If Restrictions are Placed on Park Access, New Yorkers for Parks Calls On the City to Enforce them Equitably, Urges New Yorkers to Act Responsibly
New Yorkers for Parks (NY4P), the citywide advocate for parks and open space, released the following statement from director of outreach and programming Emily Walker, in response to the news that Mayor de Blasio is planning to restrict access to parks to prevent overcrowding.
“This past weekend was proof-positive that New Yorkers need their parks, perhaps more than ever. Should the Mayor decide it is necessary to restrict access to parks, we encourage him to do so in a way that is equitable across the city. His approach must take into account the fact that there are already many communities suffering from a lack of accessible open space, particularly those where the only open spaces within walking distance are playgrounds, which have already been closed due to the pandemic. Many of these communities are also lower-income, and have few other resources available for their physical and mental health.
The City should also enforce any restrictions equitably. Across the city, all people and all communities must be treated with the same level of oversight and respect, and we encourage an approach that emphasizes education over enforcement.
But it is also up to all of us as individuals to act responsibly. We ask all New Yorkers to wear masks when in public and socially distance, so that we don’t suffer even greater restrictions on parks access in the future. We’re coming up on the warmest months of the year, and we are all desperate to spend time outdoors after months of being cooped up. It’s critical that each individual New Yorker act safely and responsibly, for the good of all New Yorkers.”
Emily Walker is available for interview.
For over 100 years New Yorkers for Parks (NY4P) has protected and promoted open space across the city. Today the organization is the only independent non-profit championing quality open space for all New Yorkers. NY4P conducts research and develops tangible policy recommendations related to park development, management and sustainability. The organization uses this research to inform and empower communities throughout New York City to advocate for their open space needs and uses the research to drive immediate actions and long-term policies that protect and enhance the city’s vast network of parks, and ensure adequate and equitable distribution of open space resources to all neighborhoods.