Stuyvesant Park, on Second Avenue between 15th and 17th Streets, is one of our favorite parks in the city. We walk through it on our way home from work most days and always admire its calm and open proportions, especially compared to its closed-to-the-public neighbor Gramercy Park. So we'd been wondering what was keeping the restoration on the East side of the park from completing. Thank you Villager for providing the scoop along with a fun tidbit of community board gossip.
First up, the restoration delays:
Rennit Bendavid-Val, manager of Manhattan District 6 for the Department of Parks and Recreation, told a July 25 neighborhood meeting that heavy rains had flooded quarries north of the city that were supplying bluestone paving blocks for the project.
In addition, a recent storm in the city caused a large elm tree in the east park to fall, Bendavid-Val said. The complications have also delayed installation of park lighting and water for the east fountain.
Now for the intrigue: Once again the Parks department has dropped its proposal for a food concession stand in the park. This was apparently the fourth time in six years the idea has been floated. “Like my mother’s recipe for meatloaf, this food concession comes up every two years and it’s just as distasteful,” Carol Scatter, a member of S.P.N.A. and chairperson of Community Board 6, told the Villager. But we're not sure we agree.
While we don't know if "granting private concessions in city parks was an illegal attempt to avoid State Legislature approval required before any public property is 'alienated,'a term meaning transferred to the control of a private entity," we still think there are real benefits to the idea. Now we don't think a Shake Shack-style venture makes sense in a park this size (Stuyvesant Park is about 4 acres) but a small, tasteful stand on the east side of the park doesn't seem like a bad idea to us. Where the buildings on surrounding the West side of the park are treasures, the East side is mostly surrounded by hospital buildings. A small stand there could bring that community back out into the park and could help pay for some of the further renovations that it so sorely needs (for instance: "The [Stuyvesant Park cast-iron] fence restoration has long been at the top of the Community Board 6 priority list submitted to the city each year.")
West Stuyvesant Park by ixtayul on flickr.