This week, we recap the outstanding “Greater & Greener” conference hosted by the City Parks Alliance, celebrate an agreement between New York City and the National Park Service for the Jamaica Bay area, and thank our interns for their service this summer.
Greater & Greener
From July 14-17, more than 900 people attended the City Parks Alliance conference, “Greater & Greener: Re-Imagining Parks for 21st Century Cities.” Delegations from foreign nations, non-profits, and U.S. cities gathered at New York University to share best practices and learn what it takes to design, build, and manage great urban parks in this day and age. The conference was filled with engaging activities, as attendees could choose from over 50 presentations and panel discussions, 20 site visits and tours, and nearly two dozen “mobile workshops.” I can proudly say that Parks set a great example as hosts and organizers of the conference. Participants were impressed, for good reason, with our city’s beautiful parks across all five boroughs. More than 100 Parkies lent a helping hand throughout the conference, from leading kayaking tours and trips to Governor’s Island to even acting on-stage alongside Mayor Bloomberg as he delivered Monday’s keynote address! My thanks go out to all of those involved for making the event a great success, particularly to First Deputy Commissioner Liam Kavanagh and Assistant Commissioner Nancy Barthold.
Historic Step Forward for Jamaica Bay
At City Hall on Tuesday, July 17, I joined Mayor Bloomberg and Interior Secretary Salazar as they signed an historic agreement in which New York City and the federal government will cooperatively manage 10,000 acres of federal and City-owned parks in and around Jamaica Bay. The agreement reflects a growing relationship between the National Park Service and New York City government, laying out initiatives that will revitalize the parks, waters, and wildlife of Jamaica Bay. The goals of the agreement include connecting park spaces, expanding recreational offerings in the area, and coordinating work involving habitat and bay restoration between the federal and city governments. The partnership will work to provide better transportation access to and from around the bay, greater community participation, and a wider variety of fun activities, including boat and bicycle rentals. It also invites academic universities and partners to design and manage a thorough research program geared towards the restoration of urban ecosystems like Jamaica Bay. Finally, the two government entities will work to create a new non-profit partnership to help manage and raise funds for the combined park lands. This exciting collaboration represents another important step towards making the parks and wildlife of Jamaica Bay more accessible for visitors and for residents.
This week, we salute our more than 200 interns who call themselves Parkies for the summer! Stationed in all five boroughs, our Parks interns have been a huge help both in the office and in the field. Some of our Parks interns are high school students, while others are enrolled in college or graduate programs, as far away as France and China! This enthusiastic group will take away a summer’s worth of new knowledge and experience once their summer ends, but they’ll leave a legacy behind at Parks as well. Our interns have imparted their own knowledge to Parks colleagues and supervisors, and their work has ultimately helped make New York City a better place to live in. Many thanks go out to Leslie Nusblatt, Elyse Mason and Margaret Zajkowska for welcoming this intern class into our Parks family. Together, they put together quite a program of events for the interns, from a weekly lecture series to field trips and tours, including a day at Alley Pond Adventure Course and an upcoming tour of 5-Boro’s Green Roof on Randall’s Island.
The interns’ most recent outing—the Mayor’s Office Day of Service at Fort Tilden beach, a National Park Service site in Jamaica Bay—fell on the same day that Secretary Salazar and Mayor Bloomberg signed the Jamaica Bay management agreement. A number of Parks interns joined interns from the Mayor’s Office for a day’s worth of service and recreation on a very hot day. Interns put up snow fencing to protect sand dunes along the beach and did some much-needed beach clean-up before enjoying lunch and activities like kayaking and volleyball.
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
“There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart's desire.
The other is to get it.”
George Bernard Shaw
(1856 - 1950)