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Our Parks: An Unmitigated Assault
By Bruce A. Silberblatt

Robert Moses Park, First Avenue and 41st Street, is not the only park in our area under attack. Covetous eyes have been cast upon the following by various governmental agencies:

1. Glick Park, East River at 37th Street, is threatened with evisceration by the New York State Department of Transportation when it rehabilitates the adjoining portion of FDR Drive.

2. The west half of Saint Varten Park, Second Avenue, 35th-36th Streets, will be preempted by the MTA as a staging area for 10 years if and when the Second Avenue subway is built.

3. Dag Hammarskjold Plaza Park may be endangered if a 600 to 800-foot-deep shaft is sunk at 47th Street for the Third Water Tunnel. The City Department of Environmental Protection may yield to pressure from a prominent developer and local residents not to have this project done, as originally planned, at 53rd or 54th Streets and Second Avenue.

4. The United Nations North Gardens, although not a City park, was once open to everyone, but has been shut to visitors for some years. If the UN proceeds with its Capital Master Plan (UNspeak for headquarters rebuilding), our magnificent green space, like Saint Varten Park, will become a construction staging area. Large portions will be ripped up to repair the roof of the facilities beneath it-eventually to be replaced.

Meantime, the proposed UN Moses Park Tower, at least in plans, mushrooms. Originally conceived as a bit over 800,000 square feet (the area of the present Secretariat), it has swollen to 950,000 square feet.

This has resulted in a massive megalith requiring so-called "mitigation" by itself atop the needed "mitigation" for the Moses Park taking. Deputy Mayor Doctoroff, the man responsible for authorizing the proposed Moses Park land grab, had until recently declined to meet directly with the community, preferring to maintain an Olympian aloofness. Now he has agreed to meet face-to-face near the end of September with a local group that will include the Turtle Bay Association.

Our few parks, rather than being welcoming open spaces for public enjoyment in a vast concrete, steel and glass jungle, have become fair game for anything but that. The Turtle Bay Association finds that position unworthy of a City purporting to be the Capital of the World.

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The Turtle Bay Association is a nonprofit (501c3) community organization.

224 East 47th Street, New York City 10017
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