Friday, December 26, 2014

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The Call Blog: The State Of The Parks, Sharing The Wealth

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Ask, and it might be given. Take, and it will be denied. Hundreds of millions of dollars are donated every year to causes in this town. If the government forces private donors to spread their wealth, there may not be much money to spread around.

Mayor de Blasio appointed New York City's newest Parks Commissioner today. Brooklyn-born city planner Mitchell Silver "will be tasked with bringing a holistic perspective" to maintaining infrastructure and introducing public health initiatives to those who use the 29,000 acres of parkland in the five boroughs.

Commissioner Silver takes over a department that underwent a series of changes and challenges during Mayor Bloomberg's tenure, including rebuilding after Sandy and a ban on smoking outdoors. Moving forward, a debate is growing about whether wealthy private park conservancies should be required to share their donations with parks in low-income neighborhoods. What do you say?

How would you describe the state of the parks in New York City? What changes would you make to the operations of the Parks Department? Do you feel there is enough security? Should organizations like the Central Park Conservancy be required to share a portion of their donations to maintain parks in other neighborhoods?

Send your thoughts using the link above.

I believe that most of those who donated to the central park conservancy would be happy to provide other city parks with help. I must say that this mayor definitely seems to walk the walk and talk the talk!!! When I first heard you say that he wanted to reallocate money donated to central park to other parks I was was a bit taken back but then realized it was the right thing to do.


Recently Grand Army Plaza at Central Park entrance at 59th Street and 5th Avenue has been taken over at least on the weekends by break dancers. The entire plaza is usurped by them and they actually yell at people who attempt to even sit on a bench. Why is the city allowing these people to take over a public plaza that was once enjoyed by all? Not to mention it is right by where the carriage horses are lined up waiting for rides and the very loud noise of the music has, in the past, been known to spook these horses. Why is this allowed? I know Parks Department officers have told these dancers to move on, and the minute the officers leave, the dancers return!


As a neighbor of the Flushing Meadows/Corona parking lot, I approve of the Mayor's idea.


I definitely think some of the parks in Midtown Manhattan could use a little more maintenance. Rats are a problem everywhere in the city, but some of the parks near Sutton Place are really bad. Also the garbage situation can be a little ridiculous. The people donating to parks should have their money used for maintaining cleaner and safe parks for children.

Elizabeth/ Midtown Manhattan

Every park in New York City should have an individual fund set up for donations for that particular park, but in tandem, there should be a universal fund for all city parks. The parks department should also expand their apprenticeship programs, or add one to assist with the maintenance of our parks.

Michael In Woodside

I commend Mayor De Blasio for his election of New Parks Commissioner Fisher that brings much needed diversity to Parks Dept leadership. I believe there is a "tale of 2 parks" where small Parks gets little of none funding as opposed to larger parks. As Founder/Environmental Director of Friends of Sherman creek the only grassroot parks group advocating for the creation of a new Sherman Creek Waterfront Park on the Harlem River from Academy St to 207th and much needed public access to waterfront for Northern Manhattan I can testify to our long struggle to get funding and approval for a Catalyst Program since we are not a large Parks trust or Corporate non- profit.

Obed/ Washington Heights

Hi John,

I do not believe that the donations from wealthy park conservancies should be required to share their donations with parks in low income neighborhoods. According to the city council members they always refer to many things that we have in the city as gifts from anonymous donors. Such as their parks/mini playgrounds, and in my school PS 83 my council member which I might ad is on his third term serving mentioned that the auditorium renovations was a donation of about $200 thou for the seats. We have a mini playground=whatever they call it and it is closed in with an iron fence and until this day I have never seen anyone playing in it and now they moved it from one end of the yard to another part and it is still locked up. Everyone does their own thing and we have to abide by it. Just like when people take over empty lots. Sorry but you just can’t go there and think you own it because you want to grow vegetables on it. These lots belong to someone and when they want them back they are entitled to them.


Thank you John,


Here's another deBlastoff mistake. The new Parks Commissioner, Mitchell Silver, has no experience and knows nothing about running parks!!!!! And on top of that a new bilk the rich campaign is advocated.

Plus what's up with this weird government plan for "holistic health initiatives?" What the hell is this all about? What, we take a pill every time we enter the park?

And, oh yeah, that smoking ban. Pure fascism. Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil!

Port Richmond, SI

This is ridiculous. Whens it going to stop. The wealthy aren't here to support poor people Get out and get a job I live in washington heights When people do not pay for things they dont respect them If you take money from gramercy to fix a park in a ghetto Might as well throw the money away Because it will be destroyed in mo time All that money spent to fix Highbridge park and its disgusting 2 years later STOP THE INSANITY They need to better themselves and not depend on the government or rich people to pay their way


Hi John

All parks should get the same amount of money so they can be refurbished equally, the CPC should share the money they get with other parks in the poorer neighborhoods. The hot weather will be here soon all pools should be refurbished so that they will look decent for the people. There should be more security when its dark and early morning.

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