Play Fair

The Play Fair for Parks campaign is a multi-year advocacy effort for parks leading up to the Mayoral election in 2021. 

We believe that investing in greenspaces makes our neighborhoods more resilient in the face of a changing climate and brings New Yorkers closer to nature. Although City parks make up 14% of NYC’s land, the agency receives about 0.6% of the total City budget. For too long, parks and gardens have been overlooked as essential infrastructure for healthy neighborhoods.

We kicked off this campaign in 2019 and were successful in getting an additional $44 million into the NYC Parks budget. In 2020, we adjusted our goals due to the coronavirus pandemic and related budget shortfalls and are advocating for $47 million in investments that prioritize securing frontline parks workers' jobs and increasing their capacity for maintenance in our parks and open spaces, which are needed by New Yorkers now more than ever for their mental and physical health.

The Play Fair campaign was founded by New Yorkers for Parks with the New York League of Conservation Voters and DC 37, the NYC Parks workers’ union. 300 other organizations and grassroots groups form the Play Fair Coalition.

Learn more about the Play Fair campaign with this webinar.

The Play Fair Coalition

Our Coalition has 300 organizations and groups. Sign your organization on to the Play Fair Coalition today!

Join the Play Fair Coalition

The Play Fair Coalition includes:

10th & Stuyvesant Streets Block Association - 142nd St. Dog Run - 18th Street Brooklyn Block Association - 300 West Block Association - 52 People for Progress - 6BC Botanical Garden - A Patch of Inspiration Garden - A. Philip Randolph Square Neighborhood Alliance - Abraham Lincoln Neighborhood Development Association - AIA New York - Alice Austen House Museum - Alley Pond Environmental Center - Alliance for Flushing Meadows Corona Park - Alliance for Kips Bay - American Society of Landscape Architects, New York Chapter (ASLA-NY) - Astoria Park Alliance - Baisley Pond Park Block Association - Bedford Mosholu Community Association - Bissel Gardens BX - Boerum Hill School for International Studies - Bronx Coalition for Parks & Green Spaces - Bronx Community Board 8 - Bronx Community Health Network - Bronx Council for Environmental Quality - Bronx Land Trust - Bronx Park East Community Association - Bronx River Alliance - Bronx Roots in Motion - Brookfield Civic Association - Brooklyn Greenway Initiative - Brooklyn Parks & Open Space Coalition - Brooklyn Queens Land Trust - Buenavista Futbol Club Inc - BUFNY II/Harlem Tenants Association - CABS Home Care - Cadman Park Conservancy/Brooklyn War Memorial - Carl Schurz Park Conservancy - Carnegie Hill Neighbors - Central Park Conservancy - Chelsea Waterside Park Association - Citizen Gardeners - Citizens Climate Lobby - City Island Rising - City Parks Foundation - Clean Bushwick Initiative - Cleveland-Pitkin Block Association - Clinton Garden - Coastal Preservation Network - Cobble Hill Association - Common Ground Compost - Concrete Plant Park Friends - Coney Island Beautification Project - Conference House Association - Conference House Park Conservancy Inc. - Cortelyou Road Merchant Assocation (CORMA) - Cosmopolitan Jr. Soccer League - Court Square Civic Association - Davey Resource Group, Inc. - DC37 Retirees Association - Design Trust for Public Space - Different Directions - DLANDstudio - Douglaston Local Development Corporation - Downtown Alliance - Downtown Brooklyn Partnership - Downtown United Soccer Club - Drew Gardens - Drew Gardens Educational Recreation - Dunbar Garden Council - Earth Avengers - Earth Matter NY Inc. -Earth Ministry of the Church of the Mediator - East NY 4 Gardens - Edgemere Coalition Community Garden - Edso Sports, Inc. - El Garden Bushwick - El Jardin del Paraiso - El Puente - Elite Learners, Inc. - Ellington on the Park - Elmhurst Supporters of Parks - Fieldston Rd. Association - Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Conservancy - Fort Four Playground - Fort Greene Park Conservancy - Fort Tryon Park Trust -  Forth on Fourth Avenue - Fresh Creek Nature Association - Friends of 29th St Park - Friends of 4 Parks Alliance - Friends of Abe Lebewohl Park - Friends of Alley Pond Park - Friends of Amersfort Park - Friends of Anibal Aviles Playground - Friends of Aqueduct Walk - Friends of Art Park Alliance - Friends of Astoria Heights Park - Friends of Bellevue South Park - Friends of Bennett Park - Friends of Brookville Park - Friends of Brower Park, Inc - Friends of Brownsville Parks - Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park - Friends of Carroll Park - Friends of Corlears Hook Park - Friends of Cunningham Park - Friends of Dag Hammarskjold Plaza - Friends of Ewen Park - Friends of Ferry Point Park & Waterways - Friends of Forest Park - Friends of Francis Lewis Park - Friends of Governors Island - Friends of Inwood Hill Park - Friends of John Hancock Park - Friends of MacDonald Park - Friends of Morningside Park - Friends of Mosholu Parkland - Friends of Pelham Bay Park - Friends of Pelham Parkway - Friends of Raimonda Park - Friends of Seton Falls Park - Friends of Sherman Creek Conservancy - Friends of Soundview Park - Friends of St. Andrew's Playground - Friends of Straus Park - Friends of Sunset Park - Friends of the High Line - Friends of Tompkins Square Dog Run - Friends of Transmitter Park - Friends of Tremont Park - Friends of Whalen Park - Friends of Williamsbridge Oval - Forest Hills Green Team - GallopNYC - Garden Train - Genesis Community Garden - Girl Scout Troop 3205 - Girl Scouts of Greater New York - Good and Green - Gowanus Canal Conservancy - Green Bronx Machine - Green Guerillas - Green Map System - Green Park Gardeners NYC - Greenbelt Conservancy Inc. - Greenpoint Citizens Club - Guerinos Against Graffiti - Harlem Grown - Havemeyer Garden - Health Essential Association - Hellgate Hill-Highgate Community Association - HerpDigest - Highland Park Tennis - Historic House Trust of New York City - Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York - Hudson River Park Friends - Hunters Point Civic Association - Hunters Point Parks Conservancy - Hutchinson River Restoration Project - Inwood Hill Park Conservancy - Inwood Rotary Club - Jackson Heights Beautification Group - Jacob H. Schiff Playground Neighborhood Association - Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy - Jardin La Roca - Jenny's Garden - Kelly St. Garden - Kissena Corridor Park Conservancy, Inc. - La Petit Versailles - Le'alani S. Boykin Consulting - Lenru Coop - Less AIDS Lesotho - Lewis Latimer House - Lily Auchincloss Foundation - Little Green Garden - Long Island City Partnership - Lott Street Block Association - Love Our Pool - Loving the Bronx - Lower East Side Ecology Center - Madison Square Park Conservancy - Marcus Garvey Park Alliance - Maria Hernandez Park Dog Run Pack - Mary Mitchell Family and Youth Center - Melrose New Generation - Miracle Garden - Morris-Jumel Mansion - Morris Park BID - Morton Street Block Association - Municipal Art Society - Myrtle Ave BID - Nancercize - National Parks Conservation Association - Natural Areas Conservancy - New York Botanical Garden - New York Climate Save - New York Junior Tennis & Learning - New York Restoration Project - Newtown Creek Alliance - North American Climate, Conservation and Environment (NACCE) - North Brooklyn Parks Alliance - North Brooklyn Neighbors - NYC Audubon - NYC Community Garden Coalition - NYC H2O - Paedergat Bay Condo II - Parent Child Relationship Association - Park Clinton Gardening - Prime Produce - Project Harmony, Inc. - Prospect Park Alliance - Prospect Park Community Committee - Prospect Pl/New York Ave Block Association - Q Gardens Community Farm - Queensboro Dance Festival - Randall's Island Park Alliance - Red Hook Conservancy - Red Hook West Resident Association, Inc. - Red Shed Community Garden - Richmond Hill Historical Society - RING Garden - River Garden - Riverside Park Conservancy - Rockaway Initiative for Sustainability and Equity (RISE) - Row New York - Rude Grooms - Rutgers Resident Association - Safe Zone Cross Culture Youth - Samaritan Daytop Village - Sara D. Roosevelt Park Coalition - Sedgwick Park Friends & Neighbors - Seton Falls Park Preservation Coalition - Seward Park Conservancy - Sidewalk Labs - Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden - Staten Island Economic Development Corporation - Staten Island Partnership for Community Wellness - Staten Island Women Who March - Stewards of Brust Park - Street Trees Super Steward - Survivor I Am / Friends of Bufano Park - Sunset Spark - Sutton Place Parks Conservancy - SWIM - Target Bronx Community Garden - Team Spartan Spades - The Bronx is Blooming - The Brotherhood Sister Sol - The Connected Chef - The Freshkills Park Alliance - The Kensington Stewards - The Kingsbridge Heights Community Center - The League: A Distinguished Gentlemen's Movement, Inc - The Lowline - The Movement Creative - The Musical Seeds Project - The Nature Conservancy in New York - The New York Landmarks Conservancy - The Old Stone House and Gardens - The Trust for Public Land - Times Square Alliance - Tinker Tree Play/Care - Total Equity Now Harlem - Transportation Alternatives - Trust for Governors Island - UFT/UCS - Union Square Partnership - United Athletic Association - United Nations International School - United We Stand Garden - UP-STAND - Upper Green Side - Uptown & Boogie Bicycle Advocacy - Van Cortlandt Park Alliance - Verna L. Judge Garden - Volunteers for Isham Park - Volunteers for Springfield Park, Inc. - W 181st St Beautification Project - Warren Community Garden - Washington Square Park Eco Projects - Waterfront Alliance - WE ACT for Environmental Justice - We Run Brownsville - West 400 Block Association 21st, 22nd & 23rd Streets - West 80s Neighborhood Association - Wetherby-Pembridge School - Wildlife Conservation Society - Women of Woodlawn - Woodlawn Taxpayer Association - Yorkville Sports Association - Young Buck Sports


Watch our last-minute pivot to a Digital Rally for Parks on YouTube!
Watch our last-minute pivot to a Digital Rally for Parks on YouTube!

In 2020 the Play Fair Coalition grew from 60 to 300 member organizations, advocating together for critically-needed expense budget investments in NYC Parks. 

Play Fair campaigned in-person, by phone, on Zoom, and by email with the goal of adding $47 million to the NYC Parks expense budget. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and impacts to the City's finances, the Coalition had refined an earlier goal of $200 million, focusing on items that funded key priorities: protecting and creating jobs and keeping open spaces safe, healthy, and well-maintained. 

While the NYC Parks expense budget for Fiscal Year 2021 suffered a 14% cut ($84 million), the power of Play Fair advocacy is clear: 300 NYC Parks workers jobs were secured with the support of Play Fair. 

  • 100 City Park Workers and 50 Gardeners were RENEWED by the New York City Council for FY2021
  • 100 City Park Workers and 50 Gardeners had been made PERMANENT by the Mayor in the FY2020 budget

As a multiyear campaign, Play Fair will continue to call for significant, transformative investment in parks in the years ahead.

The Play Fair Coalition joins City Council Speaker Corey Johnson on June 27, 2019 to celebrate the historic $44 million Parks budget increase
The Play Fair Coalition joins City Council Speaker Corey Johnson on June 27, 2019 to celebrate the historic $44 million Parks budget increase

In 2019, we kicked off the Play Fair campaign by focusing on a significant increase to the expense budget for the Parks Department, which would “baseline,” or secure, funding for much-needed maintenance, gardener, and park worker positions in the City budget. We held two rallies in February and May attended by over 200 New Yorkers. 

We succeeded! In June 2019, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Mayor Bill de Blasio allocated an additional $44 million into the NYC Parks budget.

The $44 million investment in the FY20 budget for the City’s parks included:

  • $19.1 million for park maintenance workers, including 200 park workers, 100 gardeners, of which $9.6 million for 100 park workers and 50 gardeners is baselined
  • $4 million for additional 50 Urban Park Rangers
  • $6 million for additional 80 Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP) officers
  • $4 million for Forestry Management
  • $8.2 million to support all 550 GreenThumb community gardens citywide
  • $1.7 million to extend the City’s pool and beach season by an additional one week
  • $1 million to support tree stump removal

This couldn't have happened without the support of the full Play Fair coalition and the City Council - thank you!

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