March 12, 2013. An abandoned vehicle in the long- suffering Pugsley Creek Park in the Bronx. New York City’s park system ranked second, behind Minneapolis’s, in a "survey" of the nation’s 50 largest cities conducted by former parks commissioner Adrian Benepe's new employer The Trust for Public Land. Apparently park conditions were not a factor in determining the results. (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge.
New York City’s park system ranked second, behind Minneapolis’s, in a survey of the nation’s 50 largest cities by the Trust for Public Land according to another effusive New York Times parks article.
The trust, a nonprofit conservation group, looked at a number of factors, including park access, size, services and public investment to determine scores that ranged from a single park bench to five (a perfect score). New York, which last year came in third, scored 4.5 benches.
The success of New York City in the survey, to be released on Wednesday, was an affirmation of the tenure of Adrian Benepe, who served as New York City parks commissioner for more than a decade before decamping last fall to the Trust for Public Land, where he is senior vice president and director of city park development.
May 31, 2013. An abandoned park safety light in the long-suffering High Bridge Park in upper Manhattan.
“You can’t have a great city without great parks,” said Mr. Benepe, who, under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, oversaw 1,700 parks and beaches during a period of expansion and major capital investment. Mr. Benepe noted that in this year’s survey, the ParkScore Index, New York pulled ahead of Boston, which it had tied last year. “It’s strong across the board, but particularly with park access,” he said of New York. (The survey was data-driven, so Mr. Benepe did not recuse himself from the judging.)
Park access measures the percentage of residents living within a 10-minute walk, or a half mile, of a park. In New York City, according to the survey, 96 percent of residents fall within those parameters. New York also scored high on park spending per resident. From 2008 to 2010, New York’s park expenditures — a combination of capital and operations — averaged $160 per resident.
One area of weakness for New York was median park size. Median park size is a little over an acre in New York, while the national median is five acres. “While New York has some really huge parks, a half-acre park cancels out a 1,000-acre park when you do medians,” Mr. Benepe said. “Sometimes, history is destiny with how cities develop.”
But the city scored high on the percentage of total area dedicated to parks; almost 20 percent of New York City is public parkland, second only to San Diego.
Other high-scoring cities included Boston, which tied with Sacramento and San Francisco for third place. The worst performing cities, which all received only a single park bench on the scale, were Indianapolis; Charlotte, N.C.; Louisville, Ky.; and Fresno, Calif.
The Trust for Public Land provides data, analysis and interactive maps for each city on its Web site. The site identifies neighborhoods that are most in need of parks and provides local obesity rates.
May 13, 2013. Dangerous, Decrepit Conditions - Little Bay Park, Queens. Rocks have replaced grass in these heavily used soccer fields. How many more children have to get hurt until the Parks Department responds to the community's demands for action park users have been asking. Little Bay Park earned an A-plus in New Yorkers for Parks latest "Report Card" including a grade of 93 for its bathrooms even though the park does not have any - unless they count torched port-a-potties that have been melted to the ground. (Photo: Malba Gardens Civic Association)
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: June 7, 2013
An article in some editions on Wednesday about a national survey of park systems in which New York City ranked second, behind Minneapolis, misstated the amount of money per resident that the city spent on parks from 2008 to 2010. It was $160, not $8. (The $160 was $8 more than what was spent from 2007 to 2009.)
New York Times - June 5, 2013 - By Lisa W. Foderaro