Parks Department to Build Playgrounds, Open Space at Six NYCHA Developments

Image credit: NYC Department of Parks & Recreation.

The Mayor’s office has invested $23 million across three acres of NYCHA open space. On September 14, 2022, Mayor Eric Adams, the Parks Department, and the NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA) announced a pilot program to invest in nearly three acres of NYCHA open spaces, including playgrounds, across six housing developments. Three of these developments are located in Queens, two in the Bronx, and one in Brooklyn.

The collaboration was announced at the ribbon cutting for new open space at Pomonok Houses in Queens, which was fully rebuilt under the pilot program to include sensory play equipment, seating, new landscaping, and fitness equipment. Under the new partnership, NYC Parks will operate and maintain the renovated open spaces. This pilot program is part of the ongoing citywide Walk to a Park initiative, which creates new amenities for the NYCHA community and other New Yorkers who do not currently live within walking distance of a park.

Parks and NYCHA previously met with residents at Pomonok, Woodside, Redfern, Watson, Kingsborough, and Sotomayor Houses to choose locations and receive input for the new open spaces. Since receiving community feedback, construction finished at Pomonok Houses and is currently underway at Woodside and Redfern Houses. Construction is expected to begin at Watson and Kingsborough Houses by spring 2023 and at Sotomayor Houses by summer 2023.

The pilot program’s initial six projects are:

Redfern Houses ($9.3 million)

  • Size: 50,000 square feet of NYCHA recreation area and Redfern Playground
  • Scope: This project will reconstruct Redfern Playground and adjacent NYCHA open space to include an upgraded basketball court, handball court, and ball field, play equipment, fitness equipment for teens and adults, and a grilling area.

Woodside Houses ($1.2 million)

  • Size: 6,500 square feet
  • Scope: This project will revamp a passive landscaped and seating area at Woodside Houses with new game tables, landscaping, benches and pathways.

Pomonok Houses ($3 million)

  • Size: 13,000 square feet
  • Scope: This project re-imagined open space at Pomonok Houses to include fitness equipment, sensory play equipment, seating, and new landscaping.

Watson Houses ($2.5 million)

  • Size: 9,300 square feet
  • Scope: This project will revamp a seating area and playground at 1471 Watson Houses to include new play equipment, game tables, benches, water play, landscaping, and adult fitness equipment.

Kingsborough Houses ($5.1 million)

  • Size: 20,000 and 16,000 square feet
  • Scope: This project will revitalize two playgrounds at Kingsborough Houses with new play equipment, game tables, benches, water play, and landscaping.

Sotomayor Houses ($1.9 million)

  • Size: 9,900 square feet
  • Scope: This project will revamp a playground at Sotomayor Houses with new play equipment, water play, game tables, benches, landscaping, and swings.

Several elected officials voiced support for the pilot program at the Pomonok ribbon cutting, including NYS Assemblymembers Steven Cymbrowitz, Jenifer Rajkumar, Chantel Jackson, and Daniel Rosenthal, and State Senators Luis Sepulvida, James Sanders Jr., and Brad Hoylman.

Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue stated, “All New Yorkers deserve to have high-quality parks that are just a short walk away from their homes. We are so proud of our partnership with NYCHA to transform underutilized areas under their jurisdiction into thriving public amenities, and grateful for the hundreds of NYCHA tenants and community members who came out to our input meetings and shared with us their dreams for these spaces.”

Chief Housing Officer Jessica Katz: “Everyone should have access to quality resources and amenities in their community, and that includes places to play and relax outdoors, especially for our younger neighbors. This new partnership between NYCHA and NYC Parks to overhaul open spaces and playgrounds at six developments will bring joy to thousands of public housing residents.

Mayor Adams: “New York City’s parks, playgrounds, and open spaces aren’t luxuries, but necessities — playing a critical role to build community and nurturing our physical, mental, and emotional health. This investment in NYCHA’s playgrounds and open spaces is a down payment on our city’s future that will pay dividends for generations to come.”

By: Cassidy Strong (Cassidy is a CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2024.)



One thought on “Parks Department to Build Playgrounds, Open Space at Six NYCHA Developments

  1. Only fault with this entire program is they forgot to hire Parks personnel to maintain these new properties. The irony of the whole affair is that they are located smack in the middle of housing developments within feet of housing maintenance crews, yet they refuse to touch, clean or maintain them. Sounds like another “great” investment that will eventually mirror neglect and abandon in existing housing authority”playgrounds”.

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