Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Parks Reopen As Blizzard Skips City - Next Order of Business, Have Fun

Hundreds of people converge on Cedar Hill in Central Park for a day of winter fun.  The cascade of color provides a stark contrast to the recently fallen snow.  (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge


By Geoffrey Croft

The historic blizzard of 2015 predicted for NYC was not to be.

The storm spared NYC depositing just a fraction the anticipated snowfall.   Blizzard warnings originally called for up to 3 feet but less than eight inches fell in Central Park by Tuesday.

Parts of Long Island, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts faired much worse. 

New Yorkers arriving at their neighborhood parks this morning were greeted by an unfamiliar scene - their parks were closed!

Locked.  Ruppert Park - E. 90th Street & 2nd Avenue - Manhattan. 

Many playgrounds were padlocked and laminated park signs posted by the Parks Department said that they were closed due to storm conditions.   

Yesterday the city took the unusual step of officially closing all the parks and playgrounds in to order to minimize the risk of being struck by a falling tree or tree limb or slipping on ice. 

Today many park goers ignored the signs and took advantage of the winter wonderland.

By early afternoon the sun was out and hundreds of thousands of people had flocked to their local parks.  Many went sledding, while others strapped on cross country skis.   

The Parks Department officially reopened parks at 11:00am this morning although the signs were still hanging throughout the park system.

The agency posted an updated message on their Storm Site.

 "We continue to urge caution in parks under wintry conditions: parks paths can be slippery, snow cover can cover frozen lakes and bodies of water, and branches may have fallen.  We urge people to stay out of parks and proceed with caution on tree-lined sidewalks in the event of falling trees or branches. To report downed trees or branches, please call 311. In case of emergency, please call 911."

Many parks workers said they were forced to stay overnight at work, sleeping in vehicles and lockers rooms. 


  • Zoos will be closed for clean up, and will open tomorrow at normal hours.
  • Ice skating rinks will be closed today for clean up. They will open tomorrow with normal hours.
  • Other NYC Parks concessions will open at their discretion.


There will not be an official NYC Parks Snow Day today. Please visit our Sledding in Parks page to find the best sledding locations in NYC. Please continue to use caution while sledding in our parks. Avoid areas with trees, light poles, benches and water bodies.


Some recreation centers will be open today from 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. with limited staff:
  • Manhattan: Chelsea, Gertrude Ederle, Highbridge, Hansborough, Tony Dapolito
  • Bronx: Hunts Point, St. Mary’s
  • Staten Island: Lyons
  • Brooklyn: McCarren, St. John’s, Sunset Park
  • Queens: Al Oerter, Sorrentino
All recreation centers will resume scheduled hours on Wednesday, January 28.
The following nature centers are now open: Blue Heron Nature Center, Forest Park Visitor Center, Fort Totten Visitor Center, Salt Marsh Nature Center, Van Cortlandt Nature Center

Most people found park closed signs when they arrived at their local parks today. 

 Children build a fort near the Engineers Gate  E. 90th street & Fifth Avenue

  Cross country skiing.

 A father makes it snow.

A couple carrying cross country skis ascend into the woods in the northern of Central Park near the Blockhouse on the westside.

 A father has his hands full with two daughters at the Harlem Meer.

Not All Fun and Games. Park Enforcement Patrol (PEP) officers check the Harlem Meer in Central Park to make no one has ventured onto the ice or in need of assistance.   PEP officers throughout the five boroughs regularly check the park system's many water bodies to make sure they are secure.

 PEP officers at the Meer.

A Central Park Conservancy pick-up truck with plow.  

A Conservancy worker clears stairs.  

   Park Closed Due To Storm Conditions. Carl Schurz Park - E. 86th Street & East End Avenue.

Sledding in Carl Schurz Park between 90/91st Street and East End Avenue with Gracie Mansion (1799) in the background.  Park patrons generally ignored the posted closing signs. 

 A boy hauls a large chunk of snow on his way to sledding.

Workers began clearing the paths around Gracie Mansion at 5:30am. 

A Parks Department gardener spreads salt in Carl Schurz Park on the paths around Gracie Mansion.    Some parks workers spent the night on Randalls' Island. 

Read More:

A Walk In The Park - January 26, 2015 - By Geoffrey Croft

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