Posts tagged with "NYC Department of Parks & Recreation":

New York City parks hobbled by age, underinvestment according to new report

Nonprofit, nonpartisan policy group Center for an Urban Future (CUF) has released a new report outlining the dire conditions that many New York City parks are grappling with, and it doesn’t look pretty. A New Leaf: Revitalizing New York City's Aging Parks Infrastructure tracks the climbing costs of required maintenance throughout the parks system, as well as the cracks (both literal and physical) that are starting to show in park assets. A New Leaf thoroughly documents the capital needs facing New York’s nearly 1,700 parks and paints a picture of the parks system through interviews with officials from the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), community board members, elected officials, park volunteers, landscape architects, and other nonprofit groups. CUF additionally visited 65 parks city-wide to get an on-the-ground snapshot of the most common problems plaguing NYC’s parks. The results paint a picture of an aging system in dire need of repair. The average age of Manhattan’s 282 parks is 86 years old, while the last major upgrade was on average conducted in 2002. The Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens don’t fare much better, each having parks averaging in their 70’s, which largely have not undergone major renovations since the mid-1990’s. Letting the city’s urban landscapes fall into disrepair isn’t just an issue for park-goers, it also hampers the parks’ ability to sequester stormwater. The more stormwater that New York’s green spaces are capable of sucking up, the less runoff that can find its ways into the surrounding waterways. Much of the infrastructure in those same waterways, including the esplanades and accompanying seawalls, piles, and retaining walls fall under DPR’s jurisdiction and are facing the same maintenance challenges. According to the CUF, “The Parks Department’s expense and state of good repair capital budgets have been chronically underfunded, weakening infrastructure and boosting long-term costs.” As the cost of repairs has risen from $405 million in 2007 to $589 million in 2017, the capital allocated to the Parks Department has ultimately remained steady at 15 percent of the required amount: $88 million in 2017. CUF has proposed a multipronged approach for tackling the maintenance and staffing deficit. The group has proposed directing more capital funding to city parks as a preventative measure to minimize future repairs, making direct investments in struggling parks, capturing more revenue from the parks themselves, and fostering more park-involvement at the community level. Compounding the problem is a recent audit from city Comptroller Scott Stringer, where 40 percent of DPR projects surveyed were found to be behind schedule, and 35 percent were over budget.

"This administration has invested in strengthening the City’s parks system from top to bottom," said a Parks Department spokesperson in a statement sent to AN. "Capital programs including the $318-million, 65-park Community Parks Initiative and the $150-million Anchor Parks project are bringing the first structural improvements in generations to sites from playgrounds to large flagship parks. Further, as the CUF report notes, Commissioner Silver’s streamlined capital process is bringing these improvements online faster.

"Looking forward, initiatives like the newly funded catch basin program and an ongoing capital needs assessment program will ensure that NYC Parks needs are accounted for and addressed in the years to come."

 

Find every public art installation and monument in NYC with this interactive map

The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation has launched an interactive database of the 1000+ monuments, public artworks, and temporary installations across the city's five boroughs. The NYC Public Art Map and Guide is searchable by ZIP Code and address, and provides photos and basic information about each monument. These range from the iconic and instantly recognizable (like the Charging Bull statue on Wall Street) to the otherwise overlooked (a plaque in City Hall Park near The Architect's Newspaper's Tribeca offices commemorates an oak tree given as a gift from Canada on Arbor Day 1967). While the map is densely populated in Manhattan—Central Park especially is peppered with monuments and sculptures—residents of the outer boroughs may not know they live a few blocks away from a public art piece. A tiny patch of land at the intersection of Bedford Avenue and Dean Street in Brooklyn, for example, holds a 30-foot-tall pedestal and statue of Ulysses S. Grant. McCarren Park in Brooklyn will be the site of a public art piece not yet listed on the map. The city recently announced that the McCarren Play Center, which includes the iconic pool opened by Fiorello La Guardia and Robert Moses in 1936, will receive two new murals. Documents released by the NYC Percent for Art Program show that the original schematics called for artwork at the location, but none was ever installed. The murals will be the work of artist Mary Temple. The map may be a useful tie-in for budding gamers playing Pokémon GO, the interactive mobile game that's currently taking the world by storm. The Pokémon GO "augmented reality" app uses real-life locations as its playing fields and points of interest often correspond with monuments and public artworks. Perhaps the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation is the latest group trying to ride the Pokémon GO wave?

Archtober Building of the Day 21> Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning by GLUCK+

Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning Crotona Park, the Bronx GLUCK+ Today’s Archtober Building of the Day tour of the Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning in the Bronx offered a close-up view of GLUCK+’s construction process. The firm works in the architect-led design-build model, in which the architect also serves as the project’s general contractor. Our group of inquisitive participants asked GLUCK+ Principal Marc Gee about how this process works, from the company’s insurance requirements to day-to-day life in the office. According to Gee, the system works because “architects are able to think on their feet in terms of design, not just the project’s bottom line.” The bottom line, of course, is also very important. This project was a public-private partnership between New York Junior Tennis & Learning (NYJTL), an after-school and summer program that offers free tennis lessons, mentoring, and leadership workshops to local youth, and the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation. Because it was an open-book contract, GLUCK+ worked closely with the client to adjust the plan as the budget allowed, such as substituting bluestone for the less expensive brick that had originally been planned for the building’s core. In the end, the project came in $2,000 below the guaranteed maximum price. There were a few hiccups along the way. The design of a poured-concrete stairway was not completed until after the building’s windows had been put into place, and then there was only an inch-and-a-half of clearance to get it inside. Now that it has been installed, though, you’d never know what a headache the staircase caused. Brand-new colorful tennis balls fill in for plantings or a fountain that we might expect to see at the bottom of the stairs. For every GLUCK+ project, someone from the firm is on-site throughout the construction process, on hand to deal with any problems that might arise. After all, “there’s no one who can look at a set of drawings better than the person who drew them,” Gee said. Archtober-ites will head to the Lower East Side bright and early tomorrow to tour PBDW Architects’ renovation of the  Educational Alliance by PBDW Architects. Julia Cohen is the Archtober Coordinator at the Center for Architecture.

Michael Van Valkenburgh Releases Details of Main Street Section of Brooklyn Bridge Park

[beforeafter]bbp_mainSt_02 bbp_mainSt_03[/beforeafter] Much has been brewing at Brooklyn Bridge Park (BBP) over the last six months starting with the opening of Pier 5 to the completion of Squibb Park Pedestrian Bridge. And now, according to DUMBO NYC, the Park, along with Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, recently unveiled plans at a community meeting to overhaul the Main Street section of its 1.3-mile waterfront stretch at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge. [beforeafter] bbp_mainSt_04 bbp_mainSt_05[/beforeafter] The proposal sketches out space for a variety of activities and amenities such as an outdoor nature exhibit facility, a new Department of Environmental Protection building with restrooms and center for children's educational programming, a revamped landscaping program, a bouldering wall, a dog run, and an area reserved for active recreation.

Parks Department Coopting NYC Skaters?

On Tuesday, the Parks Department cut the ribbon on the River Avenue pocket parks in the Bronx. It is the latest piece of the sprawling, long-overdue parks system promised by the Bloomberg administration in exchange for the parks sacrificed and taxes forgone in the name of the House That Steinbrenner Built (God rest his soul). But that is not what is truly interesting about the River Avenue park. What is is that it contains a skatepark. The fourth one to open this summer, in fact, preceded by new ramps and half-pipes at Hudson River Park (above), Flushing Meadows, and Robert Venable Park in Brooklyn’s East New York neighborhood. A very popular park opened last year as the first piece of the McCarren Park pool’s redevelopment. (This reporter saw young scalawags jumping the fence to get in even before it was finished, so eager were they to ollie about.) The Parks Department now has 11 skateparks under management, with more on the way. Meghan Lalor, a Parks spokeswoman, said evolving tastes were to thank for the explosion in skateparks. “While there is no formal initiative to build more skate parks per se, we’re always attentive to ways to provide what New Yorkers want and need as their interests in sports and recreation evolve, and we’re delighted to offer them the opportunity to perfect their skills on inline skates, skateboards, and bikes in safe, designated areas,” Lalor wrote in an email. And yet it still seems like a startling idea, city-sanctioned skating. After all, this is the administration that would not even tolerate ancient (and famous!) graffiti along the High Line, even as all this new gnarly pavement seems akin to putting up canvases around the city for the express purpose of tagging. Perhaps skating has gone so mainstream that it is no longer subversive, and thus nothing to worry about. Or perhaps the Parks Department is herding all the skaters together to keep them off the streets and out of the parts of the parks where they are not welcome. Now wouldn’t that be truly subversive?