FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 26, 2019
NYC PARKS OPENS THE FIRST NEW COMMUNITY PARK BUILT IN CHELSEA IN 40 YEARS
NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, and New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson joined State Senator Brad Hoylman; Community Board 4, First Vice Chair and Co-Chair of its Waterfront, Parks & Environment Committee Lowell Kern; Matt Weiss and Sally Greenspan, founding members of the Friends of Chelsea Green; Rosie Mendez from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer’s office; Jessie Kay from Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s office; and children and community members to cut the ribbon on the newly constructed Chelsea Green—the first new community park built in Chelsea in 40 years. This event featured a performance by members from the Lesbian & Gay Big Apple Corps.
“As the first new neighborhood park in 40 years, Chelsea Green provides vital public green space for this growing community,” said Commissioner Silver. “With a play area, shaded seating, and a rain garden, this vibrant park celebrates the energy and ingenuity of the New Yorkers who worked to make this possible.”
The new $5.8 million park, funded by Mayor Bill de Blasio, then Council Member Corey Johnson, and a private donor, is the result of nearly a decade of community advocacy that now features a play area with play structures, a passive play turf area, plantings and trees, shaded seating, and space for rotating public art displays and performances.
“For decades East Chelsea has been a ‘parks desert,’ requiring residents to walk a long distance to access green space or a playground,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson. “Now, after years of organizing and advocacy by Chelsea residents, we finally have a new public park and playground for the community. This is the first new public park in East Chelsea in 40 years, and I am so proud to have worked with my neighbors to make this happen, from Participatory Budgeting in 2015 all the way up to today. I thank the New York City Parks department and my colleagues in government for their contributions to Chelsea Green and I urge all Chelsea residents to come out here and enjoy this beautiful new green space in the heart of the City this summer.”
“I congratulate the Friends of Chelsea Green and the entire Chelsea community for their vision, determination and relentless work in making today a reality and, for the first time in 40 years, creating a new public park in the heart of Chelsea,” said Borough President Gale Brewer.
“Today at the new Chelsea Green, we reversed the Joni Mitchell song by putting up paradise in place of a parking lot,” said State Senator Brad Hoylman. “Congratulations to Speaker Corey Johnson, Matt Weiss, Sally Greenspan, and all the local activists in Chelsea, including Community Board 4, for making this new park a reality. I’m extremely grateful to Commissioner Silver, too, for bringing this new park to life.”
“CB4 is thrilled by the opening of Chelsea Green,” said Lowell Kern, First Vice Chair of Manhattan Community Board 4, and co-chair of it Waterfront, Parks & Environment committee. “We are happy that we were able to help the community realize their vision for this site. CB4 recognizes the power of community organizing and celebrates the opening of a park that was the highest vote-getter in Speaker Corey Johnson’s first edition of participatory budgeting.”
“We’re thrilled to welcome Chelsea Green to our community and are forever grateful to the NYC Parks Department and our elected officials, especially Council Speaker Corey Johnson, whose leadership helped make this possible,” said Matt Weiss & Sally Greenspan, on behalf of Friends of Chelsea Green. “We also want to acknowledge the thousands of downtown residents who have passionately supported this effort for nearly a decade. This park is a testament to the power of grassroots activism and a can-do New York spirit.”
The quarter-acre park, on West 20th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues in Manhattan, is the former site of a Department of Sanitation facility demolished by the Department of Design and Construction for the project. The lot has now been transformed into an oasis in a neighborhood that has not had new community-based parkland added in 40 years.