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. Over 275 other organizations and grassroots groups form the Play Fair Coalition.

Learn more about the Play Fair campaign with this webinar.

Help us advocate for our city's parks! 

Join us in the second year of the Play Fair campaign by signing onto the Play Fair Petition!


Year 2

In Year 2 of the Play Fair Campaign, we are asking the Mayor and the City Council to add $47 million to the NYC Parks Expense Budget to focus on keeping open spaces safe, healthy, and well maintained, and on protecting jobs within NYC Parks.

  • $10M to baseline the 100 City Park Worker and 50 Gardener staff lines added in the FY20 budget.
  • $9M to baseline and preserve the 50 new Urban Park Ranger and 80 new Parks Enforcement Patrol positions created in the FY20 budget.
  • $7.4M to baseline 15 Green Thumb and 47 Natural Resources Group staff added in the FY20 budget added in the FY20 budget.
  • $5.5M to create 100 City Seasonal Aide positions for Parks Opportunity Program participants citywide.
  • $7.85M to invest in recreation and programming, creating five new positions with Partnerships for Parks, new positions in a Natural Turf Management citywide crew, and additional staff to host structured sports and afterschool programs.
  • $3M to create an in-house comfort station improvement team to target a comfort station in every borough, with 18 full-time staff, and 20 seasonal positions.
  • $950K to more than double the NYC Parks staff conducting the critically needed citywide needs assessment.
  • $520K to hire four full-time crews to conduct lake and pond maintenance.
  • $2.5M to bring much-needed maintenance equipment to all 51 Council Districts.

The original Play Fair 2020 campaign called for an increase of $200 million. But in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impending reduction in the City budget, the Coalition reduced the ask to focus on the key priorities: protecting and creating jobs, and ensuring that all New Yorkers have access to safe, healthy, and beautiful parks, gardens, and natural areas. This is imperative given the increased use of parks during the pandemic and the likelihood that usage will increase even more once it is again safe to gather in large groups.

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


340 parks workers may lose their livelihoods on July 1st, 2020, if the funding for their positions is not renewed for the FY21 budget. After serving on the frontlines during this pandemic to keep parks safe, we can't let these essential workers lose their stability, and NYC Parks lose personnel and funding for maintenance and care. 

Join us in calling our elected leaders to invest in parks and those who care for them. Sign the Play Fair Petition to both add your name to our growing list of Play Fair supporters and to send direct messages to both your local Council Member and Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Help us reach 3,400 signatures on our petition —
10 signatures for each of the 340 NYC Parks jobs that are on the line this fiscal year. 


Sign the Play Fair Petition


Year 1
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!

The Play Fair Coalition

Our Coalition has over 275 organizations and groups. Sign your organization on to the Play Fair Coalition today! Click here to join the 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


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