Parks advocacy group index says East Side lacks green space

Despite parks like the East River Esplanade, a parks advocacy group says the East Side lacks enough open space.
Despite parks like the East River Esplanade, a parks advocacy group says the East Side lacks enough open space.
Credit: New Yorkers for Parks

Open space is lacking on Manhattan’s East Side, according to an index published Wednesday by New Yorkers for Parks.

“The East Side has one of the lowest amounts of open space in the city,” said Holly Leicht, the advocacy group’s executive director.

The new index gives a snapshot of open space resources from 14th Street to 96th Street and between the East River and Central Park, where some 300,000 people live.

The index found that only 51 percent of residents in Council District 4, on the western half of the East Side, live near pocket or neighborhood parks. In District 5, along the waterfront, three-fourths of residents live near neighborhood parks but only 13 percent live near large parks.

Covering more than 350 blocks, the group’s survey revealed that the East Side’s waterfront in particular needs improvement, Leicht said.

But, finding actual room for improvement throughout the area will be difficult.

“It’s such a densely-built neighborhood,” Leicht said. “A lot of what we’re calling for in the report is an innovative approach to create more open space.”

Leicht said the city’s East Midtown rezoning plans, among other new private projects, present opportunities to improve and create more open space.

Funding for the index was provided by City Council members Daniel Garodnick and Jessica Lappin, who represent districts on the East Side.

New Yorkers for Parks is currently doing a field survey of open space in the Mott Haven neighborhood in the Bronx.

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter: @AnnaESanders



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