As we continue to deliver on our mission to help and inspire people through running, we are so excited to continue our partnership with The Trust for Public Land in, and pursue a common goal of making New York City better today, in order to promise a better tomorrow. Through this partnership, we are transforming New York City public school schoolyards into state-of-the-art, green, community playgrounds.
The Trust for Public Land—which receives public funding from the Departments of Education and Environmental Protection, the School Construction Authority, the City Council, and the Manhattan Borough President, the Queens Borough President, and the Bronx Borough President—has developed 189 playgrounds in New York City. In addition to serving students during the school day, all playgrounds in NYC are open to the public on weekends and after school, providing more opportunities for both children and adults to get out and be physically active.
How NYRR Stepped In
Over the last two years, NYRR has contributed $2million to help fund the design and construction of playgrounds at five school campuses: CS 154M in Harlem, Manhattan; PS 120 in Flushing, Queens; the Piagentini and Jones Educational Complex, which houses three schools on a shared campus in the Throggs Neck neighborhood of the Bronx (PS 392, IS 467, and IS 371); PS 581 in East Flatbush, Brooklyn; MS 227 in East Elmhurst, Queens, PS 32 in Great Kills, Staten Island; and PS 377 in Bushwick, Brooklyn. And we’re just getting started.
Parks for Kids, Designed by Kids
Who can design a playground better than the children that enjoy them most? The new playspaces were created through a participatory design process led by students themselves. At each participating school, students survey their peers as part of a class project to learn the most popular playground features. Students then work with landscape architects to integrate their ideas into the final design. This unique process teaches many valuable skills, including environmental science, budgeting, and negotiation—and according to our budding designers, it’s also super fun!
Capping off year one of our partnership, the students at CS 154M in Harlem, excitedly welcomed Olympic medalist and Rising New York Road Runners Ambassador & Special Advisor Jenny Simpson to their new playground during a special 2017 TCS New York City Marathon-week event.
Successes This School Year
During our first two years partnership with The Trust for Public Land, we opened five beautiful community playgrounds across the New York City including East Flatbush’s PS 581 and East Elmhurst’s MS 227 that were opened this fall. These playgrounds include green infrastructure design elements, a hallmark of The Trust for Public Land’s playground work. Features, such as specialized plantings and porous pavement, will help reduce storm runoff that can flood streets and overwhelm sewer systems, allowing untreated water to end up in rivers and bays. Each playground absorbs hundreds of thousands of gallons of water annually and includes 20-30 new trees that bring shade and better air quality to their neighborhoods—something to be proud of. In fall 2018, ground was broken at one more school, PS 32 in Great Kills, Staten Island, and the design process was kicked-off at PS 377 in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
There's More to Come
Our plan is to continue funding playground development across New York City’s five boroughs. The new playgrounds will continue to replace a dilapidated, arid blacktop that currently provides the students’ only opportunity to play outdoors on school grounds.