Friday, November 9, 2012

Increasing the variety of Recreation Activities in Chelsea/hells's Kitchen

Ideas for Increasing the number and variety of Public Recreation Opportunities in Chelsea/Hell's Kitchen

Active Recreation Activities 
Within a 1/3 mile walk we have a great deal of outdoor passive spaces available to cb4 residents, with the passive activity being sitting/eating/reading. A count is about 44 centralized sitting areas, plus another 10 stand alone park benches, for a total of about 54 areas. But we do very poorly on the metric of active spaces.A count of these areas is around 14 with 9 of theses locations offering just 1 or 2 active recreation activities. It is possible to add active recreation opportunities to these areas often at a very low cost. example a concrete table tennis table should cost under $5,000 installed per installation.
Flatiron Plaza Active Recreation Proposal
Indoor Recreation Spaces
Outdoor spaces are great during good weather but little used in the winter and inclement weather. We have extraordinarily few indoor active  recreation spaces for CB4 residents. The Chelsea Recreation Center and the Lovejoy Center are the only two free public spaces that we have so far identified.  Because of tthe lack of indoor childrens playgrounds  there are four private organizations in Chelsea that offer high cost indoor space opportunities , three of these are specifically fulfilling the need of indoor space activities that our public parks system is not providing. . As new affordable housing is built in CB4 it may be possible to work with the developers so that indoor public active recreation spaces can be included in these developments.
 Indoor Parks and Indoor Playgrounds
Community Gardens/Greenhouses
Community Gardens help create community. Hell's Kitchen has a good number of community gardens. Until the creation of the Chelsea Garden Club and the recently revived Alices garden  there were no public community gardens in Chelsea. There are no public community greenhouses that I know of in CB4. The Lotus Garden on the Upper West side is an incredible public community garden built on top of a parking garage as part of NYC's Privately owned Public spaces program. As new affordable housing is built in CB4 it may be possible to work with the developers so that community gardens/greenhouses s can be included in these developments. 
 Sky Parks Part 2
Age Friendly "Parks" and Senior Playgrounds
I know seniors who can barely walk, and who would be very happy to simply to have a bench on their block where they could sit and enjoy the outdoors. The NYC Citybench program provides the opportunity to request these (you can see one in front of the Fulton Center). Beyond the allocation we can receive under this program CB4 might also want to see about getting funding to install "A seat near every Street" in Chelsea and hell's Kitchen. Additionally outdoor Senior excersize equipment is now being produced that can allow seniors the opportunity to do excersizes while at senior centers or other locations. This equipment can be installed at relatively low cost. There is a underutilized space at the Fulton center that this equipment can be installed and there may also be room at/near  CB4's other senior centers. 
 Senior Playgrounds
  Senior Seating  
Secret Parks
There are far more outdoor Privately Owned public spaces (with seating) within walking distance of CB4 residents then there are DCP Parks. Due to the fact that many of these spaces were created without any obligation to have signage that they are public spaces, it often occurs that people will live practically next door to them and not know that the benches in the space are there for public use. There are several low cost ways to transform these "secret parks" into viable public spaces. One of them is the ParkChelsea/Park Hell'sKitchen maps
 The Secret Parks of Chelsea 
Toy Libraries
Toy Lending Libraries are kinda like book libraries the main difference being you take out toys instead of books. They can provides toys to Chelsea/Hell's kitchen residents who can't afford the latest, greatest and expensive toys. There are over 300 of these in the United States ( ), but there are none in Chelsea or for that matter Manhattan. New Zealand has 1 of them per 25,000 residents, the United States only 1 per one million residents. There are a number of locations in CB4 that a toy library could be placed. 
Toy Libraries