New York City Parks Commissioner

Friday, June 07, 2013

The water may be gone, but Sandy's influence continues. Veronica WhiteNew York City Parks Commissioner, discusses the state of New York City parks post-Sandy.


Veronica White

Comments [14]

treelady from Brooklyn

Not surprised by the quality of the interview given that WNYC is primarily funded by the City. And, as to the commendation from Trust for Public Land, it's incestuous and basically has Benepe patting himself on the back. Somethoing to be ignored.

The sad reality is our Park system is for an about people with money. Central Park, which gobbles most of the revenue, is no longer a park. It's full of restricted areas (the Shakespeare Garden, for one), lots of very expensive fencing and benches but grossly inadequate care and unprofessional management of the primary resource - its glorious trees. Not that its alone. Construction in any Park guarantees major damage to existing trees.

Although Parks has developed a sophisticated document (touted by Parks' staff around the globe) to address such issues, you rarely see any of these much-needed strategies implemented on projects - just business as usual with the inspector asleep in his vehicle and the contractor doing whatever he or she pleases to get the project done.

A great deal of the tree damage created by Sandy was instigated by improper maintenance. Pruning a tree is an art but in NYC its more like slash and burn. No consideration for wind damping issues leaves a tree's crown exposed in such a way that sever winds rip it apart. Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski's recent comments about trees' leaves and how they contributed to the Sandy tree debacle in Queens indicates the profound ignorance of the tree dynamic. If the City's pruning of a tree consists either of lions-tailing or limbing trees up to the point where they're nothing but lollipops, it's a miracle that more trees or limbs did not come down in Sandy's winds. The "sail" is not leaves but all the unnecessarily exposed trunks and branchless limbs that can no longer dampen the wind. The leaves would actually be an aid to damping if there were enough of them but with so much branch and limb loss due to ignorant pruning, the crown cannot manage such winds.

And so, if there is so much profound ignorance managing the tree resource, it's no wonder that everything else is screwed up as well. Except, of course, if it's in a rich neighborhood.

Jun. 10 2013 07:57 AM

Parks Commissioner White needs to stop the rhetoric and deal with reality. THE ROCKAWAY PENINSULA NEEDS PROTECTION NOW!!! We are worried about loss of life and our homes when another hurricane hits. It does NOT have to be as strong as Sandy either. We now have absolutely NO PROTECTION. IT IS HURRICANE SEASON 2013!!!
Rockaway residents researched solutions and came up with HESCO BARRIERS as a temporary measure to protect our shoreline. Community residents even met with the company that makes the HESCO BARRIERS and found that they are a feasible and cost effective temporary solution for Rockaway. This information has been presented at several community meetings to the Parks Dept. Liam Kavanaugh of Parks Dept promised us publicly that the HESCO BARRIERS would be tested in Rockaway in April.
Commissioner White: What happened to that promise?The trap bags u speak about are NO GOOD. They were tested here recently and they ripped in a few days..... NOT A SOLUTION!!
We have rarely seen Veronica White in Rockaway. She does not come to our community meetings. Sure, she was there for a photo op at the staged beach opening. Commissioner White needs to come to Rockaway and speak directly to the residents.
She needs to step up her game and protect our shoreline. By bringing sand to the beach before implementing measures to contain this sand she is putting the cart before the horse. ROCKAWAY NEEDS REAL PROTECTION NOW!!

Jun. 08 2013 11:11 AM
Elsie from Brooklyn

Remember when journalists didn't think that part of their job was to protect members of our government from harsh questions? The caller from Rego Park had a legitimate complaint and Lehrer felt the need to defend this parks commissioner, who surely doesn't care about parks in Queens that aren't attended by the rich (or tourists). Lehrer, like so many 'journalists" today, acts like an accommodating head waiter. Do we really need more people groveling at the feet of Bloomberg's posse?

Jun. 07 2013 11:39 AM
Aaron from Queens

The commissioner blew off the caller about Flushing Meadows. 86 million on Flushing meadows, but how much is that relative to the major parks in Brooklyn and Manhattan?

And lets not ignore the reality that Flushing meadows is largely utilized by immigrants who frankly don't have nearly the same political power that the folks using Prospect and Central Park do.

Jun. 07 2013 11:34 AM
antonio from baySide

To add to Robert's sentiment. Alley Pond is a mixed bag. While I appreciate the rustic look to it, and the fact it actually has marked trails, it does have many rotted trees and a racoon problem!

When I lived in park slope it was funny the area that faced PPW was pretty clean but parts that butted against washington, ocean and park side were pretty unkept and sketchy!

Jun. 07 2013 11:27 AM
Amy from Manhattan

If the parks program is a private-public partnership, does that mean if someone donates millions for a specific park, some of the public funds are freed up for other parks, or doesn't it work that way?

Jun. 07 2013 11:25 AM
Robert from NYC

I hope the next administration doesn't keep her one. and gee Brian you're an easy interview, these folks get away with saying anything. What crap this was!

Jun. 07 2013 11:25 AM
art525 from Park Slope

On another note- the beautiful boathouse in Prospect Park has recently been permanently closed to the public and is only available to be rented out for weddings. The Audubon Center a great and much touted asset for kids (adults too) was booted from the boathouse and is now being spun as a "pop up" center. Nice finessing.

Jun. 07 2013 11:23 AM
tom from astoria

People from allover the world used to buy art from artists in Union Square. Now they have been removed. Tourists come looking for them, but there's only chess-players and Hari-Chrisnas allowed. Artists have suffered a lot for this. Paris would have set up boths or liosks for their artists.

Jun. 07 2013 11:22 AM
Carlos from UWS

Could you ask the commissioner about the way cyclists use the drives of Central Park as their own personal velodrome, ignoring stop lights, scything through people and children who cross at the appropriate times...

Jun. 07 2013 11:22 AM
lucy from Brooklyn

Stop this insane sell for $1 to a billionaire of Flushing Meadow Park for a soccer stadium. This park area is highly used by the people of Queens. Many of them immigrant workers and their children. The park is packed on weekends. Bloomberg says it is not highly used is that because immigrants use it? Is that his definition of not highly used?

And the replacement park discussed is miles away accessible only by cars.

Jun. 07 2013 11:21 AM
rudeboynyc from williamsburg

How can one access Breezy Point Park, when the gated community there prevents even bicyclist to bike through their (public?) streets?

Is there any public money going to this private gated community?

Jun. 07 2013 11:20 AM
art525 from Park Slope

Could you please exercise some oversight and prevent the management of Prospect Park from allowing another Googa Mooga in the future? It is not an event suitable or in the spirit of the park and each year has caused considerable damage. A week after this year's debacle Paul Nelson the head of the Park Alliance told a reporter that they hadn't been over to assess the damage. Is this the person who should be in charge? Please do something. Thank you.

Jun. 07 2013 11:13 AM
joe from Brooklyn

Great call from Danny!

Jun. 07 2013 11:13 AM

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