A Manhattan neighborhood that’s notoriously lacking in green space welcomed its first new community-based park in 40 years on Thursday.
Chelsea Green reclaims a former Department of Sanitation parking lot and facility on West 20th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues as a quarter-acre green space. City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, whose district includes the neighborhood, says Chelsea ranks 58th out of 59 community board districts in terms of public open space.
“For decades East Chelsea has been a ‘parks desert,’ requiring residents to walk a long distance to access green space or a playground,” said Johnson, who along with Mayor Bill de Blasio and a private donor contributed the $5.8 million needed to build the park. “Now, after years of organizing and advocacy by Chelsea residents, we finally have a new public park and playground for the community.”
The green space features a play area with play structures, a passive turf area, plantings and trees, shaded seating, and space for rotating public art displays and performances.
Johnson started raising funds for the park through participatory budgeting in 2015. The Parks Department began working on its design in April 2016, procured the site in March 2018, and finished the build-out this month. The city’s Department of Design and Construction demolished the former Department of Sanitation facility.
“This park is a testament to the power of grassroots activism and a can-do New York spirit,” Friends of Chelsea Green members Matt Weiss and Sally Greenspan said in a joint statement.