PlaNYC Fine Print: Gnarly New Parks, Dude, But Who’ll Prune the Trees?

Parks Dept.
Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC 2030 blueprint isn’t all doom and gloom. To keep the city’s projected 9 million inhabitants from cranking their environment-destroying A/C, you’ve got to give them places to play. So part of the plan calls for finishing eight major parks abandoned in decades past — with amenities that might be better suited to ESPN2 than Channel 13. There’ll be a salt marsh to explore in the Bronx’s Soundview Park, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe told us, and a cricket pitch near the nature preserve in Highland Park, on the northeastern Brooklyn-Queens border. To keep New Yorkers in shape even during the annual monsoonlike rainfalls we’ll be experiencing, there’ll be a new indoor running track at Ocean Breeze Park, near Staten Island’s South Beach. Community boards will get a chance to submit additional ideas starting this fall.

Also this year, as the Parks Department starts planting the million new trees PlaNYC calls for, the department will double the number of trees pruned each year to 60,000. Which presents one of the biggest challenges: where to find the 40 new pruners needed. “There aren’t a lot of people in New York who know how to climb a tree, hang on with one hand and operate a chainsaw with the other,” Benepe said. “They tend to be from rural and suburban backgrounds, so we will have to recruit them.” But, hey, if you can prune ‘em here, you’ll prune ‘em anywhere. —Alec Appelbaum