Friday, August 1, 2014

Expanding Active and Activities Recreation Opportunities in Community Board 5


Before the Arrival of Western Civilization all of Manhattan was a lush park where you could sit or play anywhere

As Land was Privatized the Streets became Our Playgrounds





...until some time in the 20th century when the automobile lobby won their war to ban mixed use of our streets  Today with the exception of a handful of  street seats, play streets and  54 DOT  plazas cars now rule  NYC's  streets.  

Nothing for Us

 A while back I was visiting Union Square Park, I talked to a young skateboard enthusiast  there  who  told me,” there's benches for the old people and a playground for the little kids but nothing for us

When it comes to Active Recreation "Nothing for Us" is the norm not the exception" in our area parks.

These 2 maps show midtown between 3rd to 8th Aves, 4th to 57th Streets. On the left, with the exception of Bryant Park , there is no public space active recreation for adults in this area of Manhattan. On the right is shown the “Food Recreation” locations in the areas public spaces. Plenty of food recreation, essentially no active recreation.

                                              Active Recreation locations =1                   Food Recreation Locations=16

 Flatiron Passive Recreation

 1-Madison Square Park- Seating, Art, Playground, Food Recreation
2-Worth Square Park-Seating Food Recreation
3-41 Madison Ave POPS-Seating, Food Recreation
4-Madison Green POPS-Seating
5-Flatiron Plaza North-Seating, WiFi Art Recreation, Food Recreation
6-Flatiron Plaza South-Art Recreation WiFi,  Seating Food Recreation
Adjacent to Public Spaces:Food Recreation (7)

 Food Recreation:12

Art Recreation 3
Dog Run 1
Wi-Fi 2
Children's Playground 1
Adult active recreation 0

The Need for Active Recreation

The Obesity Crisis and The Midtown Manhattan Active Recreation Exclusion Zone

In 1990 there was no state in the US with an obesity rate over 14%, Today many states are above 30% and no state is below 20%.” -Center for Disease Control

But while obesity may not be the Black Death, it is a severe public health crisis. Experts agree that as more and more obese children become obese adults, the diseases associated with obesity, such as heart disease, cancer, and especially diabetes will surge. That will mean a lot of sick people.”

Active park users were less likely to be overweight than those who had longer park visits and either used the park for passive activities or did not use the park at all “ link

Almost a third of the world is now fat, and no country has been able to curb obesity rates in the last three decades, according to a new global analysis. Link

The global analysis report says people are eating more and exercising less.

 Visual recreation (art exhibits) are wonderful, but are  not a substitute for active recreation in fighting our obesity epidemic

CB5 Population 51,673 

Adult Active Recreation facilities in CB5

2 Ping Pong Tables
1 Petanque Court
1 Putting Green
All facilities in Bryant Park 



Add Dynamic  Active Recreation Equipment to Our Existing Parks  and Plazas
            Locations: Worth Square Park/Flatiron Plaza, USP
    Advantages-can serve all age groups in a small space, Disadvantages-Staff
            MSP expanded children's lawn play area a la Rockefeller Park

Signage to Transform all NYC Parks into Active  Recreation Parks
               -Park Bench Exercise
           -Make all our parks rest stops on Walking Trails and in  Wandering Parks 

     -26th Street River to River Active Recreation Parkway and walking Trail 

View 26th St Age-Friendly River to Riiver Walking/Recreation Trail in a larger map

-Add Fixed Active Recreation to Existing Parks, Plazas and POPS
   Advantages-No staff , disadvantages-limited equipment offerings, cannot serve everyone

-Add Active Recreation to Sidewalks
    -China Fitness
-Build  new Active Recreation Parks and Playgrounds
-FIT Plaza
          -Atlas of City Property shows no unused spaces. Suggested locations?
 -New Affordable housing Rooftops

-Get all the BIDS and Parks Conservancy in CB5 to either hire their own or chip in for a Director  of CB5 Parks/BIDs Community health and fitness. As far as I can tell there are plenty of art and events curators in CB5's parks and BIDs  but no professional  coordinate Health and Fitness for the public spaces. Bryant Park seem to do the best job of active receation  in CB5.

-Do Nothing

see also: The Tragedy of the Commons as played out in the Flatiron District/East Chelsea link