A new report called the East Side Open Space Index, commissioned by City Council members Daniel Garodnick and Jessica Lappin and completed by New Yorkers for Parks, reveals something that many Manhattanites are well aware of: the East Side's parks suck compared the West Side's parks. When it comes to open space on the West Side, several large swaths of greenery?the High Line, Riverside Park, and the 5-mile long Hudson River Park?are relaxing places to bask in nature's beauty. On the East Side, however, there's a smattering of overused public squares and a disconnected strip of esplanade sandwiched between the East River and FDR Drive.
According to the Journal, guidelines for the city's environmental review process say that there should be 2.5 acres of open space for every 1,000 residents. On the Upper East Side east of Third Avenue, there's less than half an acre per 1,000 people, and 87 percent of people do not live within walking distance of a large park. Further downtown, from East 14th Street to Grand Central, larger parks are more accessible (only 40 percent of residents can't walk to one), but the available parks are much smaller. There's less than a quarter acre of open space per 1,000 residents, thus making these parks more crowded. Officials are trying to solve these problems by requiring new developments to include public parks, and pushing for more open space improvements within the Midtown East Rezoning. The East River Waterfront Esplanade and East River Blueway are trying to create the East Side's version of Hudson River Park, but there's less space to work with because the East Side is so built up and lacks empty piers that are ripe for reuse.
· East Side Appeals for More Open Space [WSJ]
· Hudson River Park coverage [Curbed]
· East River Waterfront Esplanade coverage [Curbed]
? East River Blueway coverage [Curbed]