Occupy Wall Street
One of the cornerstones of the Bloomberg administration’s PlaNYC 2030 was ensuring every New Yorker lived within 10 minutes of a park. That is tricky, real estate being the valuable commodity that it is, so building new parks is not always easy—we had to construct one on a derelict railway, for godsakes!
So the administration came up with the clever idea of opening up city schoolyards to the community after school. Today in Jackson Heights, Mayor Bloomberg and the Parks Department celebrated the 200th playground opening.
Robert Lederman, a crusading artist and a bit of crank who was a frequent antagonist of Mayor Giuliani, thinks the Bloomberg administration is being two-faced in expelling the Occupy Wall Street protestors tents from Zuccotti Park. He points to tents set up for holiday markets as the unjust, commercial expropriation of public space.
The holiday vendors have permits, of course, and a portion of their proceeds goes to the parks they occupy, so there appears to be a public good here, whatever your opinion of overpriced tchokes. Mr. Lederman has his own agenda, as he has run afoul of the city for trying to sell art in parks without permits. Still, his thoughts, which he just emailed around, are intriguing in light of last night’s events.
As The Observer recently chronicled, the East Side of Manhattan is so starved for parkland, locals will do just about anything to hold onto every blade of grass and monkey bar. At Ruppert Playground, neighbors have been fighting the powerful Related Companies, which is preparing to replace the open space with a new apartment tower possibly reaching 40 stories.
The developer has every right to do so, as it built the playground three decades ago and only had to keep it open through 2008. This has not kept those on the block and their elected officials from fighting the plan, but now Related seems to have found its secret weapon: photon rays!
A week after 9/11, Bram Gunther, the head of forestry for the Parks Department, was dispatched to Ground Zero to survey the ecological effects of the attack. What he found resembled a volcanic blast zone: an ashen, smoking moonscape of dust and debris. Amid the rubble, he and his co-worker, Michael Browne, discovered a burnt, decapitated Callery Pear tree “sort of soldered in between the cracks of the cement at the World Trade Center.”
Mr. Browne wanted to rehab it, to restore the arboreal casualty to health, but Mr. Gunther was pessimistic. “The damage to that tree,” he explains, “in those circumstance, any arborist, any forester, is going to leave a tree like that alone.”
And not just because it was damaged.
Sodom by the Sea
Manhattan may soon be getting its newest East River park, and it is not the one downtown at the Seaport.
The Post reports that 1 Sutton Place, the tony co-op that has long enjoyed a private park above the FDR, will soon be turning it over its green space to the city.
The Read More
Island of the Ferries
Coney Island’s boardwalk was first built in 1923 as an effort to improve public access to what had largely been private beachfront property. The city laid down hundreds of thousands of wooden planks to create the Reigelman Boardwalk (named for the borough president at the time), and it has been one of the Read More
Island of the Ferries
There was no eleventh hour rescue for Cedar Grove, no life preserver for the 99-year-old beach community on Staten Island’s South Shore, the last of its kind. Despite resident’s best hopes, the politicians and preservationists backing the Grovers could not reach a deal with the Bloomberg administration or the Parks Department to save Read More
In 10 days, residents of the Cedar Grove Beach Community on Staten Island’s South Shore will pack up after another blissful summer. They’ve been doing it for 99 years. But this time, the ritual is bittersweet, for it will be their last. The city has decided it will not renew the community’s lease, Read More
Same old story, new setting: Tavern on the Green. Unlikely source of story: Wall Street Journal. The Journal on Tuesday writes about the collateral damage of the failed negotiations between the union and restaurateur Dean Poll to reopen Tavern on the Green.
Turns out it’s not just the city’s image that’s suffering. It’s also all those out-of-work Read More
On May 17, Governor Paterson and several other officials and community leaders assembled on Manhattan’s West Side for a ribbon cutting at Hudson River Park, the 5-mile-long strip of green space, converted piers and bike lanes along the Hudson River. They were on hand to christen the new (and growing) park’s latest section, a 9-acre Read More