Sunday, July 6, 2008
Post chronicles NYC park horrors
While the Bloomberg administration boasts that parks are in better shape than they've been in four decades, an investigation of 70 parks over the last nine months found:
* Clusters of homeless living in tents and small shantytowns in 10 parks, including Riverside Park near 148th Street in Manhattan.
* Hookers brazenly plying their 24-hour trade, including at Printers Park on Hoe Street in The Bronx.
* Areas where junkies shoot up and crack dealers set up shop, including at Fort George Playground in Washington Heights.
* An illegal chop shop where stolen vehicles, including a stripped US Defense Dept. sedan, are harvested is thriving in Fresh Creek Nature Preserve in Brooklyn.
* And many barren parks covered in weeds up to 12 feet high that are used as illegal dumps for items like abandoned boats and cars, construction debris, containers of hazardous material, opened steel safes, Vegas-style slot machines - and even a discarded tombstone in Dreier-Offerman Park in Brooklyn.
RAIDERS OF THE 'LOST' PARKS
Benepe also said his department doesn't favor some parts of the city over others, but an analysis of city data tells a vastly different story.
The city spends $10,694 per acre in taxpayer dollars annually to maintain and operate Manhattan parks. The other boroughs fare far worse, with Brooklyn ($10,173) second, followed by Queens ($4,676), The Bronx ($4,198) and Staten Island ($2,104).
But the best parks are usually the ones in elite neighborhoods that supplement their budgets with private dollars raised by well-heeled conservancies or government affiliated entities.