln Road Playground is closed until reconstructed.
  • 3rd St Playground & Imagination Playground are free of debris and any hazards.
  • Other playgrounds have nearby tree conditions that need to be addressed.
  • Seasonal staff have been extended through November 30.
Fort Tryon Park

Fort Tryon Park will be closed into next week.  For updates on park openings, visit the Parks Hurricane Sandy Update Page.

The Fort Tryon Park Trust reports that well over 100 trees have been damaged or destroyed. The historic art deco flagpole on the David Rockefeller Linden Terrace was toppled and thrown down onto the retaining wall and pathway below. The Broadway Promenade was significantly hard hit with many large trees  downed.  Numerous trees around The Cloisters Museum and Sir William’s Dog Run were destroyed.  The majestic elms that John D. Rockefeller, Jr. had installed in the park as mature specimens over 77 years ago, suffered major damage. 

Fallen Flagpole at David Rockefeller Linden Terrace. 

The  Alpine Garden and Heather Garden have been preserved and the gardens are largely intact.  Unfortunately access to these areas of beauty has been obstructed by massive fallen trees or hanging limbs over pathways. A storm damage photo album has been posted on the Fort Tryon Park Trust’s Facebook Page to highlight some of the damage to this beloved park.

Fort Tryon Park.

Volunteer for Storm Cleanup  Saturday, November 3rd 10am -1pm  Volunteer at the north end of the park in Anne Loftus Playground on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., to help with playground clean up at Anne Loftus and nearby sites. To volunteer, register for NYC Parks Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts in Manhattan by clicking here

Brooklyn Bridge Park

The park was affected by damaging floodwaters that impacted several areas of the park including play surfaces in the Swing Valley playground at Pier 6 and the playgrounds at Main Street and Pier 1. Electrical and irrigation equipment were also affected by flooding, as were our lawns and horticulture. While we continue our clean-up efforts, we are excited to welcome you all back!

All pathways will be open from dusk until dawn, including the following areas of the park:
   - Main Street dog run
   - Tobacco Warehouse and Picnic Grove at Empire Fulton Ferry
   - East River Ferry at Pier 1
   - Sandbox Village, Slide Mountain and the dog run at Pier 6

The following areas of the park will be closed until further notice:
   - Main Street playground
   - Jane's Carousel at Empire Fulton Ferry
   -  Pier 1 playground
   -  Sand Volleyball Courts at Pier 6
   -  Swing Valley at Pier 6

Please note that all lawns will be closed temporarily while damage is repaired. All closures are subject to change so please check the Facebook page for regular updates.

They are lloking for volunteers today. Space is limited, registration required. 
Main Street Clean Up
2 pm - 5 pm | Click here to register

Carl Schurz Park. E. 90th Street. Part of a seawall and walkway along the East river Greenway collapsed along the waterfront. Crews are working to repair the site.

East River Greenway Closed- 90th Street. November 2, 2012.  Part of a seawall and walkway collapsed along the waterfront in Carl Schurz Park. 

Randall’s Island - November 1, 2012.  A jogger makes her way around a fallen tree blocking a path. The majority of Randall’s Island Park is open with the exception of Fields 41-45, 70-71, 80-81 and the waterfront path between 103rd St and Boardwalk. The golf center and tennis center are open for business.   

The park is also looking for volunteers today

Randall's/Ward's Island - November 1, 2012.  11, 8 and 4-year-old brothers climb on a fallen Willow tree along the waterfront.   

NYCHA's East River Houses - E. 103rd Street- November 1, 2012.  Kids play on a fallen tree which landed in a playground.  

Food and Water Distribution Locations

Coffey Park at Richards Street

Read More:

A Walk In The Park - November 1, 2012 

A Walk In The Park - November 1, 2012 

A Walk In The Park - October 31, 2012 

A Walk In The Park - October 31, 2012 

A Walk In The Park - October 30, 2012 

A Walk In The Park - October 29, 2012 

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