The latest battle between New York’s preservationists and developers is being waged over a 1.5-acre parcel of jungle gym and soccer and baseball fields, known as the Marx Brothers Playground.
Preservationists say there is no question that the space is a park. The city parks department has maintained the lot, wedged between 96th and 97th Streets on Second Avenue, since 1947. The department’s leaf symbol adorns a plaque affixed to the gate.
But city officials, who plan to partner with the developer AvalonBay to turn the site into a 68-story tower with school facilities, retail space and a mix of market-rate and affordable housing, insist the space is a playground.
That seemingly minor quibble of semantics is crucial. Parks require the State Legislature’s and the governor’s approval before they can be modified. Playgrounds do not.
Funny thing is that the Parks Dept's own website calls it a PARK.