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Why Some Parks Turn A Profit And Others Need Public Funds

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The High Line, Hudson River Park, Governor's Island, and Brooklyn Bridge Park all flourished into full recreational glory under Bloomberg's watch. But wait, says the WSJ, two of these things are not like the others. In short, the High Line and Brooklyn Bridge Park turn profits?the latter is self-sustaining this year with $6-7 million in revenue. And BBP is expected to earn $16 million by 2017, which would entirely cover its projected annual budget. Meanwhile, Governor's Island and Hudson River Park are in different stages of financial doo-doo, with HRP suffering from a deficit of $7.1 million for the 2014 fiscal year, in part because of the sinking, debt-addled mess that is Pier 40. And though Governor's Island earns $1.5 million from things like permits and fees, the city gas padded its budget with $11.5 million from 2011 to the present. So why are some parks rolling in it while other, seemingly successful ones are gosh-darn broke?

In short, it comes down what kind of private funding trickles into the park's coffers. The High Line's gelato stand and artisanal coffee concessions make money, sure, but Friends of the High Line is an influential group that throws gala events and benefits immensely from deep-pocketed donors and corporate backers, too. Meanwhile Brooklyn Bridge Park has seen its wallet grow fatter by allowing residential and other development (a controversial move, mind you), with much of its revenue coming from "One Brooklyn Bridge Park, the site of a planned hotel and residential complex at Pier 1 and other fees," according to the Journal. Governor's Island and Hudson River Park make some money from things like vendors and event permits, but not enough. The upshot? The city must, and should, keep padding their balance sheets in order to keep them afloat.
· New York City's Parks Grow With Private Funds [WSJ]
· Some NYC Parks Get High Design; Why Others Can't Afford It [Curbed]
· 40 Secret Gardens, Parks And Green Spaces Hidden Across NYC [Curbed]
· All Parks coverage [Curbed]

Brooklyn Bridge Park - Pier 6

Pier 6, Brooklyn, NY 11201