Levine, Farrell, Parks, NYPD, and Community Announce Successful Implementation of Multi-Pronged Plan for Combating Excessive Trash in Riverside Park
Parks Department Hired and Deployed Additional Cleaning Staff, NYPD is Increasing Enforcement, and Community Groups Stepping Up Volunteer Efforts
Residents Report Efforts Already Showing Marked Improvement Even After Busy Fourth of July Weekend
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: THURSDAY, JULY 10th
NEW YORK – Council Member Mark Levine joined Assemblyman Herman D. Farrell, Jr., Manhattan Borough Commissioner William Castro, Department of Parks and Recreation; the 30th Precinct, NYPD; the Riverside Park Conservancy and members of the community to announce the successful implementation of a multipronged approach for dramatically reducing the waste left behind after heavy use of the park over the weekend.
Riverside Park is a critically important green space and a prized asset for the thousands of New Yorkers who rely on it as their communal "backyard." On summer weekends, people flock to the park from around the city, joining together to barbecue, play music, enjoy sports, and spend quality time with friends and loved ones. With its views of the Hudson River and many amenities, the park is an ideal space for such gatherings. These increasingly large crowds, however, had outpaced the efforts to keep the park clean and wellmaintained.
After a neighborhood group formed and reached out to local officials asking for help, stakeholders including Council Member Levine, Assembly Member Farrell, NYPD, The Department of Parks and Recreation and the Riverside Conservancy came together with a plan to drastically improve the situation. Community members are already reporting these steps, which began taking place for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, are helping ensure the park is clean every morning and ready to support the many activities and diverse communities that rely on it.
The Department of Parks and Recreation proactively deployed 10 cleaning staff to Riverside and Fort Washington in the evenings each day last weekend and another 7-8 workers on Sunday and Monday at 4 a.m. to ensure that parks were ready for the next morning.
The Department of Parks and Recreation also is hiring seven seasonal employees, funded by the City Council and Mayor, to help ensure that the situation inRiverside Park continues to improve. Five of these have already begun work and the other two employees are expected to start this weekend.
At Morningside Park and other parks in the area, the Parks Department has sent additional staff on an evening cleaning shift like in Riverside.
NYPD’s Manhattan North has police patrolling the 148th Street area during the daytime and in the evening to ensure that park rules are obeyed at all time. The commanding officers at the 26th and 30th Precincts and the Parks Enforcement Patrol have been supporting these efforts as well.
Furthermore, the Riverside Park Conservancy has ramped up its aggressive educational outreach effort and has ensured park visitors have access to garbage bags. Riverside Park and its team of community volunteers have also dedicated countless volunteer hours toward augmenting the efforts of paid staff.
“We need to give credit where credit is due, and both Parks and NYPD have done a tremendous job in rapidly addressing the community’s concerns,” said Council Member Mark Levine, Chair of the Parks Committee. “This is a prime example of how residents who care deeply about an issue – protecting and preserving our parks – can come together with local officials to truly make a meaningful difference. I’m proud of the role the City Council played here in securing additional maintenance funds in the City's budget, and am thrilled to see these funds already being put into action."
“I stand with Councilman Levine and other members of the community who wish to see our public parks as beautiful and serene places that all New Yorkers and visitors to our City may enjoy,” Assemblyman Herman D. Farrell, Jr. said. “For many years, I have worked with the Police Department and others to control problems with noise and litter in the parks in my District, and we will fight to bring the problems in Riverside Park under control.”
Manhattan Borough Parks Commissioner William Castro said: “NYC Parks is committed to providing clean and safe parks for all New Yorkers. Working closely with the NYPD, the Riverside Park Conservancy, elected officials and community volunteers, we worked diligently to successfully implement a multipronged approach to address the litter problem and we will continue this effort throughout the summer. Special thanks to Mayor de Blasio, Council Speaker Mark-Viverito, Council Member Levine, and the entire City Council for their leadership in strengthening our citywide maintenance force in the FY 15 budget. Through increased cleaning operations and community educational outreach efforts, we are working on all fronts to ensure that our parks remain clean, green and inviting to the public.”
John Herrold, President and Riverside Park Administrator of the Riverside Park Conservancy said: "Since its founding in 1986, the Riverside ParkConservancy has encouraged and empowered the community to become involved in the park to help ensure its care and resilience. Today we shepherd more than 50,000 hours of community volunteer service to Riverside Park each year. The park is our collective back yard, and we all have a responsibility to make sure everyone can enjoy it to its full potential.
"A summer visit to Riverside Park and especially to this part of the park makes clear just how important our parks are to all New Yorkers and how critical it is that we take care of them. We are grateful to the community members who are helping restore and maintain Riverside Park and helping to spread the word about good park stewardship.
"We want to thank the Parks Department’s hard working staff; Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Silver and Borough Commissioner Castro, and the Parks Enforcement Patrol for supporting Riverside Park with needed resources; Council Member Levine and the City Council for providing Parks with additional staff in the coming year; Riverbank State Park and the NY State Park Police; and the NYPD for making sure our parks are safe and inviting."
CONTACT: Jordan Levine, 917-842-5748 / [email protected]