St. Mary's Park

NYC Parks Celebrates Green Improvements To St. Mary's Recreation Center

Friday, May 18, 2012
No. 34

NYC Parks & Recreation First Deputy Commissioner Liam Kavanagh today joined Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) Chief Energy Management Officer Ariella Maron, New York Power Authority (NYPA) Vice President for Energy Efficiency Paul Belnick, students from P.S. 230 and P.S. 161, and Parks employees to cut the ribbon on a $1.38 million green retrofit of the St. Mary’s Recreation Center and highlight the strides that Parks has taken toward becoming a more sustainable agency.

This renovation was managed by DCAS Energy Management, implemented by NYPA and funded through PlaNYC. The project included replacement of the St. Mary’s existing light fixtures with new, highly efficient lights equipped with photocell and motion sensors so that they automatically turn off when there is sufficient daylight or when the facility is not in use, replacement of the facility’s steam traps, new energy-efficient pool motors, the installation of a motorized insulated pool cover to reduce evaporation and therefore water heating demands, and the installation of a vestibule at one of the building’s front doors to reduce the loss of conditioned air to the building’s exterior. The next phase of improvements, expected to begin later this year, will include a solar thermal system on the roof to supply the Center’s hot water. In total, these energy conservation measures are expected to reduce annual energy costs at St. Mary’s by $169,000 and annual greenhouse gas emissions by 406 metric tons.

“When it opened in 1951, St. Mary’s Recreation Center was the first indoor recreation facility in New York City,” said Commissioner Kavanagh. “Thanks to our partners at the Department of Citywide Administrative Services and New York Power Authority, it is now the first to receive a green retrofit – including energy-efficient lights and pool motors, and an insulated pool cover – that will both help the environment and save taxpayers money. With these improvements, Parks’ recreation centers will not only make the city a healthier and happier place to live, but a greener and cleaner one as well.”

“We are excited to be back here at the St. Mary’s Recreation Center, where we launched the City’s ambitious PlaNYC goal to reduce municipal greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2017,” said Ariella Maron, Chief Energy Management Officer for DCAS. “The comprehensive energy efficiency audit at St. Mary’s helped us to set the standard for rolling out deep retrofits to hundreds of City buildings.”

“The types of improvements we are celebrating today at St. Mary’s Recreation Center are representative of the hundreds of energy efficiency projects the Power Authority is dedicated to pursuing throughout the city, in keeping with the ambitious policies of Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg to achieve major reductions in energy use at varied public facilities,” said Paul Belnick, NYPA Vice President for Energy Efficiency. “This project is especially appealing because, in addition to the impressive cost savings, the improvements will also help bring about a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to an area where children come to enjoy themselves, bringing new meaning to the phrase, `good clean fun!’”

These improvements are part of a larger effort by the Parks Department to use resources more efficiently and reduce the impact that our facilities have on the environment. Recent measures include text-message triggered ballfield lighting, green roofs and reflective paint coated “cool roofs,” and the weatherization and insulation of many of our buildings. To learn more about sustainability at NYC Parks and pick up a few green tips for yourself, visit, and search for keyword: “Sustainable Parks.”

St. Mary’s Recreation Center was the first indoor recreation facility to open in New York City. After World War II, Parks Commissioner Robert Moses inaugurated a citywide recreation program to provide the most congested city neighborhoods with places to play and socialize in cold weather months. Opened within St. Mary’s Park in 1951, this facility served as the pilot project for eight other centers located in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens.

Today, the Parks Department oversees the most affordable and extensive network of recreational services throughout New York City, including more than 30 recreation centers which offer facilities such as indoor pools, weight rooms, basketball courts, dance studios, art studios, game rooms, and libraries. Senior membership is $25 per year, kids under 18 are free, and adults can join for only 41 cents per day!

Directions to St. Mary's Park

Know Before You Go

Dog-friendly Areas
St. Mary's Dog Run

As a part of our Anchor Parks initiative, reconstruction of the dog run and ballfield in the southeast corner of St. Mary's Park is now underway. Follow this project on the Parks Capital Tracker for updates.

Anticipated Completion: Spring 2020

St. Mary's Park

As a part of our Anchor Parks initiative, reconstruction of the southern section of St. Mary's Park is now underway. This project includes reconstruction of the park’s pathways, passive central area, amphitheater and west comfort station. Follow this project on the Parks Capital Tracker for updates.

Anticipated Completion: Fall 2021

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