New Yorkers for Parks welcomes Spring by looking back over our incredible achievements from the last year together with our dedicated volunteers and partners. We’ve achieved so much together and we’re excited for what is to come.
Last year we made some serious strides for parks and open spaces in New York City. In 2019, we:
- Successfully advocated for the largest increase to NYC Parks Department’s budget in nearly 30 years. In February 2019, we started the Play Fair Campaign, a multi-year effort to increase City investment in the NYC parks department to meet critical maintenance needs. After months of organizing and building our coalition, NY4P led the Play Fair Coalition to success, securing an historic $44 million investment for NYC Parks. When parks advocates stand together, we truly can be a force for change.
- Shared crucial data with parks advocates. In response to neighborhood-scale rezoning studies, we studied three neighborhoods simultaneously to create three Open Space Index reports: Long Island City, Queens; the Bay Street Corridor, Staten Island; and Bushwick, Brooklyn. Releasing these new reports allows us to continue connecting local parks advocates with the data they need to advocate for green spaces in their neighborhoods.
- Released our first podcast, Lots to Grow. Our inaugural Fellow for Great Parks, Jessica Saab, reported, produced, and released NY4P’s first podcast on community gardens.
- Grew the Daffodil Project in its 18th year. Our signature public program continues to grow: we had more requests for bulbs last fall than ever before.
- Created new partnerships. Together with the Municipal Art Society, we researched the potential to protect access to light and air in open spaces as New York City becomes more dense. We released Bright Ideas, a joint report, and partnered with MAS on its annual Summit for New York City.
… And we’re even more excited for what’s to come! Here’s just a preview of what we have planned for 2020:
- As we prepare for the next two years of the Play Fair Campaign leading up to the 2021 citywide elections, we are expanding and mobilizing the Play Fair Coalition to ensure that parks equity issues cannot be ignored in the City’s budget and by candidates for office. The Play Fair Coalition has nearly 230 members (and is still growing!). Play Fair Year Two will begin with our upcoming rally on March 13th on the Steps of City Hall – we hope you will join us!
- We are updating our Citywide Open Space Profiles, one of NY4P’s most widely used tools, refreshing these to detail open space resources and conditions in all 59 Community Board Districts.
- Building on the success of three years of bringing academics, practitioners and stakeholders together through our Open Space Dialogues panels, we look forward to continuing our partnership with the New York Law School. Our next Dialogues panel will take place on April 2nd and consider “What’s Next?” for parks and open space in New York City.
- As daffodils begin to bloom across the city from over 1,100 Daffodil Project plantings last fall, we will celebrate and recognize the efforts of some of our most dedicated Project partners at the Daffodil Breakfast on April 23rd at Tavern on the Green. Since 2001, the Project has helped plant over 8 million daffodils citywide, honoring the lives lost on 9/11 while empowering volunteers across all five boroughs to care for their parks and open spaces.
I look forward to working with all of you as NY4P continues to be the voice of NYC’s parks and open spaces across all five boroughs. I am fortunate, and am continually overwhelmed by the dedication of our staff and partners who make our broader impact possible; in the meantime, our 112 –year legacy of protecting these treasured spaces continues. We look forward to building upon the incredible momentum you all have made possible with your support of NY4P’s work.
Thank you for joining us in these efforts... and here’s to another great year!
Paul R. Gottsegen
Acting Executive Director
New Yorkers for Parks