Who Says Advocates Never Say Anything Nice?
From 250+ Friends of Parks
….we praise the times this past year
when the Parks Department
did it absolutely right.
the bronx: green space rescued from developers
For a time, the Parks Department floated the idea of giving a dilapidated University Woods away to developers and making a new park somewhere else instead. Thanks to a devoted group of neighborhood volunteers who refused to relinquish their park, University Woods is now a flourishing community amenity. With a $500,000 grant from the City, no less. Nice work, guys.
brooklyn: everybody into the pool
First there was the opening of McCarren pool. Then, in a continuing burst of aquatic enthusiasm, the Parks Department has been working with a community group to begin rehabilitating the long-neglected Thomas Greene Park and “Double D” pool. The project is now approaching a participatory design process. Splash.
Manhattan: an island in the city
Tramway Plaza at 59th Street and Second Avenue is a small but lovely place in the very middle of traffic flowing — well zooming — on and off the Queensboro Bridge. Acquaintances in the Parks Department remind us that we were not impressed when this project first opened. We were wrong. Now the only drawback is visitors who leave empty soda cans (ugh!) sitting on the pretty iron fences around each patch of green. Shame on them.
Queens: nature tours and lots of trees
In 2008, Parks opened the Willow Lake natural area in Flushing Meadows Park for a series of guided tours led by the Urban Park Rangers and sponsored by the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Conservancy, a community based advocacy group for FMCP. At the same time, PlaNYC, the reforestation initiative, is coming to the area which has been chosen because of its biodiversity — more than 30 species of migratory birds and numerous butterflies, moths, dragonflies, and damselflies. Once done, the project will allow for the re-introduction of native wetland plant communities and a more successful wetland restoration. And the pleasant whir of little wings.
staten island: from needles to nice
Tappen Park, the second-oldest park on Staten Island, dates back to 1898, the year the five boroughs became New York City. Originally known as Stapleton Park, it was renamed in 1934 for James Tappen, the borough’s first casualty of World War I. By the mid-70s, Tappen had become a haven for drug dealers and customers. Today, thanks to the urban revitalization program, not only Tappen Park but also Tompkinsville Park — both reopened with fanfare this year — will welcome in the surrounding communities. Yippee.
And now, on to 2009.