Survey Ranks NYC Parks #2

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When it comes to green space and access to it, the Big Apple ranks high.

That's according to a new national survey of the 50 largest U.S. cities. New York City ranked second to Minneapolis in The Trust for Public Land's 2nd Annual ParkScore index released last week. The trust is a nonprofit organization that works to conserve land for residents' use.

The survey evaluated parks based on the percentage of residents living within a 10-minute or mile walk of a park; total park acreage including the city's median park size, and services and investment, which combines the number of playgrounds per 10,000 residents and number of dollars spent per person.

"New York spends a lot per person," said Adrian Benepe, senior vice president and director of city park development for The Trust for Public Land. Benepe was New York City Parks Commissioner for 10 years, until joining the The Trust for Public Land last year. This year's ranking showed New York spending $160 per person compared to $152 in the previous ranking.

The good news is New York moved up from third place, passing Sacramento, since last year. At that time, the Trust looked at just the 40 largest U.S. cities. By including the 50 largest U.S. cities this year, Minneapolis got into the mix, and secured the first place ranking. In 2012, San Francisco ranked number one, with Sacramento in second place. New York and Boston had tied for third.

If the same 40 cities had been considered this year, would New York have been Number One?

"It's possible," said Benepe. How does the future look for New York? Because other cities have "big, empty areas" and New York doesn't, he said it will be hard for New York to add more medium-sized parks to increase overall park acreage in the future.

How do particular New York neighborhoods fare?

Park acreage includes federal, city, and state land yet, the Upper East Side still falls short. "The Upper East Side is one of the areas that doesn't have a lot of parks," said Benepe.

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