Luther Gulick Park


Wednesday, November 4, 2020
No. 52

NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, today joined Council Member Margaret Chin; Lucas Wolf, Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office; Jessica Mates, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer’s office; Owen Vincent, Local Programs Office, NY State Department of Transportation; Trever Holland, Chair, Community Board 3 Parks, Recreation, Waterfront and Resiliency Committee; Lisa Gulick, great-grand-niece of Luther Gulick and granddaughter of Dr. Luther Gulick; and David Bolotsky, founder of Friends of Luther Gulick Park to officially celebrate the reconstruction of Luther Gulick Park.

“Luther Gulick Park has undergone a truly remarkable transformation, and I’m thrilled to officially unveil this vibrant green space in the heart of the Lower East Side,” said Commissioner Silver. “The complete revitalization was made possible thanks to community advocacy and generous funding from Mayor de Blasio, City Council, State Department of Transportation, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, and many other supporters.”

The $9.9 million project at Luther Gulick Park transformed the mostly asphalt site into a lush green park that addresses the needs of the community. The park now accommodates multiple uses connected along new pathways and plantings, including basketball, handball and table tennis, adult fitness, and passive recreation. The park also features new play equipment geared for children of all ages and meets or exceeds ADA requirements.

The reconstruction of this park received $9.9 million in funding from City (Mayor Bill de Blasio—$3.3M, City Council—$1.8M, Borough President—$750K), State ($1.1M) and Federal ($3.4M) sources.

“Ever since my first term in Council I have fought for the revitalization of Luther Gulick Park, and it is a gratifying experience to finally see its completion,” said Council Member Margaret Chin. “I want to thank the Parks Department for doing such a wonderful job creating this new space and the neighbors for their tireless advocacy. Luther Gulick Park was designed to be a multi-use green space and I know all the surrounding communities will enjoy its many amenities for years to come.”

“As the pandemic rages on and families spend as much time outdoors as possible, it's more important now than ever that our communities have access to high-quality green and open space,” said Comptroller Scott Stringer. “I’m proud to have funded the construction of Luther Gulick Park as Manhattan Borough President, and I look forward to seeing how children in the neighborhood enjoy the new playground.”

“Parks are among the city’s most important and utilized treasures, and Luther Gulick Park is no exception,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “These renovations include beautifully designed upgrades to the playground, courts, sitting areas, and comfort station, and I know it will be a popular destination for the entire community.”

Funding ($900,000) was provided by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation through Community Development Block Grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“LMDC is proud to have helped fund the transformation of Luther Gulick Park,” said Holly Leicht, chair of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. “Lower East Side residents have waited years for this day, and the rebirth of this community playground couldn’t come at a more perfect time, as New York kids and their parents seek safe, fun outdoor spaces to play and gather during this difficult time. It also serves as a good reminder of what can be accomplished when city, state and federal government work in partnership.”

“My great uncle and grandfather would be so impressed by the hard work, dedication of resources and coordination for the reconstruction of this park named for them,” said Lisa Gulick. “They both believed that open space for play and recreation is vital for healthy communities and life, and I think they would be honored and thrilled to know their work is being recognized in this way.”

“It’s incredibly gratifying to see the vision of our community realized, and the renovation is even better than we had imagined,” said David Bolotsky, founder of Friends of Luther Gulick Park. “The park now brings all corners of our neighborhood together, and it’s wonderful to see people relaxing and playing together at a time when we really need positivity.”

When acquired by the City in 1931, then Parks Commissioner John E. Sheehy proposed to name the property in honor of Luther Gulick and his nephew, also Luther Gulick. However, the park was known as Bernard Downing Playground from its opening in 1933 until 1985, when the playground was renamed to honor both Gulicks’ civic contributions. The elder Gulick is widely known as the Godfather of Basketball, and the younger was the former president of the Institute for Public Administration and was appointed to the Committee on Administrative Management by President Franklin Roosevelt. The park was most recently renovated in 1999.

Directions to Luther Gulick Park

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