For-Profit Parks


The Los Angeles Times has a good piece about the privatization of public parks, focusing on Bryant Park in Manhattan. But buried in this excellent article is this shocker of an item:

On Wednesday, [New York] city officials are expected to vote on a plan to give 20 of Manhattan’s wealthiest private schools exclusive after-school access to dozens of public ball fields, rather than allow them to be used by nearby public schools in East Harlem and South Bronx. The private schools would pay more than $2 million a year to use the 63 fields for 20 years.

I don’t know if this has been covered in the New York media (since I’ve been on the opposite coast, see below), but if not, someone needs to get on it.

Across the U.S., Public Parks Are Landing Private Operators [LA Times, reg. req.]

For a slideshow of Bryant Park Ice Pond I took last year, click here (including the above photo).

4 Responses to For-Profit Parks

  1. DumboNYC says:

    I agree, the public should have access to a public park. Same thing is happening with the waterfront development in Brooklyn Bridge Park. There will be private housing on the park which some say will be the rich condo owner’s private backyard.

  2. I understand why condos in BBP is controversial, but this upcoming vote by city council is whole orders of magnitude more injurious. It would shut kids in low-income neighborhoods out of their own public parks so rich kids can monolpolize them. It’s really unbelieveable.

  3. Dave says:

    Yes, this story is being covered by the local media. When you get back, you should look into it in more detail. While I’m not sure that I like this proposal, it’s nowhere near as nefarious as it seems at first glance. These private schools currently have the permits to use these fields, and the Parks dept has a policy og giving priority to the renewal of existing permits over issuance of new permits. So all the Parks dept is doing is continuing the existing use patterns of the fields, but they are leveraging that use to fund the renovation of the parks. It looks like the privatisation of public space at first glance, but it really isn’t. Like I said, something about the deal feels wrong, but I don’t it’s as injurious as you make it sounds.

  4. Alyssa Katz says:

    Juan Gonzalez @ the Daily News has done a great series of columns on the Randalls Island deal. We’re way too reliant on private contributions to fund parks, and even as that game goes the private schools’ privileges under the arrangement are extreme.

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