After Sandy, Some NYC Parks Stay Shut

Twelve percent of city parks remain closed three weeks after the storm

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    NEWSLETTERS

    There is a battle to reopen New York City parks nearly a month after Hurricane Sandy hit. NBC 4 New York's Pei-Sze Cheng reports. (Published Friday, Nov 23, 2012)

    Many of New York City's parks and playgrounds are still closed three weeks after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the area.
     
    While the city Parks Department says 88 percent of the parks have reopened and that it has made a lot of progress, critics are still upset about those parks that remain closed.

      "I think we should rename it disaster park," said 9-year-old Gabriel Lev as he stood with his mother outside Andrews Grove playground in Long Island City.
     
    Hurricane Sandy brought down at least seven large trees in the park.  Pictures taken after the storm show the playground completely covered by thick trunks and large branches. The playground and its fencing were also damaged.
     
    "Trees down everywhere," said Chris Thompson. "It's sad -- we miss the park, it's a huge loss for the neighborhood."
     
    Officials at the Parks Department say they are doing their best, and crews are working long hours, but this is a monumental task. A spokesman said the department received 26,000 tree-service-related requests, and 15,000 of them were for trees that fell along streets.
     
    Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates, said the city can do better.
     
    "You have less than a hundred trimmers and pruners for the entire city of 2 million trees," said Croft, blaming budget cuts and downsizing. "That is far, far, far, too few."
     
    Liam Kavanagh, first deputy commissioner of the Parks Department, said other parks workers were also participating in the clean-up effort.

    "In addition to nearly a hundred dedicated climbers and pruners, our full-time staff includes trained foresters as well as park managers and workers with tree care experience," Kavanagh said.
     
    The department also brought in over a hundred emergency crews to help. 

    Meanwhile, residents in Long Island City are hoping the playground will be ready for spring.

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