每日跟讀#568: New York Seeks to Make Parks More Inviting Spaces
For years, chain-link fences a dozen feet high have been a fixture of some of New York's parks, a reflection of a time when the city was a more dangerous place, erected to protect the children playing inside.
But now, those fences have become barriers, city officials say, dividing a park from its neighbors, and so at some parks the high fences will be knocked down.
On Tuesday, the city announced that eight parks will undergo ambitious face-lifts that are about more than just rehabilitation — it is a plan that represents an evolution, officials said, in New York's approach to parks by making these public spaces blend better and be more welcoming to their neighborhoods.
Mitchell J. Silver, the city's parks commissioner, said that besides lowering or removing fences, the plan also involved installing new benches, greenery and distinctive walkways, as well as treating the sidewalks that border parks as part of the parks themselves.
While the high fences were once seen as a deterrent, Silver said that creating more sight lines along the edges of parks and breathing new life into deserted patches would make them safer.
As part of a citywide plan, $40 million will be spent on the eight parks. The parks were chosen in a nomination process that included commentary from neighborhood residents. Silver said about 690 of New York's more than 1,700 parks were recommended for an overhaul.
"That's proof positive of how excited New Yorkers are to increase accessibility and openness in their favorite parks," he said in a statement.
A park's accessibility to neighborhoods was also a consideration. Overall, city officials have set a long-term goal of having 85 percent of New Yorkers living within walking distance of a park.
In the Parkchester neighborhood in the Bronx, Hugh Grant Circle is not just uninviting, it is also largely off-limits, blocked by a gate that is often locked, said Nilka Martell, a community activist who pressed for the circle to be selected for the city program, called Parks Without Borders.
But as she sees it, the park has potential to be a neighborhood hub, used for art installations and community programs and as a complement to a farmer's market held nearby.
Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/299114/web/#2L-7596942L