Environment and Energy, Features, Finance, New York

Shortage of Playgrounds in NYC

May 5, 2019

By Stephanie West

New York, NY — New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer has documented a severe shortage of playgrounds in New York City. Also many are substandard and unsafe.

In the Comptroller’s recent report, “State of Play: A New Model for NYC Playgrounds,” there are neighborhoods in the city lacking playgrounds for children. There is a particular shortage in areas with the fastest population growth as Bensonhurst, Borough Park, Corona, Richmond Hill, and Flatbush. — having fewer than four NYC Parks playgrounds for every 10,000 children. New York City ranks 48th in playgrounds per capita among the 100 largest American cities. In addition conditions at hundreds of NYC Parks playgrounds are substandard and hazardous.

 “Playgrounds are essential public spaces, offering children a place to socialize, learn, be active, and exercise their imaginations. They are also spaces for children and families to meet their neighbors and develop strong bonds. But our findings reveal stark disparities in access to these critical public spaces in New York City,” said Comptroller Stringer. “That’s why our City needs to overhaul the planning, construction, and maintenance of our playground system. We can make a major impact on the lives and health of New York City children by substantially expanding the number of playgrounds in neighborhoods that are in dire need of these spaces, while also ensuring they are well-maintained and safe for every child.”

To address the urgent need for play areas in city neighborhoods, Comptroller Stringer outlined several  recommendations. This includes  calling on the City to build 200 new playgrounds in the next five years. Many of these new facilities would be built through the “Pavement to Playgrounds” program — a partnership between NYC Parks, the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), local nonprofits, and community boards. The Comptroller also suggested an expansion of the “Schoolyards to Playgrounds” program.

Comptroller Stringer’s report examined all 2,067 municipal playgrounds in New York City, of which 1,028 are overseen by Parks, 796 are managed by NYCHA, and 243 are “Schoolyards to Playgrounds” conversions co-administered by NYC Parks and the New York City Department of Education (DOE).

May 5, 2019

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