July 19, 2016
In addition to the significant increase in visitors, you may also see new faces taking care of your park. Every spring the Parks Department brings on hundreds of seasonal staff to work through the busy summer months. In a major win for NYC parks, this year Mayor de Blasio added funding for three times more funding for seasonal staff than last year, which means that we can expect significantly increased maintenance this year and hopefully for years to come.
The Parks Department picks up around 120 tons of trash every day in the summer, and on extended holiday weekends it’s even more. Parks workers also stock and clean bathrooms, mow lawns, do basic equipment repairs, and more. In short, there’s a lot of work that goes in to taking care of our parks in the summer.
Some seasonal staff begin work in April, readying ball fields, mowing grass, and preparing for summer. A few months later more come on to work at beaches, pools, and neighborhood parks. The city council added additional funding to keep beaches open for an extra week this year, so you can expect to see parks workers and lifeguards until September 11.
Perhaps you’ve also noticed that some of the staff you usually see in your local park aren’t around this time of year. The Parks Department offers a “Step-Up” program, where select permanent employees receive a temporary promotion and raise by moving to a beach, pool, or high-use park and supervising seasonal and entry-level employees throughout the summer. The Step-Up program gives dedicated, dependable staff the opportunity to learn new skills and puts them in a good position for a permanent promotion.
Even with all these feet on the ground, the Parks Department appreciates feedback from the community. They’re very responsive to 311, so if you see anything that needs to be addressed, don’t hesitate to report it!
NYC parks and open spaces have a lot of programming going on all summer long, most of it free. You can find out more on the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation website, and the City Parks Foundation calendar.
Believe it or not, that’s just a small slice of what’s going on. Many park “friends-of” groups have a Facebook page, and it’s a great way to find out if there’s anything more happening in your local spaces.