Streams

Opening at Parks Dept.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Bill de Blasio has appointed most of his commissioners, but not one for Parks. Chris Smith, contributing editor for New York Magazine talks about why the search for a new NYC Parks commissioner is so complicated, and fraught.

 

Guests:

Chris Smith

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Comments [23]

AB from Manhattan

Chris Smith is a great reporter who raises a good issue here. His reporting might benefit from a more nuanced look at the parks across the city. In fact, the is not a huge disparity between the dozen or so "good parks" supported in part by philanthropic donations and the several thousand other parks.

The reality is that the vast majority of parks, which are completely funded by tax dollars, are in decent to excellent shape (and so says the New Yorkers for Parks Report Card), thanks to $5 billion invested by Mayor Bloomberg in capital fund to build new parks and improve existing ones, along with about $350 million a year in expense dollars for maintenance, with about $150 million in private donations for parks. And the private dollars spent on parks like Central Park allow public finds t be spent on other parks. finally, the notion that Central Park and Prospect park only serve wealthy people is a complete canard, as the north end of the park is surrounded by East Harlem, central Harlem, and West Harlem, with many large public housing projects within a short walk.

Mar. 15 2014 12:57 AM
AB from Manhattan

Chris Smith is a great reporter who raises a good issue here. His reporting might benefit from a more nuanced look at the parks across the city. In fact, the is not a huge disparity between the dozen or so "good parks" supported in part by philanthropic donations and the several thousand other parks.

The reality is that the vast majority of parks, which are completely funded by tax dollars, are in decent to excellent shape (and so says the New Yorkers for Parks Report Card), thanks to $5 billion invested by Mayor Bloomberg in capital fund to build new parks and improve existing ones, along with about $350 million a year in expense dollars for maintenance, with about $150 million in private donations for parks. And the private dollars spent on parks like Central Park allow public finds t be spent on other parks. finally, the notion that Central Park and Prospect park only serve wealthy people is a complete canard, as the north end of the park is surrounded by East Harlem, central Harlem, and West Harlem, with many large public housing projects within a short walk.

Mar. 15 2014 12:53 AM
chris smith from ny

one other point that i forgot to make on air with brian, and it's an important part of why the parks are such an interesting political and policy puzzle. private donors are--often with good reason--highly skeptical that government will spend their money for its intended result. they prefer the control of donating to the parks conservancies. so if the de blasio administration requires or strongly encourages that a percentage of private gifts be used for needier parks, would the donations dry up?

Mar. 12 2014 10:53 AM
art525 from Park Slope

Chris Smith needs to look a little closer. Prospect Park has been terribly managed for the last few years. The park secretly rounded up and gassed the geese at 4AM one morning and then denied it for days saying the geese had migrated. The park endorsed the GoogaMooga for two years which tore up the park, doing it in exchange for a small financisl payout that didn't recoup the cost of damages. And the Neathermeade was closed for over a week for each event for both the event and for the prep and removal and then they left a muddy mess. The beautiful boathouse is now closed only being made available for weddings and other paid events. There is no enforcement against agressive bikers, bikers who pay no attention to traffic lights and signs and who see pedestrian strollers as an annoying impediment. There have been numerous cases of pedestrains being mowed down and a few had extended hospital stays including one woman who was in a coma.

Mar. 12 2014 10:36 AM
Charles from Downtown

Fund the parks by charging out of state Chartered tour buses for parking. Currently, they enjoy FREE parking throughout the city. These bus tourists take advantage of everything New Yorkers pay for and they do it for free.

Mar. 12 2014 10:31 AM
anon from New York, New York

I live near Central Park and support the idea of the Central Park Conservancy giving money to parks in other parts of the city. There should not be such a disparity in Parks. In certain neighborhoods in Manhattan, there has been a tremendous amount of money spent on parks (two such areas are Chelsea and lower Manhattan with the High Line and the East River Park), which is a good thing for many residents in these areas. Park funds should, however, be more equally distributed throughout the city so I hope this proposal does go through.

Mar. 12 2014 10:29 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Can city funds originally apportioned to Central Park be redirected to other city parks to compensate for the huge donation, or doesn't the budget allow any flexibility?

Mar. 12 2014 10:27 AM
Lenore from Manhattan

Just to respond to the caller about "coercing" the rich CP Conservancy--I am a small annual contributor to the CP Conservancy. I support this bill, and was offended when I received an email from the executive director (?) of the CP Conservancy objecting to the very notion that some of their money should be shared.

We are all in this together. It goes for parks as well as for everything else.

Mar. 12 2014 10:25 AM
Seth Peckstiff

Call. and I raise you my... clever NOM de PLUME

Mar. 12 2014 10:23 AM
paulb from Prospect Heights

I ride my bike all around the city from where I live in Prospect Heights; the Bronx, Red Hook, Queens, and the local parks seem in pretty good shape. Bathrooms open and clean, sprinklers working in summer. The tennis courts are in good shape. Not always showpieces, but a world of difference from 20 years ago. What do we want in local parks?

Mar. 12 2014 10:23 AM
Sandy from Harlem

I nominate Geoffrey Croft for the position, he is the best advocte in NYC for parks.

On another note, NYers for Parks, so called, signed an amicus brief to support the bar restaurant in Union Square Park, shame.

Also, ironic that the issue of parks is marginalized, and you interrupt the issue numerous times.

Mar. 12 2014 10:23 AM

Daily News photo of the building.

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/uptown/building-collapse-harlem-article-1.1718814

The trestle looks OK in the last photo.

Mar. 12 2014 10:21 AM
Jake S from Harlem

Oh Martin, your trolling attempts are really subpar today. You really need some new material.

Mar. 12 2014 10:20 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

I got MY inspiration from the MAYOR for MY clever NOM de PLUME by the way. LOL!

Mar. 12 2014 10:20 AM
Marco from New York

Typical De Blasio...rather than be grateful for private donations which of course make more money avaialble to the Parks department he presents this as a class issue. More sanctimnonious populism.

Mar. 12 2014 10:19 AM
Daniel Dzen from Merrick

I nominate Bram Gunther, a seasoned and very talented parks administrator and great conservationist

Mar. 12 2014 10:17 AM
Seth

Come on, Cousin Jeffrey doesn't even want to be commissioner. He'd rather be a stand up comic. I mean, have you heard his jokes. The man is Funny! I guess he could do both.

Mar. 12 2014 10:16 AM

Brian - the Daily News just put photos up of the building collapse. Doesn't look like "possible" it collapsed. No news on cause. The Daily News stated that firefights got the first call at 9:31.

Mar. 12 2014 10:15 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

What!?
Warren Wilhelm can't find another unqualified, inexperienced left wing ideologue?

Maybe someone who has repeatedly sued the city over parks?

Mar. 12 2014 10:14 AM
dan k from park slope

you can see the corner of 116th and Park Ave on Google Street View. Looks like it was under construction:
https://www.google.com/maps/@40.799084,-73.943218,3a,90y,134.85h,102.31t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1stcGDwZeafLviN3D5DnAWlw!2e0!6m1!1e1

Mar. 12 2014 10:13 AM

Mayor Bloomberg did amazing work on the East River Promenade between 23rd Street and the Manhattan Bridge. I absolutely love it and I'm very grateful to the Bloomberg administration.

Mar. 12 2014 10:11 AM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

... and then the HEELA-copters showed up!

Mar. 12 2014 10:09 AM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

Uncle Leo told me COUSIN JEFFREY was the new NYC Parks commissioner!

Mar. 12 2014 10:03 AM

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