NYC Parks Advocates released a report yesterday saying that many parks are actually very terrible, especially those in poor neighborhoods. Saying that it had surveyed all 1,700 city park areas, NYCPA said that Central Park and Bryant Park had the benefit of other funding resources, while parks in lower income neighborhoods aren't maintained as well. And to compound the problem, the Parks Department's funds have been slashed over time. From the NY Times:
The Parks Department said its expense and capital budgets have increased to $283 million in the current fiscal year from $185 million in 1991. But the percentage of the city budget allocated to parks dropped to 0.38 percent in 2004 from about 1.4 percent in 1960, according to the report. The city's budget proposal for parks and recreation for the 2007 fiscal year would cut financing by about $800,000.
The NYCPA also showed slides of "abandoned cars, discarded syringes, 15-foot-high weeds, piles of garbage, barrels containing chemical waste, crumbling piers and stairways, homeless encampments and broken lamps," according to the Times. Parks Commssioner Adrian Benepe disagreed with the report, saying that parks have, overall, gotten better over the years, not to mention that the 29,000 acres of parkland gives ample opportunity to find good and bad examples.
The Post has a graphic to accompany their article that lists some of the problems found by NYCPA. And New Yorkers For Parks issued its Report Card on Parks last year: Out of 190 parks (from 1-20 acres) surveyed, 114 received As & Bs, 38 received C's, and 38 failed with D's & F's; here's the press release (PDF) and actual report (PDF).
Photograph of Morningside Park from Bluejake