2017 NYC Election

In September 2017 we sent our Public Realm Bill of Rights for New York City to candidates running for elected office across the city, and asked for their responses to four questions about the bill: Which article of the Public Realm Bill of Rights for NYC speaks to you the most, and why? What is your favorite park or open space in your district? How can it be improved and why? What do you consider to be the most pressing park or open space need in your community, and what is your plan to address it? 

Their answers show what open space issues the candidates see as most pressing, and how they think those issues should be addressed. We're sharing their responses here so that voters can make an informed choice when they cast their ballots in the primary election on Tuesday, September 12th, and again in the general election on Tuesday, November 7th.  

If you're unsure of what council district you live in, you can find out here. To find your polling place, click here.


Mayor

No candidate responses


Public Advocate

No candidate responses


Comptroller 


Candidate Name: Scott Stringer

Q1: Which article of the Public Realm Bill of Rights for NYC speaks to you the most, and why?

Our City is home to over 30,000 acres of park land and 14 miles of beaches. Parks are a vital component of thriving communities and I believe New York City must continue to invest in our shared public parkland. The City should commit to each article of the Public Realm Bill of Rights in order to keep parks as cherished spaces in our communities.

I strongly believe parks and open space can enhance public health. Last year, I called on the City to explore innovative partnerships to provide free sunscreen dispensers at all public parks, beaches, pools and playgrounds as a way of helping New Yorkers safely enjoy New York City’s many great public spaces.

I am pleased that the Parks Department has launched a pilot program, based off of my proposal, that has situated more than 100 dispensers at City beaches and pools. The dispensers are currently doling out thousands of gallons of free sunscreen to families across the City and protecting park users, “young and old alike” from the dangers of melanoma. I am excited to see the program continue and expand.

Q2: What is your favorite park or open space in your district? How can it be improved and thrive?

As the father of two young boys, I am intimately acquainted with each and every playground within the vicinity of our home. I’ve developed real expertise in locating the nearest swing or slide and like any parent, believe that playgrounds must be safe and accessible. As Comptroller, I undertook an analysis of playground-related personal injury claims across all City playgrounds. We found that lawsuits emanating from injuries sustained on playgrounds grew a staggering 53 percent from 2005 to 2015. In response, my office offered several strategies for improving park design, increasing maintenance, and enhancing safety features at our playgrounds.

Q3: What do you consider to be the most pressing park or open space need in your community, and what is your plan to address it?

Ensuring parks are safe, clean, and well-maintained is a central obligation of City government. As Comptroller, I have pushed the City to move more quickly to maintain and enhance infrastructure in parks. In 2015, my office offered a first-of-its-kind analysis monitoring how agencies meet their planned capital commitments, a report that singled out the Parks Department as one of the worst performing agencies in the city in fulfilling those commitments on time. The Parks Department has since improved its performance, but my office will continue to press the Parks Department to improve its rate of capital commitment completion, thereby transforming budget lines into improved parks for all New Yorkers to enjoy.

Every neighborhood deserves a thriving, community oriented park. I applaud the Mayor and Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver for their Community Parks Initiative and urge that the administration continue to steer resources and attention to historically under-funded community parks.


New York City Council District 1

Candidate Name: Margaret Chin

Q1: Which article of the Public Realm Bill of Rights for NYC speaks to you the most, and why?

Article II “Infrastructure” speaks to me the most. The public has the right to adequately funded, inclusive, and accessible public parks and open spaces. The only way to ensure this continues to be the case is through a transparent capital funding and construction process. Unfortunately, far too many capital projects languish in the bureaucracy, increasing the cost of the project and robbing affected communities of public facilities for years. That is why I am supportive of current efforts in the City Council to require the Parks Department to notify local community boards and Council Members whenever a project is delayed. If re-elected, I will continue to push for more transparency, and inclusion of local “friends-of” organizations when funding and renovating parks in District 1.

Q2: What is your favorite park or open space in your district? How can it be improved and thrive?

Sara D. Roosevelt Park, which stretches from Houston St. down to Canal St., is one of my favorite parks in District 1. The various open spaces, including basketball courts, soccer fields, jungle gyms for children, open space for seniors, and the M’Finda Kalunga Garden for those with green thumbs, serves a population that reflects the great diversity of District 1.  However, with a park that stretches down many blocks, maintenance can be difficult, which is why provide funding annually for community based organizations to maintain SDR Park and encourage volunteers to chip in to maintain space. Furthermore, I am currently advocating for the Stanton Street Building, which the Parks Department currently uses as a tool shed, to be given back to the community to provide services for local residents.

Q3: What do you consider to be the most pressing park or open space need in your community, and what is your plan to address it?

District 1 has the privilege of having some of the best open spaces and parks in the City that attract thousands of visitors every year. That means that for our residents, many of these spaces are over utilized, making maintenance of these spaces difficult. Furthermore, the cost of repairing or renovating these parks and open spaces are incredibly high. Fortunately, the Parks Department is seeking to address this issue by using internal Parks Department maintenance staff to work on smaller projects. During the City Council budget cycle, I will push for the Parks Department to hire additional planning and maintenance staff to expand these in-house operations to significantly reduce costs and speed up work.


New York City Council District 2


Candidate Name: Ronnie Cho

Q1: Which article of the Public Realm Bill of Rights for NYC speaks to you the most, and why?

Article III about infrastructure speaks to me because parks and open space are important to the livability and breathability of our city. Park infrastructure is essential to building opportunities for our neighborhood.

Q2: What is your favorite park or open space in your district? How can it be improved and thrive?

My favorite park is Tompkins Square Park. We can improve and enforce the rules of the park: dog owners need to pick up after their dogs, people need to pick up their trash, and limit unsafe illegal activity especially after hours. The park can thrive as a beautiful, open, healthy for everyone to enjoy.

Q3: What do you consider to be the most pressing park or open space need in your community, and what is your plan to address it?

Simply put, New York City needs more green space. Our district has some of the most beautiful green spaces from East River Park, Madison Square Park, Union Square Park, Tompkins Square Park, and Stuyvesant Park and we applaud the tremendous efforts by GrowNYC and community organizations to create more green space from empty lots and other unused land. We will work hard to promote green spaces and provide safe and clean areas for our children to play, our dog to walk, and our citizens to enjoy. We propose that every large residential building erected and even some commercial buildings should have to allocate green space for its resident in its architectural planning and design and must comply with the Department of City Planning’s Zone Green. We can also work with NYCHA and other large apartment complexes to convert some of its unused concrete spaces into green plots. We have to work together with the city, developers, residents, and community organizations to balance every New Yorkers need for recreational space.


Candidate Name: Carlina Rivera

Q1: Which article of the Public Realm Bill of Rights for NYC speaks to you the most, and why?

If I had to choose one article, it would be Article 1: Access. From this tenet in the Public Realm Bill of Rights, all others flow. While parts of my district host numerous community gardens and parks, others have challenges in accessing a space that feels welcoming and safe. Whether it be difficult to get to (due to the need to cross tall pedestrian bridges or dangerous thoroughfares) or because the area may be isolated or neglected and safety is a concern. Once access (and feeling comfortable while in the space) is taken care of, these spaces are important places for body and mind. We must make sure they are plentiful and open, with funding increased and base-lined.

Q2: What is your favorite park or open space in your district? How can it be improved and thrive?

My favorite open space is East River Park. It’s where I learned to ride my bike, won softball championships, hang out with friends, exercise, relax and can see diverse people and families active recreationally. As Councilmember, I am looking to watch over its development regarding resiliency measures as well as activating its open spaces by encouraging programming in them beyond traditional sports. I did this while at Good Old Lower East Side, coordinating informational events, youth dance shows and bringing art installations to Pier 42. As a staffer, discussing priorities like resurfacing the tennis courts and realistic implementation of the berm as social infrastructure were also priorities for me. This park has holistic health potential and I will work to make this happen as Councilwoman.

Q3: What do you consider to be the most pressing park or open space need in your community, and what is your plan to address it?

One big issue in our open spaces is rats and the rodent infestation. The Mayor has just committed to providing funds to address this and sanitation in our parks and on NYCHA campuses is a priority for me. There are also two parks that I believe deserve equal attention in the years ahead: Bellevue South Park in Kips Bay and Joseph Sauer Park in the East Village. Both are in need of renovation and their current conditions have had park users relay to me that they feel unsafe. In Bellevue South's case, there are poor lines of sight throughout the sitting area and playground. The current councilwoman, Rosie Mendez did commit funds along with the Manhattan Borough President to help activate the space by creating a dog run and renovating the basketball courts. I commit to seeing work with the community during the design process and will look to have the project begin as soon as possible. Sauer Park experiences heavy use by families and the have numerous schools adjacent resulting in massive wear and tear on equipment and fixtures. I would work with the Parks Department to consult with stakeholders and frequenters, that include established block associations, and come up with a plan to put both as top park concerns in Council District 2.


Candidate Name: Mary Silver

Please tell us what seat you are running for: NYC Council District 2

Q1: Which article of the Public Realm Bill of Rights for NYC speaks to you the most, and why?

Infrastructure - We need to stop viewing parks as a luxury, and instead view them as an essential component of our city. Our parks are chronically underfunded, and too reliant on private donations. Residents in every neighborhood, no matter the socio-economic status, deserve access to a great park.

Q2: What is your favorite park or open space in your district? How can it be improved and thrive?

Tompkins Square Park - This park is essential to the neighborhood, and while there have been significant improvements, so much more needs to be done. Many community members love this park and ready to help. I believe we need leadership that can bring the community together, and find the appropriate funding to make sure that this wonderful space reaches its potential.

Q3: What do you consider to be the most pressing park or open space need in your community, and what is your plan to address it?

Bellevue Park South - This park has been neglected for years. It is rare green space in Kips Bay and located next to multiple hospitals. Residents in the area have called for capital improvements to create an ADA compliant dog run, and a healing space for hospital patients and staff. I have already secured $150,000 on behalf of the community for improvements, and I am committed to securing the rest of the necessary funds


New York City Council District 3

No candidate responses


New York City Council District 4


Candidate Name: Vanessa Aronson

Q1: Which article of the Public Realm Bill of Rights for NYC speaks to you the most, and why?

Access to New York’s full promise is a central theme of my campaign. As such, I am a strong advocate for full access to the MTA system for persons with disabilities and seniors with mobility issues. I also believe that the City must do better to make sure all students who are entitled to special education services have access to those services, and all women have equal access to reproductive health care.

More specifically to parks, as a middle school science teacher in a low-income school, I know first-hand that not all communities have access to parks and the environmental and educational benefits they provide. As a teenager, I was the president of my high school’s birdwatching club, an activity that gave me and my friends the opportunity to spend many glorious mornings before school in our local parks. My vision is that all students have access to those life-enhancing opportunities.

 Q2: What is your favorite park or open space in your district? How can it be improved and thrive?

I am a huge fan of Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in Turtle Bay. Not only is it a wonderful place to sit in solitude, it’s also a great place to meet with friends over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. I grew to really love the park when I was working for the State Department at the UN and spent many a lovely hour after work with friends and colleagues in conversation under the trees. Unfortunately, the park is plagued by noise and fumes caused by the large idling tour buses that park illegally on 47th Street. The parking ban needs to be enforced. Rather than skirting our local laws and polluting our public spaces, tour companies must use designated drop-off and parking locations. Cracking down on this problem will ensure that children in nearby schools and neighbors in the community can once again use and enjoy the park safely. You can read more about my ideas to improve this issue in my policy memo written specifically for District 4, "18 Solutions for 2018," on my website at www.vanessataronson.com/18_Solutions

Q3: What do you consider to be the most pressing park or open space need in your community, and what is your plan to address it?

The answer is very simple. The East Side does not have enough green space. Of the 51 council districts, District 4 is ranked last in the amount of parks and open space. While there needs to be a multi-faceted approach to addressing this problem, now that the phase two of the Midtown East rezoning plan has been finalized, we must be diligent in making sure open space is part of any new development plans, and City Council must hold developers feet to the fire to delivery on these plans.


Candidate Name: Rachel Honig

Q1: Which article of the Public Realm Bill of Rights for NYC speaks to you the most, and why?

Access is most important.  Every New Yorker deserves to enjoy a park, garden or green space to create balance in our dynamic urban environment.   I am fortunate to live across the street from a park, and while I enjoy its gardens each and every day, I also cherish the community that is formed with my neighbors who also utilize it.

Q2: What is your favorite park or open space in your district? How can it be improved and thrive?

I have to say I love the Sutton Parks, the 5 vest pocket parks that allow our cross town streets to meet the magnificence of the East River in an accessible way.  Restoration and renovation of those parks has begun, with greater access for New Yorkers and their pets.

Q3: What do you consider to be the most pressing park or open space need in your community, and what is your plan to address it?

I am very concerned about the continued overdevelopment of our residential neighborhoods, particularly mega towers which shadow our streets and parks.  District 4 is distinctly lacking in green spaces, and we need to do everything we can to preserve what we have and create more.


Candidate Name:  Jeffrey Mailman

Q1: Which article of the Public Realm Bill of Rights for NYC speaks to you the most, and why?

Article I.  Access is key to me.  While the size and scope of parks throughout the city will always vary, I feel everyone should be able to enjoy a green space within a short walk from their residence.

Q2: What is your favorite park or open space in your district? How can it be improved and thrive?

The Tudor City Greens is my favorite local refuge.   Quality fresh gravel is always in order and funds for routine maintenance will keep this special space beautiful.

Q3: What do you consider to be the most pressing park or open space need in your community, and what is your plan to address it?

The excessive bus idling along Dag Hammarskjold Park is a major issue.  I would seek to enforce the City's Idling law and to help locate alternative options for these buses to park.


Candidate Name:  Keith Powers

Q1: Which article of the Public Realm Bill of Rights for NYC speaks to you the most, and why?

Environment -- I have been outspoken on the need to fight climate change and have been endorsed by the New York League of Conservation Voters.

Q2: What is your favorite park or open space in your district? How can it be improved and thrive?

Stuyvesant Cove Park. We have to create better access to the waterfront by connecting this park to the rest of the East Side waterfront and seek opportunities to increase recreational use of the water.

Q3: What do you consider to be the most pressing park or open space need in your community, and what is your plan to address it?

The lack of open space. My plan is to prioritize open space in new development projects, ensure that POPS are well maintained and accessible to the public, and to direct capital funding to maintain, increase, and expand parks in the district.


Candidate Name:  Marti Speranza

Q1: Which article of the Public Realm Bill of Rights for NYC speaks to you the most, and why?

They all resonate, but Health and Funding especially.  In a city as dense as ours, it’s crucial that we create more open space and parks that provide opportunities for New Yorkers to exercise, relax, and socialize. New park projects take too long and don’t always go to the underserved communities that need them most. We should be thinking of the creation of parks and open spaces as a public health issue and develop a funding plan that reflects the importance of parks’ impact on New Yorkers’ health. Park and open space creation, along with local hiring initiatives for their construction should be a part of neighborhood rezoning plans.

Q2: What is your favorite park or open space in your district? How can it be improved and thrive?

My favorite place to unwind after a week of door knocking and phone banking is Bryant Park. The park holds a lot of sentimental value for my family. I married my husband, Rod, at the library there. Now, we bring our twins, Gia and Leo, for picnics at the park. Bryant Park is a good example of a well-executed public-private partnership but we have to ensure that when events are held there to generate funds for its upkeep, they are fully accessible to the public. In general, neighborhood parks need more public funding to ensure they’re maintained at the highest standard.

Q3: What do you consider to be the most pressing park or open space need in your community, and what is your plan to address it?

I sit on the Parks & Public Spaces Committee of Community Board 5. We always work to ensure that we consider the problem of over-commercialization of our City’s public spaces when making recommendations in the course of reviewing permit applications. I recently held a press conference and rally in the Privately Owned Public Space (POPS) in Trump Tower, to protest the fact that delinquent developers across the City are failing to provide the public amenities required by their POPS agreements with the City. If elected, I will increase oversight on POPS and work to improve coordination between the City agencies responsible for overseeing and enforcing POPS agreements. Comptroller Stringer’s recent audit on POPS revealed that Council District 4 is home to the most noncompliant POPS (77), making stronger enforcement of POPS agreements an important issue for this district.


New York City Council District 5


Candidate Name: Ben Kallos

Q1: Which article of the Public Realm Bill of Rights for NYC speaks to you the most, and why?

Infrastructure. I frequently cite New Yorkers for Parks' Open Space Index where my district still ranks 47 out of 51 for park and playground acres per 1,000 residents, despite adding thousands of square feet of parks space over the past three and a half years. The New Yorkers for Parks' District 5 Profile identifies many Privately Owned Public Spaces many of which are not providing the amenities promised which is why I introduced legislation requiring that those amenities be listed which was enacted into law. I will continue to work with New Yorkers for Parks to ensure that new development benefits the public realm.

Q2: What is your favorite park or open space in your district? How can it be improved and thrive?

The East River Esplanade is my favorite park where I love to run because it serves so much of my district on the East Side from 51st Street all the way to 100th Street and north. When I got elected, after generations of neglect it was literally falling into the river. When I was asked to Co-Chair the East River Esplanade Taskforce with Congressmember Carolyn Maloney, I took on the challenge and have secured over $150 million to rebuild and expand.

Q3: What do you consider to be the most pressing park or open space need in your community, and what is your plan to address it?

Too many parks and public spaces throughout our city fall into disuse and disrepair without anyone who cares. That is a trend I am reversing by working with residents and community groups to form Friends groups and Conservancies for every park in my district with support from New Yorkers for Parks and funding from my office for Parks Equity. I've already helped plant the seed with new Conservancies blossoming into new investment and you can even stop and smell the flowers.


New York City Council District 6

No candidate responses


New York City Council District 7


Candidate Name:  Mark Levine

Q1: Which article of the Public Realm Bill of Rights for NYC speaks to you the most, and why?

All of the items are incredibly important to the success of our City parks system. As the Chair of the Parks Committee in the New York City Council, access has been one of the chief focuses of mine, specifically as it relates to equity in our parks system. I have also pushed for greater access to our city's open spaces as well as closed off sites such as North Brother Island. I have also fought for additional Parks officers and against cuts to Parks staff.

Q2: What is your favorite park or open space in your district? How can it be improved and thrive?

(no response from candidate)

Q3: What do you consider to be the most pressing park or open space need in your community, and what is your plan to address it?

All of our parks and open spaces deserve attention as needs arise, but I consider the inequity of parks to be the most pressing need. As Chair of the Parks I have fought for funding at city parks in the outer boroughs and throughout low-income and working class communities.


New York City Council District 8


Candidate Name:  Diana Ayala

Q1: Which article of the Public Realm Bill of Rights for NYC speaks to you the most, and why?

Article lll speaks to me the most. Green spaces in District 8 have proven to be important for both physical and social health in our community. Our parks provide recreational activities for youth and seniors. Also, with our City Council District having the highest concentration of public housing developments, it is important that we have green spaces for our residents to use for exercise and however else they see fit. We have a huge asthma problem in our community as well due to poor air quality and mold in housing units. More green spaces can help to combat this issue as well.

Q2: What is your favorite park or open space in your district? How can it be improved and thrive?

Brook Park is my favorite community garden in the district. Not only do they provide fresh fruits and vegetables to low-income residents at affordable rates, but they also employ our youth who have had previous encounters with law enforcement or are at great risk of doing so. They learn how to grow fresh produce, stay out of trouble while working the land, and make money for doing so. The garden also has live animals, art displays, hosts community programming, and is completely open to the public. More spaces like this are needed in District 8. This space can be improved with increased funding for updated equipment, but they have done exceptional work without it.

Q3: What do you consider to be the most pressing park or open space need in your community, and what is your plan to address it?

We need to increase the accessibility of parks and green spaces to residents. A couple are difficult for people with disabilities to use because of staircases and a lack of ramps. Others spaces have limited hours because they are short staffed or because of safety concerns. All of these problems can be remedied with increased funding and incentive to participate (which Brook Park has proved works).


Candidate Name:  Tamika Mapp

Q1: Which article of the Public Realm Bill of Rights for NYC speaks to you the most, and why?

There are two articles that speak out to me. The first is access because I believe every person has a right to have a park and a garden by their home. The park so children can just be children, and the garden to foster healthy eating habits and teach our children where the food is coming so, they can help keep their families healthy. The second one is funding because every park should be kept clean and safe for all New Yorkers.

Q2: What is your favorite park or open space in your district? How can it be improved and thrive?

My favorite park is Thomas Jefferson. The dog park can be improved so our dogs have a fun place to socialize and exercise. The track needs to be able to be cleared off during the winter months so we can have a safe place to exercise in those months as well. Water fountains and bathrooms need to placed throughout the park as well.

Q3: What do you consider to be the most pressing park or open space need in your community, and what is your plan to address it?

It will be our community garden access. I'll be working with 596 Acres to help the community to gain more access so we can bring more healthy food options in the community and teach our families of why eating healthy is important.


Candidate Name:  Robert J. Rodriguez

Q1: Which article of the Public Realm Bill of Rights for NYC speaks to you the most, and why?

Access. Much of the work and advocacy that is being done right now is to prevent and improve our existing park and open space. But as more development comes into New York City and especially in our community of District 8, we should not forget about increasing park space. For low-income and working-class families, much of our open space gets taken away. I want to make sure that we don’t just improve our open spaces, but add on to it, so that every individual has the access.

Q2: What is your favorite park or open space in your district? How can it be improved and thrive?

I have always loved Randall’s Island. It’s just a great park to have in the middle of New York City and I love the programming that Randall's Island Park Alliance provides from movies to soccer and anything in between. I do think that there is an infrastructure issue - an issue of getting to Randall’s island. As beautiful as the island is, not enough individuals use it because it is hard to get to. The Randall's Island Connector, connecting the South Bronx, is a great start, but more needs to be done to make sure that people get to see this wonderful open space.

Q3: What do you consider to be the most pressing park or open space need in your community, and what is your plan to address it?

The East River Esplanade is one of the open spaces that I think needs attention. I can see the potential of this space to transform the community and the district. In the mid-30s, the East River Esplanade and its piers, were full of activity. Today, we have the potential to convert this open space into something transformative. In District 8 and in East Harlem specifically, I would support funding to the crumbling infrastructure for the East River Waterfront Esplanade and I would fight to make sure that our sidewalks do not fall into the river.


New York City Council District 9


Candidate Name: Pierre Gooding

Q1: Which article of the Public Realm Bill of Rights for NYC speaks to you the most, and why?

The aspect of park improvements happening with community input is most important to me, as our community members feel that they currently are not being heard or protected on important issues such as neighborhood development and are looking for leadership that will ensure that the needs of our district are met.

Q2: What is your favorite park or open space in your district? How can it be improved and thrive?

St. Nicholas Park is my favorite because I run through it on a daily basis. We need to make sure that the park is kept clean and that there are basketball nets on the hoops, and not just during an election year. 

Q3: What do you consider to be the most pressing park or open space need in your community, and what is your plan to address it?

Philip Randolph Square on 116th used to have a bench where community members would sit and wait for the bus.  Due to the homelessness situation, the De Blasio administration removed the bench.  There are two problems with this approach.  One, it does nothing to counteract the homelessness situation in Harlem and two now the community members that wait for the bus at the bus stop cannot sit down while they wait, some of whom are disabled or otherwise unable to stand for long periods of time while waiting for their bus.  We will replace these seats.


New York City Council District 10, 11, 12

No candidate responses


New York City Council District 13


Candidate Name: John C. Doyle

Q1: Which article of the Public Realm Bill of Rights for NYC speaks to you the most, and why?

As an employee of our cities hospital system, health speaks most to me. Parks provide invaluable greenspace for our citizens to enjoy the health benefits that come with them.

Q2: What is your favorite park or open space in your district? How can it be improved and thrive?

Pelham Bay Park, the largest park in our city, lies within my district, and is my favorite. I believe we can improve with additional trails to make it more accessible to more citizens.

Q3: What do you consider to be the most pressing park or open space need in your community, and what is your plan to address it?

Making sure the parks our district currently has are protected is a high priority for me, and I am committed to fighting development of these public parklands. In addition, making sure coastal areas are made resilient is also important not just for these areas, but for the community as a whole

 

Candidate Name:  Marjorie Velazquez

Q1: Which article of the Public Realm Bill of Rights for NYC speaks to you the most, and why?

I am strong supporter of the entire Public Realm Bill of Rights, but my top priority in the City Council is to improve my community’s infrastructure in a sustainable way that will help families, and not force residents to leave. A central aspect to developing a strong and sustainable infrastructure involves ensuring our parks are upgrade and well maintained for the community.

Q2: What is your favorite park or open space in your district? How can it be improved and thrive?

As my district is home to the largest public park in New York City, my favorite park is Pelham Bay Park. With an abundance of beautiful land, the ways in which the park can be improved or better utilized are endless, but my top priorities is to have the park be more accessible. The current City Council Member James Vacca, who has endorsed my candidacy, has made it a priority to bring activities to the community. I plan on continuing these activities expanding them such as concerts, family days in the park, and afterschool programs for children.

Q3: What do you consider to be the most pressing park or open space need in your community, and what is your plan to address it?

I believe the most pressing park or open space in my community that has needs is Owen Dolan Park. As Community Board 10 Treasurer, I helped approve a budget for over $2 million in funding for Owen Dolan Park, but there is still much more to do. The facilities often lack proper maintenance and needs many upgrades, in addition that I believe the space could be better used to engage the community and its needs. I recently attended a “Back to School” fair in the park, and I believe that with addressing the issues with the Owen Dolan Park, it will be more accessible and better utilized for the community and the surrounding small businesses.


New York City Council District 14, 15, 16, 17

No candidate responses


New York City Council District 18


Candidate Name:  Amanda Farias

Q1: Which article of the Public Realm Bill of Rights for NYC speaks to you the most, and why?

Access to green spaces influence our health and throughout the Bronx, we need opportunities to create healthier choices. There is a direct correlation between having public green spaces and the likelihood that we people exercise and that can aid in the decline of obesity and health concerns within communities. Green Space helps to build stronger communities and having access to them provides spaces for people to interact with one another, which creates a greater sense of what community means. Successful public places, and ensuring that communities have access to them, is really successful when we not only design for the needs of the community but also manage them well to ensure that communities are involved in them. This goes beyond just cutting the grass and picking up the garbage. We need to think of parks more as outdoor community centers where we need to invest in uses and activities so they can fulfill their potential. When we improve parks, we’re really improving quality of life.

Q2: What is your favorite park or open space in your district? How can it be improved and thrive?

I live adjacent to Taylor Playground, where I often take my younger brother to play. Growing up throughout the district I have been in and around many of the parks and in Taylor Playground there is a small children’s play area, swing sets, even a sprinkler, and though these are great amenities for the children, what I have found missing in a majority of our playgrounds is that they do not have green spaces or are not built and/or renovated with a range of ages in mind for children to get the most out of the space. Most of my families with younger children also have kids in other age groups. It’s important to have play equipment that targets for a few age ranges in mind. I would like to see more designated equipment that is interactive for younger age groups that are just learning basic developmental skills, with easy touch or grasping when needed and including open green spaces for children to crawl, stand, walk, and explore. Play areas that prepare for balance activities and climbers, ways to incorporate motion into playground equipment and open space for running.

Q3: What do you consider to be the most pressing park or open space need in your community, and what is your plan to address it?

I believe the most pressing park or open space in my community that has needs is Owen Dolan Park. As Living in NYC we can get consumed by our concrete jungle. While that is part of living in the city and the Bronx, we need to re-imagine our communities and re-invest in the neighborhoods we really want to live in. District 18 lacks green space and beautification. Beautifying our neighborhoods with tree-lined streets and green spaces can improve a walk to school or work. I want our neighborhoods to grow from being under-resourced communities living without green spaces, to giving residents access to green space in every neighborhood. I want to encourage working on our community gardens, in our public parks, and open spaces like, schools, housing projects, vacant lots, sidewalks and even highways and commit to funding for efforts like these. More green spaces also produces numerous health benefits for the community. 

Having access to public open spaces and parks has been associated with better-perceived general health, reduced stress levels, reduced depression and more. District 18 isn’t just concrete, we have large areas in Soundview, Clason Point, Harding Park and Shorehaven that are not only green but are waterfront and need more maintenance. Our green spaces that have water-front need to include protections for natural lands, so we can provide a healthy habitat for humans, wildlife and plants in these urban spaces.


New York City Council District 19


Candidate Name: Paul Graziano

Please tell us what seat you are running for: NYC Council District 19

Q1: Which article of the Public Realm Bill of Rights for NYC speaks to you the most, and why?

Article IV: The effects of climate change in the city of New York are the biggest threat we face.  My district has 45 miles of coastline which is vulnerable to climate change and we must protect our environment and respond to protect where we live or we will not have a place to live in the future.

Q2: What is your favorite park or open space in your district? How can it be improved and thrive?

Udall's Cove Park & Preserve, a 100+ acre upland ravine and brackish marsh, protected by neighborhood residents for more than 50 years. Improvements would include acquisition of the remaining parcels within the park's boundaries; closing the sewage treatment plant in Nassau County that is leaking sewage into the wetlands and removal of massive amounts of concrete and other debris dumped at the upland portion of the ravine to restore it to its natural condition.

Q3: What do you consider to be the most pressing park or open space need in your community, and what is your plan to address it?

To transfer the old Flushing Airport property, approximately 60 acres of freshwater wetlands from DCAS to Parks to protect the last remaining wetlands in College Point.


New York City Council District 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29

No candidate responses


New York City Council District 30


Candidate Name: Robert Holden

Q1: Which article of the Public Realm Bill of Rights for NYC speaks to you the most, and why?

Article 1 - Because my district suffers from a dearth of park space.

Q2: What is your favorite park or open space in your district? How can it be improved and thrive?

Juniper Valley Park.  It needs adequate funding.  The ballfields are overdue for a renovation and are suffering from poor drainage.

Q3: What do you consider to be the most pressing park or open space need in your community, and what is your plan to address it?

Lack of parkland.  I would like to purchase vacant lands that are available to convert them into park space.

 

New York City Council District 31, 32, 33, 34, 34, 36

No candidate responses 


New York City Council District 37


Candidate Name: Rafael L. Espinal Jr.

Q1: Which article of the Public Realm Bill of Rights for NYC speaks to you the most, and why?

Funding. As a representative of a neighborhood that was disinvested in for decades. Its important that the city makes much needed investments to upkeep our parks and provide programming to our constituents

Q2: What is your favorite park or open space in your district? How can it be improved and thrive?

Highland Park. I believe it has a lot of potential of being one of the best parks in the city. It is also home to the ridge wood reservoir an unofficial nature reserve. There are a lot of needs for investments to upkeep the ballfields, green spaces and dilapidated pathways. I was able to secure 18 million dollars for improvements in the past year, but the park still needs over 10 million dollars of capital improvements in order to be in up to par with parks like Prospect Park & Central Park.

Q3: What do you consider to be the most pressing park or open space need in your community, and what is your plan to address it?

The creation of more green space. I am working with the community on a plan for Bushwick and plan to push the city to buy or develop vacant lots into green space.



New York City Council District 38, 39, 40, 41, 42

No candidate responses 


New York City Council District 43


Candidate Name: Kevin Peter Carroll

Q1: Which article of the Public Realm Bill of Rights for NYC speaks to you the most, and why?

I really could not pick one. Without each our parks would fall apart.

Q2: What is your favorite park or open space in your district? How can it be improved and thrive?

The Narrows Botanic Gardens. A new iron fence is needed for sure. 

Q3: What do you consider to be the most pressing park or open space need in your community, and what is your plan to address it?

Better drainage to prevent runoff at Owls Head Park. I intend to meet with Brooklyn Parks to see what can be done and how much funding it will take.


Candidate Name: Vincent Chirico

Q1: Which article of the Public Realm Bill of Rights for NYC speaks to you the most, and why?

Article II - Through my 13-year history as Vice President of the Dyker Heights Athletic Association, I have contributed to various private-sector fundraising efforts for the reconstruction of ballfields at the Bay 8th Park complex and at the 17th Avenue/Shore Parkway park complex), and for the maintenance of multiple other fields (including annual seeding, maintenance and protection efforts).  These efforts result in significant cost-savings to the NYC Parks Department budget, and ought to be reproduced Citywide, in order to make it easier for the Department to prioritize ongoing capital budget endeavors.  Additionally, my 10 years on the Board of nonprofit Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow (www.obtjobs.org) (the last two as Board Chair) have provided me with large-scale, young adult workforce training expertise, and OBT with an ever-growing partnership with the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development.  DYCD and OBT’s joint efforts have led to having provided over 2000 disconnected young adults each year with opportunities for personal and professional development via high-school equivalency preparedness, workforce training in various settings, paid internships, job placements and college access.  These efforts can, and should be replicated to create new jobs programs in park development, construction and maintenance.

Q2: What is your favorite park or open space in your district? How can it be improved and thrive?

The 43rd Council District encompasses the entire shoreline between southern Bensonhurst and the 69th Street pier in northern Bay Ridge, including the entire south-west Brooklyn shoreline abutting the Belt Parkway, with its picturesque views and walking/biking paths.  An additional portion of this shoreline area in Bensonhurst has already been developed to attract a variety of business and entertainment endeavors, and the 69th Street pier in Bay Ridge is already home to newly installed public ferry service.  I support the expansion of environmentally-friendly access endeavors, including partnerships with additional nonprofit organizations focused on public access for leisure activities.

Q3: What do you consider to be the most pressing park or open space need in your community, and what is your plan to address it?

While the significant shoreline abutting the 43rd Council District is generally in fine shape, several sections of the walking path under the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge have repeatedly been damaged over the years due to hurricanes, storm surges and heavy wind.  Additional efforts ought to be undertaken to strengthen these vulnerable areas, including coordination with federal and state governments to encourage better sustainability and storm preparedness.  


Candidate Name: John Quaglione

Q1: Which article of the Public Realm Bill of Rights for NYC speaks to you the most, and why?

Access. Because I believe that all New Yorkers should have access to parks. I supported Mayor Bloomberg’s initiative to transform school years into playgrounds. I represented Senator Golden at a number of planning meetings held at the local community boards, and I continue to support initiatives such as this. In fact, I have made personal use of this initiative by taking my children to the playground at P.S. 185, which is less than three blocks from my home.

Q2: What is your favorite park or open space in your district? How can it be improved and thrive?

Shore Road Park. By improving its resiliency.

Q3: What do you consider to be the most pressing park or open space need in your community, and what is your plan to address it?

The resiliency of our shorefront parks. I would support funding to make these parks more resilient.

 

New York City Council District 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51

No candidate responses