October 1, 2014, Department, by National Recreation and Park Association

This springtime setting shows a different side of New York City’s Morningside Park than was portrayed in the August 2014 issue.We hope the articles you read in Parks & Recreation are thought-provoking and engaging, and we want to hear your opinions on what you read in these pages. Through social media posts, website comments, emails to staff or posts on Connect, let us know how the magazine’s articles apply to your job and your agency.

Your August 2014 article “Equity in the Big Apple” covered an issue of vital importance to us at New York City Parks. And while we thought the article was comprehensive and fair, we thought the photo accompanying it was neither accurate nor fair. The photo of Morningside Park in Manhattan that was published showed the park with litter in a picnic area with no context. When was the photo taken? What event had just happened there? How soon after that photo was taken was the litter cleaned and the park restored to the state it is in each time I get to visit this jewel of park design from [Frederick Law] Olmsted and [Calvert] Vaux?

This snapshot purports to make a case that this park is in dire need of adequate maintenance and funding. But the mark of a fair park system is how quickly the grounds are restored and how well the park is maintained in the long term. As you can see in this photo, the reality of Morningside Park is quite different. 

The issue of litter in our parks is one we are focused on and, it’s hoped, gaining significant ground against. In fact, this summer New York City Councilman Mark Levine — quoted at length in your article as the chairman of the Council’s Parks Committee — held a press conference praising the joint effort of NYC Parks, the New York Police Department and neighborhood groups in combating excessive trash in several upper Manhattan Parks. Those cited: Riverside, Fort Washington and Morningside.

Email from Arthur Pincus, Assistant Commissioner of Communications at New York City Parks, regarding NRPA Vice President of Conservation and Parks Richard J. Dolesh’s August feature article, “Equity in the Big Apple.