Under Mayor Mike Bloomberg, New York has added 300 acres of new parkland, with new parks and playgrounds in every borough.I clicked through to his accomplishments page and found these stats:
In Manhattan: Mayor Bloomberg has already completed the reconstruction of East River Park...During the Bloomberg Administration, the Parks Department has added 300 acres of new parkland and 25.7 greenway miles to the City's recreational space...Mike completed reconstruction of the park? Himself? Awesome. Now, I know I haven't been in a few weeks, but the last time I checked, the East River Park was not complete... has anyone tried to bike it lately? Or gain waterfront access below 14th Street? Does he mean just the "parky parts" are done and the cyclists and joggers will have to continue to endanger themselves on First Avenue while parts of the greenway are locked up? Gotham Gazette recently noted that:
In the past two years, the park has gained refurbished ball fields (funded through the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which was created to rebuild lower Manhattan after 9/11), playgrounds and a rebuilt outdoor amphitheater (which had been the first home of Shakespeare in the Park). There are working public toilets and plans for more.But the REAL problem with all of this-- whether it was Mayor Mike or park advocates who have claimed all that parkland for the city-- is that none of it is or will be taken care of because there is simply not enough money in the city's budget for park maintenance. Bloomberg can brag about the amount of parks and playgrounds we have, but over the past 20 years, drastic budget cuts have depleted Parks Department's professional staff by more than 65%. So we'll have more parks and fewer people to take care of them? Good work, Mike.
But much of the park—the largest in lower Manhattan--lives in a state of dishabille. A grassy patch turns brown. Another, greener lawn rarely gets a mowing. A broken water fountain falling into a sinkhole has had a tidy little chain link fence around it for years. Bikers and walkers now traverse a noisy path up against the FDR that is always either dusty or flooded. That's the way it will remain until the promenade reopens.