Parks Highlighted In State Of The City Address
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg yesterday delivered his 2013 State of the City Address at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. In a speech that featured a series of important announcements about sustainability, economic development, education and public safety, the Mayor highlighted a significant number of the initiatives that we work on here at NYC Parks.
Of particular significance, the Mayor thanked municipal employees – including Parks personnel - for working above and beyond the call of duty in responding to the challenges of recovering from Hurricane Sandy. The Mayor said, “We’re doing everything possible to help the hardest-hit communities – and I can’t say enough good things about how our workforce responded to Sandy: Sanitation and Transportation; Fire and Police; Buildings and Small Business Services; Health and Homeless Services; Parks and NYC Service. I could go on and on, because employees in every agency, and so many volunteers, gallantly rose to the occasion.”
Phil Sparacio, Queens Deputy Chief of Operations, sat on the stage behind the Mayor, representing the thousands of Parks employees who have devoted themselves to the recovery during these past few months. Phil led efforts to sandbag all Parks Department buildings and build berms to protect boardwalks in advance of the storm. Since then, he has served as a point person in the Rockaways to help coordinate rebuilding, restoration and aid efforts. He is just one of the many Parks employees who are making a difference in storm-affected communities.
The Mayor also spoke about a number of Parks and open space initiatives, including:
- The more than 750 acres of parkland that were added since 2002.
- Jamaica Bay, where NYC Parks is working with the National Parks Service and The Rockefeller Foundation to develop plans for a world-class science and resilience center that will be the premier institute for the study of coastal environments and climate change.
- The launch of a Conservation Corps, financed privately through the Mayor’s Fund, to train the next generation of Park stewards and leaders.
- The City’s environmental initiatives including increased recycling and composting.
- Freshkills Park, which is the largest new park that is being built since the 1930s.
- The Ocean Breeze Indoor Track and Field Facility, which will be one of the largest track and field complexes on the East Coast and our largest PlaNYC recreational center.
- The High Line, which will complete its third phase next year.
- Brooklyn Bridge Park, which this year will open two new sections of the park and transform two 19th century warehouses within the park into modern spaces for culture and commerce.
- Governors Island, which closed to the public for two centuries, has now become one of the most popular getaways in the city. A beautiful new 30-acre park will open on the island.
- Coney Island, which has undergone a dramatic comeback and will see the opening this summer of Steeplechase Plaza.
- Working with Major League Soccer to bring professional soccer back to New York City for the first time since the Cosmos left in 1977.
- Greenpoint Landing, a 5,000 unit housing development in North Brooklyn that will also feature new parks, open space and a marina.
- Our commitment to open all of our beaches on Memorial Day weekend this year, just as we always do, to show that Hurricane Sandy will not stop us from enjoying our coastline.
Mayor Bloomberg closed his address by stating “We have accomplished much – but we have much more that we can accomplish. The state of our city is stronger than ever – but it can be stronger still and together, we’ll make it such.”
Visit our Photo Gallery page to see more dynamic photos of our parks. Thank you for your continued support, partnership and efforts as we continue working to improve New York City’s parks and open spaces.
“By working to finish all this work, we can create a new beginning for the city we love. But for now, the unfinished business awaits. Or, in the words of a poet: we have promises to keep and miles to go before we sleep.”
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
February 14, 2013