Sunday, June 30, 2013

Helicopter Makes Safe Landing In The Hudson River - No One Injured

Tourist Helicopter Makes Emergency Landing in Hudson River

FDNY Marine Units guide the helicopter into the W. 79th Street Boat Basin in Riverside Park this afternoon.   The pilot guided the chopper gently into the Hudson River following an engine malfunction. (Photo: FDNY via Twitter)


A helicopter with four tourists on board, including two teenagers, was forced to make an emergency landing in the Hudson River near Manhattan's West Side Sunday, authorities said, according to Associated Press / NBC New York.  
According to a city official familiar with the investigation, the helicopter's pilot made a controlled landing in the water after the engine lost power at around noon. Two adults and two teenagers from Sweden were on board.  
The four passengers and the pilot were taken out of the helicopter and transported by jet ski to the 79th Street Boat Basin in Riverside Park. They suffered only minor injuries and refused medical attention, authorities said.
The helicopter, a Bell 206, is registered to New York Helicopter Charter, an official from the FAA said. It was being towed by the Coast Guard to the Boat Basin Sunday afternoon.
Deputy Fire Chief Thomas McKavanaugh said the helicopter had taken off from the Wall Street Heliport and lost power after 12 minutes in the air. The pilot used the craft's pontoons, and it remained upright as it landed.
"The pilot did a terrific job considering he'd lost his engine power," McKavanaugh said.

Read More:

WNBC - June 30, 2013 

No One Injured As Helicopter Makes Emergency Landing In Hudson River
WCBS - June 30 2013

5 Rescued From Hudson River After Helicopter's Emergency Landing
DNAinfo -  June 30, 2013 - By Jess Wisloski and Gustavo Solis

Police Arrest Man In Attempted Rape In Cental Park

 A walkway near the Lasker Pool on East Drive near 106th Street in Central Park, Manhattan near where an attempted rape took place on June 28th 2013. (Christie M Farriella for New York Daily News)

This walkway by the Lasker Pool on East Drive near 106th Street in Central Park in New York City is where an attempted rape took place Friday.  Saul Alvarez attacked a 29-year-old female jogger from behind by Lasker Pool police say. A passerby heard the cry and called 911 as he tended to the frantic woman, sources said. The jogger was taken to a local hospital, where she was treated for trauma and a cut to the right side of her face.  (Photo: Christie M Farriella for New York Daily News)  

A 18-year-old woman was raped on Thurdsay in Crotona Park In the Bronx.  


A 21-year-old man was arrested after he tried to rape a jogger in Central Park, cops said Saturday, according to the New York Daily News.  

Saul Alvarez attacked the 29-year-old woman from behind as she was jogging by Lasker Pool near the park’s East Drive at E. 106th St. at about 10:45 p.m. Friday, police said.  

Alvarez cupped his hand around the woman’s mouth as he tried to drag her off the path — but the woman managed to break free and yelled for help, sources said. 

A passerby heard the cry and called 911 as he tended to the frantic woman, sources said. The woman gave a description of the attacker to cops, who found Alvarez nearby a short time later, sources said.  

The jogger was taken to a local hospital, where she was treated for trauma and a cut to the right side of her face. 

Alvarez was to be arraigned Saturday on charges that included attempted rape. 

Locals said they usually avoided the park when the sun goes down. 

“I would never come in the park after dark, especially if I’m by myself,” said Veronica Arndorfer. “I would rather go around the park at night than walk through it."

Read More:

New York Daily News -  June 29, 2013 -   By Alfred Ng and Joe Kemp 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Body Found Stabbed Mutiple Times Van Cortlandt Park


By Geoffrey Croft

A 62-year-old man was found stabbed 10 times in the left forearm, left shoulder and chest
in  Van Cortlandt Park NYC Park Adovcates had learned.

The shirtless body was found by a jogger in a wooded area just beyond a fence that separates the golf course. 

The jogger ran onto the golf course and borrowed a cell from a player and called police.

A worker recognized the victim, who may be homeless,  as a man who collected and re-sold golf balls hit over the fence.

Police are looking for the partner he worked with however he is not considered a suspect at this time.

Police have no ID on the victim yet.

Police are investigating the stabbing death of a man found inside Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, according to the Associated Press.

Officers responding to a call found the unidentified victim unconscious and unresponsive with multiple stab wounds to his torso at about 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

The 40- to 50-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene.

There have been no arrests.

In Crotona Park an 18-year-old woman reported being raped early Thursday morning.  

Associated Press -  June 28, 2013 

Teen Raped In Crotona Park


By Geoffrey Croft

Police are investigating the rape of an 18-year-old black woman in Crotona Park early Thursday morning.

Investigators say the attack happened as the woman was walking through the park at around 4:45 a.m.

Police sources say a man approached the woman,  grabbed her hair, punched her in the face, threw her down on the ground and raped her.

The victim transported herself to the hospital.

The suspect  is described a Hispanic male, age 25-30,  approximately 5'9 not fit.  He was wearing a dark shirt, jeans and work boots.

The incident occurred inside the park not far from Fulton Ave. and Crotona Park North.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS. 

Read/View More:

Eyewitness News - June 27, 2013 - By Tim Fleischer

Eyewitness News - June 27, 2013 - By Tim Fleischer

News 12 -  June 27, 2013 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Central Park For Sale Campaign Begins

The Central Park Conservancy began selling virtual spots on the Great Lawn. No word yet whether or not the city has plans to follow the cleaver market plan in the South Bronx or East New York. 

UPDATE: The program has been delayed due to technical problems.


Hoping to add to it's 200 + million dollar endowment the Central Park Conservancy began selling virtual spots to the 55 acre Great Lawn for $ 10 a pop.

The Conservancy posted several videos hosted by actress Parker Posey unveiling the real estate deal. 

"Who says your spot can’t have pink grass or an infinity pool? On the virtual Great Lawn, it’s possible. In fact, it’s highly encouraged," the copy reads. 

Now and then your spot will require some upkeep. (You didn’t think the Park took care of itself, did you?) Don’t worry, your work will reap some fun awards.

Connect through Facebook to find your friends’ spots and show off your piece of the Park.

Nothing says “love” like a Facebook wall post containing a piece of Manhattan’s finest real estate. Buy one for your mom or boss or friend. They will thank you forever.

Once you've got your spot, that's when the real fun begins. Customize it. Care for it. Trim it. Share it. And that's not even it... 

*Well, sort of serious. Your piece of the Park will be a virtual spot on an all-new, interactive Great Lawn. It will be yours to visit, customize, and care for online from anywhere in the world. All bragging rights reserved.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Two Hurt By Fallen Tree Branch - 5 Tree Injuries In Two Weeks

Officials tend to the victims of a falling branch in Brooklyn.
An elderly Asian man and an African American teen are treated by EMS employees in Brooklyn this afternoon after they were struck by a falling branch in the NYCHA Ingersoll Housing development.    At least five people have been hurt by falling tree branches since June 3rd. (Photo: Frank Rosario)


Two people were seriously hurt after they were hit by a tree branch in Brooklyn this afternoon, authorities said, according to an article in the New York Post.
The branch fell about 3 p.m., and hit a man and woman in the Ingersoll Housing Development on Monument Walk, according to an FDNY spokesman and witnesses.

"He looked like he was in bad shape, sprawled out on the ground," said Gladys McMillian, 66. "The man looked like he was bleeding really badly from his head.

The poor man just couldn't move. He couldn't talk."

McMillian added that a young woman was soaked in blood, and crying.

"She had bruises on her arms, and it looked like she had a hole in her head," she said.

EMS rushed to the scene, and took the two to Kings County Hospital for treatment, the spokesman added.

Read More:

2 injured by falling branch in Brooklyn
New York Post -  June 20, 2013 - By Frank Rosario and Rebecca Harshbarger

Two NYPD Officers Assigned To Forest Park After Sexual Assaults

PO Diana Kaouris
Diana Kaouris, one of the police officers patrolling Forest Park.  Two NYPD officers have been assigned to patrol Forest Park after a number of sexual assaults. According to the commanding officer of the 102nd Precinct, the two officers will be patrolling the 550-acre area 7 days a week, from approximately 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Photo: Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska/DNAinfo)


Two officers have been chosen to patrol Forest Park after a string of sexual assaults in recent years, the authorities said, according to DNAinfo. 
But the patrols will mostly cover the daytime hours at the massive park, which was the site of an early evening sexual assault at the end of March.
Eric Yun, a spokesman for Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, said the pol "is pleased that the 102nd Precinct is patrolling the park more often and there is a dedicated patrol for Forest Park."
"But we also want to make sure that they are patrolling it at night as well," Yun added.
The officers, Diana Kaouris, 26, and Mary Carter, started patrolling the park last week, said Capt. Henry Sautner, Commanding Officer of the 102nd Precinct, which covers Kew Gardens, Richmond Hill and Woodhaven, at a community council meeting Tuesday.
Kaouris and Carter were chosen out of more than a dozen cops who applied for the job.
“I chose the two best qualified officers,” said Sautner. He described the cops as “very conscientious and very eager.”
The move comes as 10 new officers will be assigned to the 102nd Precinct starting this Friday, increasing the precinct headcount to 156 officers, Sautner said.
The two officers, Sautner said, will be patrolling the 550-acre area 7 days a week, from approximately 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Both cops will work five days each and their hours could change depending on activity levels in the park, which closes at 9 p.m.
“You’ll be seeing them out there. They will be on bicycles, they will be on foot,” he said. “They will be my eyes and ears in the park.”
The patrol was created after a series of attacks targeting women that occurred in the park in recent years and complaints about drug and alcohol use.
The most recent sexual assault took place March 29 about 7:25 p.m. when a 23-year-old woman was attacked while jogging. The suspect grabbed her from behind, shocked her with a stun gun and sexually assaulted her and is still on the loose, cops said.
The officers will also deal with quality of life issues, including drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana in the park, Sautner said.
“They are our liaison in the park (…) almost like an extension of community affairs on a smaller scale,” Sautner said.
Kaouris, who has worked for the NYPD for 5 years, said she applied because she felt she “would be great for the position.” “I’m into the outdoors, I’m into running around and it’s an active position,” she said.
“As a female I want women to be able to approach me and feel comfortable,” Kaouris added.
The other officer, Mary Carter, was chosen the Cop of the Month in April for making five robbery arrests in a one month period, Sautner said.
Read More:

Two Cops Chosen to Patrol Forest Park After Sexual Assaults
DNAinfo - June 19, 2013 -  By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Comptroller Liu Returns $90M Central Park Conservancy Contract; Asks Mayor To Level Playing Field for Parks

The Central Park Conservancy (CPC) has more than $ 215 million dollars in assets not counting the  controversial $ 100 million dollar donation from billionaire John Paulson.  The conservancy is also slated to receive a $ 2.8 million dollar raise from the city in FY 2014 which begins next month.   The CPC also raises money from concessions which the city allows them to receive 50 percent of the funds raised in excess of  $  6 million dollars annually.   The new contract also increases the length of time from of the previous two agreements of 8 years each - to 10 years and has a provision to extend it for another  decade. (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge.

The deplorable conditions found in many parks in less affluent communities did not prevent the former parks commissioner's new employee from recently giving them high marks.

These issues bring to light the enormous inequities between parks in wealthy areas and those in less affluent neighborhoods as the city's elected officials allocate a fraction of the funds needed to properly maintain, secure and program our public parks. 

City Comptroller John C. Liu has returned a contract that would enrich the privately funded Central Park Conservancy (CPC) by $90 million in City funds, asking Mayor Bloomberg to revise the agreement in order to more equitably distribute revenue to the many parks and playgrounds that don’t get the same attention or service as Central Park.  Comptroller Liu’s office is also reviewing another CPC contract, this one for $60 million in City capital construction funds, with the same purpose in mind.

“Central Park is very important to New York and is indeed an icon of our City. However, the City should do more to ensure that parks across the five boroughs are being funded adequately and equitably,” Comptroller Liu said.  “The City should provide funding for basic maintenance and much-needed capital projects across all parks before sending this much-needed taxpayer money to a well-funded private organization. Let’s work together to maintain Central Park and provide equity among all of our parks.”

On Monday, June 17, Comptroller Liu returned a $90 million operations contract between the NYC Parks Department and the CPC because of insufficient information. Comptroller Liu then wrote Mayor Bloomberg asking that the structure of the contract be revised to provide a more equitable distribution of resources. 

Long lines at the park's boat rental consession, one of the many conessions located in the park.  The licence agreement between city and the CPC allows the group to keep 50 percent of the funds raised in excess of  $  6 million dollars annually. Money that is being allowed to be diverted from the City's general fund. 

Comptroller Liu suggested that the City:

·         Eliminate or reduce the CPC’s revenue-sharing agreement, which gives the CPC substantial funding based on City concession and special events income unavailable to most other parks. 
·         Reallocate capital funds to higher-needs parks.
·         Require greater financial transparency from the CPC.
·         Encourage the CPC to do more to help support other area parks.



June 19, 2013

Honorable Michael R. Bloomberg
City Hall
New York, NY 10007

Dear Mayor Bloomberg:

My office has returned the ten-year, $90 million Central Park Conservancy contract submitted by the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation and is currently reviewing an additional $60 million capital contract with the Conservancy.

I write to ask you to reflect on the wide disparities that exist among parks in the five boroughs.  For example, St. Nicholas Park, located just a few blocks north of Central Park in Harlem, recently received a score of 77 out of a possible 100 points from New Yorkers for Parks because of trip hazards, litter, and out-of-service drinking fountains.

The Parks Department can and should amend both Conservancy contracts so that they help provide more equity among parks.  These modifications should also take into account the exceptionally strong financial condition of the Conservancy.

We recommend that the following changes be made:

·         Eliminate or reduce the Conservancy’s revenue-sharing agreement.  Currently 50 percent of the estimated approximately $12 million Central Park net concession and special event revenue is distributed to the Conservancy. In contrast, very few if any other City parks have such a beneficial arrangement.

·         Reallocate capital funds toward higher-needs parks.  If we are serious about equitably distributing scarce resources, we need to reallocate a portion of the City’s capital contributions for Central Park to parks with higher needs that are over-reliant on discretionary funds.

·         Increase financial transparency. The Conservancy’s 2011-2012 tax filings show revenues of $47 million.  Other public sources indicate that the Conservancy has a workforce of approximately 300 employees, ranging from seasonal grounds technicians paid $18,228 to the President and CEO, who received total compensation of $456,319.  Like the Parks Department and every other City agency, the Conservancy should publish spending and payroll data on Checkbook NYC, the City’s financial transparency website. Mandatory federal tax filings do not provide adequate transparency.

·         Encourage expanded support of area parks. The Conservancy should work with the Parks Department to identify struggling parks throughout the five boroughs that would benefit from the Conservancy’s operational and development expertise.  Such a collaboration could help mitigate some of the widespread concerns that public-private partnerships favor only a handful of elite parks. 

According to its most recent tax return, the Conservancy has more than $215 million in assets. This staggering number does not take into account the recently announced $100 million private donation.

The City should ensure that parks across the five boroughs—and not just Central Park—are being funded adequately and equitably. When the City is unable to provide funding for basic maintenance and much-needed capital projects, one must question whether it is appropriate to provide our wealthiest park with $150 million of new resources.

Let’s work together to maintain Central Park and provide equity among all of our parks.


John C. Liu

The funding deal allows the Central Park Conservancy to spend far more on basic maintainence like tree care compared to parks in less affluent neighborhoods.  

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Woman, 49, Groped In Central Park


By Geoffrey Croft

Police are investigating a woman's claim that she was groped in Central Park, NYC Park Advocates has learned.

A 49-year-old woman says a man slapped and squeezed her rear end about 11:45am at 67th Street and West Drive near Tavern on the Green.

Another woman tried to intervene but was pushed by the assailant who then fled the park.

The suspect was described as a white male, mid-30's, clean cut -  wearing black pants and a black shirt according to law enforcement sources. 

WNBC -  June 18, 2013 - By Shimon Prokupecz 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

14-Year-Old Boy Shot At Mahoney Playground On Staten Island

Staten Island

By Geoffrey Croft

14-year-old boy who was shot in the chest at Mahoney Playground on Staten Island in St. George according to police.  

The incident occurred last night around :9:45pm inside Mahoney Playground on Crescent Ave. near Jersey St. when a gunman fired several rounds striking a 14-year-old boy in the chest. 

A 23 -year-old woman was struck in the arm police said. 

Read More:

Staten Island Advance - June 15, 2013 -  By Ryan Lavis

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Bronx BP Pushes For MLS Stadium In Borough

“As reports have made clear, your league’s plans to build a new soccer stadium in Flushing Meadows have stalled and may not be able to be revived. It would appear that there is little enthusiasm for world class soccer in Queens.”  - Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.   
By Geoffrey Croft
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. sent a letter to Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber yesterday urging the league to consider the Bronx, and not Queens, as the home of its newest franchise, the New York City Football Club.
“As reports have made clear, your league’s plans to build a new soccer stadium in Flushing Meadows have stalled and may not be able to be revived. It would appear that there is little enthusiasm for world class soccer in Queens,” Borough President Diaz said in a statment. 
In the letter, Borough President Diaz stated professional soccer in the Bronx would bring an incredible economic benefit to the borough, specifically noting the amount of visitors the Bronx saw this week during the soccer match between the national clubs of Spain and Ireland, which was held in Yankee Stadium on Tuesday.
“While here, these soccer fans spent money in local businesses and restaurants, bringing tremendous economic activity to the 161st Street corridor. If a Major League Soccer franchise were to make its permanent home in our borough, we can replicate that financial boost, either at 161st Street or elsewhere, more than 20 times a year,” wrote Borough President Diaz.
Borough President Diaz also mentioned that professional soccer would be a perfect complement to other major sports projects taking place in the Bronx, such as the PGA-level golf course managed by Donald Trump, a world-class tennis center in Crotona Park and the largest ice center in the world at the Kingsbridge Armory the statement read. 
“The Bronx would be the perfect home for a new professional soccer franchise. I am ready to work with Major League Soccer to make this a reality, and I look forward to beginning this conversation,” said Borough President Diaz.
MSL and the Mayor's "first choice" to build a 35,000 seat soccer and concert arena is  in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, a plan that has been vehamently opposed since it was first announced. 
Two weeks ago however at a press conference announcing the Yankees 25% investment in the New York City Football Club  Mayor Bloomberg and soccer officials backed down from their FMCP location or nothing position. 
"I think the best place for it for everybody is in the Eastern End of Flushing Meadow Park. It's a park that's been neglected for a long time, the city doesn't have enough money to renovate every park,"  Mayor Bloomberg said. 
"Nobody should think they've got a lock on this (location) there are lots of different places  where you could build the stadium...I just want to make sure it's in New York City and we get it going. " 
The mayor declined to name alternate locations when asked.
"We have to take a look and see," he replied. 

19-Year-Old Male Raped In Union Square Park Bathroom

Union Square Park bathroom - E. 16th Street - June 13, 2013.  The NYPD Crime Scene Unit early Thursday morning.  Police are investigating a homeless man's claim that he was sexually assaulted in the restroom yesterday evening. (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge.


By Geoffrey Croft

A 19-year-old homeless male was raped inside a Union Square Park bathroom, NYC Park Advocates has learned.

The victim claims the assailant followed him into the male bathroom and attacked him inside a stall according to the police.

The incident occurred on Wednesday evening at approximately 6:30 pm between E. 16/17th Street on the east side of the park near Union Square East.  

According to police the victim said he was "In fear for his safety."

The victim is being treated at Bellevue Hospital according to law enforcement sources. 

Police describe the suspect as a white male approximately 25-years-old who was known to the victim from Union Square Park.

NYPD  personel from the Crime Scene Unit processing the scene.

 A patrol car from the 13th Pct.  securing the location.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Central Park: 59-Year-Old Tourist Hurt By Falling Tree Branch

A 59-year-old woman lays on the ground this afternoon in Central Park after being struck by a tree limb (left) on her head.  She suffered a broken arm chipped teeth as a result from falling. 

A dog walker was also struck by a tree limb today in Carl Schurz Park in Manhattan earlier today witnesses said.  (Photo: Courtesy @charleylhasa via Gothamist)


By Geoffrey Croft

A 59-year-old tourist  from Terre Haute Indiana was hit by falling tree branch in Central Park this afternoon, the second person to be struck in the park by a tree limb in less than a week.

Sharon Reese was walking with her husband when a 3 inch in diameter branch from an Oak tree suddenly snapped and fell three stories hitting her in the head city sources said. 

She was transported to St. Lukes Roosevelt Hospital. 

The damaged Oak tree. (Photo: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge

The incident occurred  inside the park on an asphalt path about 50 yards from a park entrance at West 86th Street and Central Park West just after 3:30pm.

The woman temporarily lost consciousness and initially could not remember what had happened to her according to  city sources. 

"It's scary," said jogger Penelope Clark who saw the victim shortly after the incident. 

"I saw a woman lying on the ground. She had a bandage wrapped around her head, a giant branch on the ground.  She had blood on her head." 

Central Park Conservancy workers quickly loaded the broken limb into the back of a pick-up truck and carted it away. 

Ms. Reese was listed in stable condition this evening. 

On June 3, a 46-year-old man was struck by a tree limb on 96th and Central Park West at 7:00am.

It was revealed last week that the City and the Central Park Conservancy settled two high profile tree injury cases for a total  $ 14.5 million dollars.   

By late afternoon, caution tape and barricades surrounded the tree.

Read/View More: 

CBS - June 11, 2013  - By Derricke Dennis

New York Post -  June 12, 2013 - By Erin Calabrese and Jamie Schram 

NY1 - June 12, 2013 

gothamist - June 12, 2013 -  By John Del Signore  

WABC - June 11, 2013 -   By Jeff Pegues 

WNBC - June 11, 2012 - By Gus Rosendale  

New York Times - June 11, 2013 - By Joseph Goldstein and Randy Leonard

WPIX - June 11, 2013 - By Nicole Johnson   

Fox 5 -  June 11, 2013 - By Stacey Delikat

Am-New York - June 11 - By Tim Herrera  

WCBS - June 11, 2013 -  By Derricke Dennis 

The Wall Street Journal - June 11, 2013  

Falling Tree Branch Injures Woman In Central Park
gothamist -  June 11, 2013 - By John Del Signore

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Woman Recants Riverside Park Rape Claim

NYPD Crime Scene Unit investigating the alleged incident on Thursday afternoon.  (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on Image to enlarge.


By Geoffrey Croft

The 44-year-old homeless woman who claimed she was raped in Riverside Park early this morning has recanted her story NYC Park Advocates has learned.

This evening police said they would not be charging her with filing a false police report.

The victim had told police she was walking southbound along Riverside Drive at West 74th Street at 5 a.m. when a black male approached her from behind and said he was a "cop and an FBI agent. " 

She told them a man dragged her inside the park under a tree by the South Lawn and sexually assaulted her.

She was taken to the Bellvue hospital where she was examined.

The woman said the assailant did not display a weapon.

The woman could offer no other description of the alleged rapist other than that he was a male black.

The incident was being investigated by the Special Victims Squad,  NYPD Internal Affairs division and the Police Impersonation Squad.

Police had begun to track down surveillance cameras from residential buildings.

On April 9, police arrested a hispanic male in the park for touching and exposing himself near the playground three blocks north (76th St) after a nanny called authorities.    The man has a long arrest history according to a law enforcement source.

Westside Rag also contributed to this story.

 W.74th Street and Riverside Drive

South Lawn entrance. 74th Street. 

Read More:

WCBS - June 6,  2013 - By Derricke Dennis

Adrian Benepe's New Employer Says NYC Parks Are Great!

March 12, 2013. An abandoned vehicle in the long- suffering Pugsley Creek Park in the Bronx.  New York City’s park system ranked second, behind Minneapolis’s, in a "survey" of the nation’s 50 largest cities conducted by former parks commissioner Adrian Benepe's new employer The Trust for Public Land.  Apparently park conditions were not a factor in determining the results. (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge.


New York City’s park system ranked second, behind Minneapolis’s, in a survey of the nation’s 50 largest cities by the Trust for Public Land according to another effusive New York Times parks article. 

The trust, a nonprofit conservation group, looked at a number of factors, including park access, size, services and public investment to determine scores that ranged from a single park bench to five (a perfect score). New York, which last year came in third, scored 4.5 benches.

The success of New York City in the survey, to be released on Wednesday, was an affirmation of the tenure of Adrian Benepe, who served as New York City parks commissioner for more than a decade before decamping last fall to the Trust for Public Land, where he is senior vice president and director of city park development.

May 31, 2013. An abandoned park safety light in the long-suffering High Bridge Park in upper Manhattan.

“You can’t have a great city without great parks,” said Mr. Benepe, who, under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, oversaw 1,700 parks and beaches during a period of expansion and major capital investment. Mr. Benepe noted that in this year’s survey, the ParkScore Index, New York pulled ahead of Boston, which it had tied last year. “It’s strong across the board, but particularly with park access,” he said of New York. (The survey was data-driven, so Mr. Benepe did not recuse himself from the judging.)
Park access measures the percentage of residents living within a 10-minute walk, or a half mile, of a park. In New York City, according to the survey, 96 percent of residents fall within those parameters. New York also scored high on park spending per resident. From 2008 to 2010, New York’s park expenditures — a combination of capital and operations — averaged $160 per resident.
One area of weakness for New York was median park size. Median park size is a little over an acre in New York, while the national median is five acres. “While New York has some really huge parks, a half-acre park cancels out a 1,000-acre park when you do medians,” Mr. Benepe said. “Sometimes, history is destiny with how cities develop.”
But the city scored high on the percentage of total area dedicated to parks; almost 20 percent of New York City is public parkland, second only to San Diego.
Other high-scoring cities included Boston, which tied with Sacramento and San Francisco for third place. The worst performing cities, which all received only a single park bench on the scale, were Indianapolis; Charlotte, N.C.; Louisville, Ky.; and Fresno, Calif.
The Trust for Public Land provides data, analysis and interactive maps for each city on its Web site. The site identifies neighborhoods that are most in need of parks and provides local obesity rates.

May 13, 2013. Dangerous, Decrepit Conditions - Little Bay Park, Queens.  Rocks have replaced grass in these heavily used soccer fields. How many more children have to get hurt until the Parks Department responds to the community's demands for action park users have been asking.  Little Bay Park earned an A-plus in New Yorkers for Parks latest "Report Card" including a grade of 93 for its bathrooms even though the park does not have any - unless they count  torched port-a-potties that have been melted to the ground.  (Photo: Malba Gardens Civic Association)

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: June 7, 2013
An article in some editions on Wednesday about a national survey of park systems in which New York City ranked second, behind Minneapolis, misstated the amount of money per resident that the city spent on parks from 2008 to 2010. It was $160, not $8. (The $160 was $8 more than what was spent from 2007 to 2009.)
Read More:

New York Times - June 5, 2013 - By Lisa W. Foderaro