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Thu. Apr 25th, 2024

As the year draws to a close, NYC Parks has taken stock of a successful year dedicated to enhancing public greenspaces, promoting equity, and fortifying communities across the five boroughs.

Under the leadership of Mayor Adams, NYC Parks achieved significant milestones in 2023, unveiling Freshkills North Park in Staten Island, the first section of the former landfill accessible to the public. This park features stunning wildlife, panoramic views, biking trails, and various amenities. Ground was broken for the new $141 million Shirley Chisholm Recreation Center in East Flatbush, while Starlight Park in the Bronx underwent major greenspace development. Additionally, Monsignor Kett Playground in Manhattan received $9 million in renovations, and Queens saw updates to shoreline resiliency.

Commissioner Sue Donoghue emphasized the city’s commitment to public safety and health, exemplified by planting the highest number of trees in six fiscal years, a historic greenway expansion, and bluebelt enhancements to prevent flooding, ensuring these spaces remain enjoyable for years to come.

NYC Parks introduced the Let’s Green NYC initiative, engaging a record number of volunteers and renewing commitments to diverse volunteer groups. Notable partnerships, such as with the Broadway show Wicked and WE NYC, enhanced volunteer event visibility. The initiative has seen nearly 400,000 volunteers participating in stewardship and engagement activities, surpassing the previous year.

Collaborating with sister agencies, NYC Parks, alongside the Mayor’s Office, DOT, and EDC, initiated a historic expansion of greenways, creating 60 miles of greenway corridors and over 40 miles of protected bike infrastructure. Partnerships with NYCHA and a $40 million investment in Downtown Brooklyn further demonstrated the commitment to enhancing public spaces.

Promoting equity remained a key focus, with the opening of Corporal Fischer Park in Highbridge, part of the Jerome Avenue Rezoning Initiative, addressing historical underservice. The groundbreaking of the Shirley Chisholm Recreation Center in East Flatbush and the reopening of Flushing Meadows Corona Park Aquatic Center provided new recreational opportunities, while initiatives like public programming on Hart Island and a federal grant for a paid internship program advanced equity and conservation goals.

Parks also prioritized sustainability, introducing 86 all-electric pickup trucks and completing restorations at Hook Creek Park to address sea level rise and support breeding birds.

Investments in public safety included $1.4 million in basketball court renovations in high-gun violence areas and the introduction of a mobile command vehicle and a mounted command facility. These measures contribute to a stronger and more secure city for all residents.

In promoting health and safety, NYC Parks opened over 50 citywide public outdoor pools and eight beaches, addressing a national lifeguard shortage. The Learn to Swim program returned, benefiting over 2,500 children. The planting of 14,900 trees, focusing on neighborhoods with heat-related health impacts, and the removal of debris from Sheepshead Bay underscored the commitment to keeping New Yorkers healthy and safe in public spaces.

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