Parks without Borders

Help Parks rethink SDR Park’s openness – to be both welcoming and safe. 

Help Parks Choose New Projects

Parks will select – and fund – the best eight parks to showcase the program.

On the map or through the search bar, find the park you’re interested in. Suggest ways to improve its entrances, edges, and park-adjacent spaces. Our suggestions will influence the design of the projects they select.

Parks is taking comments until the end of February 2016 and will announce the new projects this coming spring.

The more suggestions a park receives, the more likely it will be selected!

How It Works

Find out more about Parks Without Borders projects through their interactive map.

Parks Without Borders focuses on three areas of the park: entrances, edges, and park-adjacent spaces. Help unify the park with our neighborhood(s).

Make entrances more welcoming, clear and safe. Make park boundaries greener, more user friendly, and make the park safer by improving sight lines. Create new centers of positive community activity out of underused areas inside the park!

The Goals of Parks Without Borders:

Make parks more accessible and welcoming to everyone

Improve neighborhoods by extending the beauty of parks out into communities

Create vibrant public spaces by transforming underused or badly used areas


Good entrances are inviting, drawing you in and allowing you to see into the park. They are lovely and exciting, enhanced by things like plantings or art and are easy to find from far away. Good entrances also include amenities such as seating to make them destinations for relaxation and community.

NYC Parks can improve entrances using the following tools, among others:

Entrances and Gates
Widen entrances and make sure they are well-placed; lower or remove gates; improve access for all ages and abilities

Repair paving or add distinctive pavement

Add plants and trees

Site Furnishings
Add benches, tables, and other amenities


The perimeter or edge of a park belongs to the neighborhood. More open park edges allow better views into the park. They make nearby streets feel connected to the park and park spaces accessible to the neighborhood. Low fences make park edges friendlier and more attractive. Adding seating or other amenities to edges can improve the park and the neighborhood, providing new spaces to enjoy the beauty of a park and interact with neighbors. These improvements can also make parks and streets safer by improving people’s views of both spaces.

NYC Parks will improve edges using the following tools, among others:

Lower, redesign, or remove fences and gates

Repair paving

Add plants and trees

Site Furnishings
Add benches, tables, and other amenities

Parks Without Borders is an NYC Parks initiative to make parks more open, welcoming, and beautiful by focusing on improving entrances, edges, and park-adjacent spaces. As part of OneNYC , Mayor Bill de Blasio has dedicated $50 million to the program.  Visit our Parks Without Borders Information page  to find out more about how this program works – and scroll down to help us choose new projects.


How to Fight Homelessness: Op-Ed by City Council Parks Chair MARK D. LEVINE and Coalition for the Homeless President MARY BROSNAHAN

NYTimes: How to Fight Homelessness

OCT. 19, 2015

Community Board 3 Land Use, Zoning, Public & Private Housing Committee
Wednesday, November 18 at 6:30pm — Project Renewal, Kenton Hall – 333 Bowery (btwn E 2nd & 3rd Sts) will weigh in tonight.

Parks are increasingly the ‘home’ of last resort to the homeless. How do we tackle this honestly and effectively and humanely? Here’s some thinking from City Council Chair and Coalition for the Homeless:

“WITH over 58,000 people in our shelter system every night, and thousands more sleeping on the streets, concern about homelessness in New York City has reached a fever pitch. We must attack this challenge on every front: through construction of more housing with on-site services, expanded federal support for homeless families and improvements in city-run shelters.

But the best solution to homelessness is preventing it before it even occurs…

More than two-thirds of the people in our shelters are families with vulnerable children, and the most common cause of their homelessness isn’t drug dependency or mental illness. It’s eviction….

Evictions have reached epidemic proportions in New York City. The number of families forced from their homes by court order has been rising steadily for the last 10 years, and is now close to 29,000 per year. Countless thousands more are leaving under duress midway through eviction proceedings. Many end up with nowhere to go and are forced to turn to homeless shelters.

The sky-high pace of evictions is exacerbated by our profoundly unequal judicial system. Unlike those in criminal cases, New Yorkers in housing court have no right to counsel. The result: Only 10 percent of New York City tenants who appear in court have attorneys to help protect their rights. In stark contrast, close to 100 percent of landlords do. It’s hard to overstate just how badly this skews the results of eviction proceedings in favor of owners.

Housing law in New York is byzantine and challenging even for lawyers to navigate. For low-income tenants representing themselves, winning a case against a landlord’s attorney is a steep uphill climb. Unscrupulous landlords are fully aware of this dynamic and attempt to capitalize on it by routinely hauling tenants into housing court on weak grounds — knowing full well that the deck is stacked in their favor. Randomized studies have shown that those few tenants who do have attorneys are 80 percent less likely to be evicted as those representing themselves. Landlords know this, too — and will sometimes simply drop their case as soon as they realize a tenant is represented….

….The status quo is untenable, and even judges are increasingly speaking out. New York State’s chief judge, Jonathan Lippman, has called eloquently and powerfully for the establishment of a right to counsel in housing court….”


Public Hearing on Zoning Changes for Affordable Housing tonight!

Public Hearing on Zoning Changes for Affordable Housing, November 16
November 8, 2015

On Monday, November 16, 2015 the Manhattan Borough President’s Office office will conduct a public hearing on two proposed changes to the city zoning code meant to increase the stock of affordable housing in New York City.

“ZQA” is the acronym for the first proposal, “Zoning for Quality and Affordability,” which alters how senior housing is classified and constructed, reduces parking requirements as they relate to the construction of affordable housing, and changes the allowable shape of buildings, including height, when buildings contain affordable housing or senior housing.

Borough President Brewer coordinated a response to the ZQA proposal by virtually all Manhattan elected officials last spring in a letter, and the Administration responded with modifications; both letters are viewable here:

The “Mandatory Inclusionary Housing” (MIH) Program is the second proposal, and it would apply to specific future developments (known as “special permits”) or for neighborhood-wide rezonings (as was recently enacted in Williamsburg by Mayor Bloomberg) which are going to allow for significant new residential development. This program would require developers to provide either 25 percent or 30 percent affordable housing depending on the degree of affordability.

There are good things to be said for these proposals—more affordable housing is obviously crucial—but zoning can be a very blunt tool making changes across all five boroughs. We need to make sure that additional density is added in a manner that truly results in the most affordable housing and the fewest possible adverse consequences to our neighborhoods.

Public input on these proposals counts! Please join us on November 16 at the Clinton School, 10 E. 15th St., from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. If you plan to testify, please RSVP and upload your testimony here and bring six printed copies of your testimony to the hearing on November 16.


From Public Books (twice-monthly review dedicated to spirited debate about books and the arts)

 October 1, 2015

Good Neighbors

by Sylvie Tissot, translated from the French by David Broder and Catherine Romatowski
Questions asked and answered:

How do gentrifiers take over a place culturally, racially, and socioeconomically different from themselves?

How do gentrifiers take over a place culturally, racially and socioeconomically different from themselves?”

“…Good Neighbors brings together culture and politics to show how such tastes can lead to political power for gentrifiers, creating a wedge with which they penetrate neighborhood organizations and assume authority over others. The process of forming a neighborhood elite …happen[s]… through voluntary associations that…wield.. considerable power—interior design or park conservation is not just a hobby…

Through such benign-sounding activities as philanthropy, historic preservation, and serving on committees for parks and liquor licenses, gentrifiers solidified their position in the community and began to erase the cultural presence of those who preceded them. Tissot draws on years of ethnographic fieldwork and interviews, as well as historical material on the South End … to demonstrate how culture was used as a cudgel in a protracted battle of neighborhood realpolitik.

Newcomers—armed with more time, education, connections, and “cultural authority”—professionalized the community groups they joined in ways that discouraged broad participation while extoling the virtues of involvement. Under the banner of community improvement and civic-mindedness, gentrifiers were able to concentrate on issues they found important, often over the objections of long-term residents…

Tissot makes clear that this new community concern was not just an innocent refocus, based on gentrifiers’ group interests, but a deliberate ordering of what culture matters at the expense of less “worthy” subjects like rent control and subsidized preschool.

Good Neighbors powerfully demonstrates how gentrifiers often fixate on the old …and the marginally political… so that they do not have to think about the displacement involved in neighborhood change and their own role in it…”

City Council hearing with Mark Levine (Chair of Parks) on proposed Park shadowing study

Check out the webcast of testimony on City Council’s effort to study the affects of high rise luxury towers. Many community organizations testified including Lynn Ellsworth of New Yorkers for a Human-Scale City.

Activists Take Aim at Shadows

and a few years ago:

Central Park is now Central Dark

Petition to stop Mega Development

Petition from Human Scaled City

City Council Parks Committee Hearing on Int. No 737 (Shadows Cast Over Parkland)

Sponsors: Council Members: Mark Levine (City Council Chair of Parks Committee), Fernando Cabrera , Costa G. Constantinides, Corey D. Johnson, Rosie Mendez, Ydanis A. Rodriguez, Helen K. Rosenthal, Daniel R. Garodnick, Mathieu Eugene

A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to the creation of a task force to study the effect of shadows cast by large buildings over parkland. [webcast]

SDR letter regarding shadowing of our narrow park:3Testimony City Council Int. No 737 


Be it enacted by the Council as follows:


Section 1. Chapter one of title eighteen of the administrative code of the city of New York is amended by adding a new section 18-142 to read as follows:

§18-142 Task force on shadows cast by buildings over parks. a. There is hereby established a task force to study the effect of shadows cast on parks under the jurisdiction of the department by new or proposed building construction and to make specific recommendations to the mayor and council for the alleviation of negative consequences resulting from such shadows.

b. The task force shall consist of the following individuals, or designees thereof:

1. the commissioner, who shall be the chairperson;

2. the commissioner of buildings;

3. the commissioner of environmental protection;

4. the commissioner of housing preservation and development;

5. the chairperson of the city planning commission; and

6. such other members as the commissioner shall designate.

c. The task force shall:

1. hold at least one meeting every six months;

2. advise the mayor and council on new and planned building construction projects that may result in casting shadows over parks and the possible effects of such shadows;

3. identify and catalogue existing and planned building construction projects that may cast shadows over a park;

4. study the effect of the loss of sunlight resulting from such shadows cast over a park;

5. for each park, determine the size of the shadow cast on such park by buildings throughout the day; and

6. by December 31 of each year, provide to the mayor and the council a report which shall include an evaluation of the potential consequences of such shadows and recommendations to alleviate such consequences, including but not limited to changes to planned construction projects. Such report shall be made publicly available on the department’s website within ten days after the release of such report.

§2. This local law shall take effect 90 days after its enactment into law.

LS # 3471



New York City Community Garden Coalition:hiring four people to work on Community Development Block Grant / Disaster Recovery on LES



Hello Gardeners & Friends:


The New York City Community Garden Coalition is hiring four people.

Community Development Block Grant / Disaster Recovery funding from the New York State Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR)  – is undertaking a feasibility study for storm water capture best practices within the community gardens of the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Persons requiring reasonable accommodation to participate in this hiring effort are requested to contact Mr. Aziz Dehkan at (917) 444-2191 or by email at

NYCCGC strongly encourages Section 3 residents to participate in this hiring effort. Information to determine if you are a Section 3 resident can be obtained by contacting Mr. Dehkan at the telephone number or email address provided above. 


COMMUNITY ORGANIZER: The NYCCGC is seeking a qualified individual to fill the position of “Community Organizer.” This individual will work with community members and seek their participation in the public engagement component of the Study. Additionally, the individual will be responsible for assisting community leaders in soliciting participation by the residents of the Study Area to better facilitate the creation and sustenance of positive change in their neighborhoods. The ideal candidate will be a team player who can interact well with wide-range of individuals from a variety of social, ethnic, and organizational backgrounds; is detail oriented; and, possesses a personal knowledge of the Lower East Side community.

The “Community Organizer” will report directly to the Executive Director of the NYCCGC.

 Job Duties

§  Coordinate logistics and planning of large scale community engagement meetings.

§  Create and build a network of community members to encourage and support residents’ participation in activities and events associated with the completion of the Study.

§  Identify and collaborate with grassroots leadership to build and develop strategies to advocate for Lower East Side community gardens.

§  Bridge and foster partnerships with the community, relevant organizations and elected officials in attaining support of community goals.

§  Facilitate effective communication between NYCCGC and the community-at-large.

§  Assist in development of strategic and tactical advocacy plans.

§  Maintain database of community gardens and personnel, volunteers and related resources.

§  Plan cultural, educational and other social networking activities required in the completion of the Study.

§  Assist and facilitate the creation of the Steering Committee responsible for the administrative oversight of the activities to be undertaken in the completion of the Study.

§  Prepare required reports relevant to NYCCGC’s organizing and civic engagement work.

§  Work with project team to meet deliverable goals.

§  Seek out opportunities to promote NYCCGC’s mission and present.

§  Perform other duties, as assigned. 

Skills and Knowledge Requirements

§  At least 10 years of experience in community organizing and/or advocacy; event planning and coordination.

§  Must have experience working in diverse, multicultural communities.

§  A commitment to the mission and programs of NYCCGC.

§  Experience advising and training community leaders.

§  Excellent, written, verbal and organizational skills.

§  Strong public speaking, writing, and analytical skills.

§  Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and Outlook

§  Must have a flexible schedule, including working evenings and occasional weekends

§  Spanish fluency (highly preferred).

§  Must be a team player and have the ability to take the initiative.

§  Knowledge of the Lower East Side communities and Community Gardens (highly preferred).

Salary: FT/Hourly position (approximately 35 hours a week)

Responses Due: November 10, 2015



ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT: The NYCCGC is seeking a qualified individual to fill the position of “Administrative Assistant. This individual plays a critical role in a fast-changing organization. Under the supervision of the Executive Director the Administrative Assistant will be responsible for administrative support to the management team and staff and assist in the overall functions of the office. Applicants should have a positive attitude, possess strong organizational skills, and have the ability to work independently. Other job skills include the ability to effectively multi-task and meet deadlines. Excellent organizational, communication, and problem-solving skills are necessary.

 Job Duties

§  Assist with scheduling meetings and managing correspondence for Executive Director and other program staff.

§  Perform all duties required by the Executive Director and other duties as assigned relating to the administrative component including project based work and updates.

§  Complete clerical and administrative duties, as assigned.

§  Provide logistical and other support for volunteer committees.

§  Coordinate with professional and staff advisors.

§  Assisting in meetings preparation and follow up.

§  Other tasks as assigned by the Executive Director and Program staff. 

Skills and Knowledge Requirements

§  1-2 years’ experience in office administration.

§  Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite.

§  Spanish fluency (highly preferred).

§  Knowledge of the Lower East Side community and Community Gardens (highly preferred).

§  Must be available to work flexible hours (including some evenings and weekends)

Salary: PT/hourly rate.

 Responses Due: November 10, 2015



BOOKKEEPER: The Bookkeeper serves a critical role in a fast-changing organization. Under the supervision of the Executive Director. The Bookkeeper’s is responsible for overseeing the financial and record-keeping side of the annual grant-making process for both New York City Community Gardens Coalition (NYCCGC) programs and for all other grants received by the Coalition. The Bookkeeper will also be responsible for working closely with program staff, including GOSR staff, and other relevant grant managers to ensure accurate financial reporting and procedural compliance on all grants, including governmental grants. The Bookkeeper will ensure organizational effectiveness and compliance, help set relevant policies and provide technical assistance as required. As a vital connector for the finance, development, and program staff, the Bookkeeper must possess the ability to see and understand all points of view. The NYCCGC is seeking an individual with deep financial acumen and a strong track record of success. This individual must have robust collaboration and problem-solving skills and provide seasoned guidance on compliance issues as well as key financial and operational best practices.

Job Duties:

§  Work with NYCCGC staff to ensure an accurate, timely, efficient and transparent financial process for the entire grant life cycle, from proposal to close out. This entails pre-award management, tracking payments, reviewing or producing relevant reports, monitoring and post-award management.

§  Work with NYCCGC staff to develop and maintain all grant agreements and MOUs pertaining to grant awards.

§  Oversee and act as the NYCCGC expert for all aspects of NYCCGC’s grant making process including all grant administration policies, systems, and documentation to ensure compliance, incorporate best practices, and ensure excellent controls.

§  Serve as the resident expert on grant compliance and interpretation of CDGB-DR and all involved agencies and all applicable regulations, policies and procedures.

§  Interpret applicable regulations and translate into operational policies as required.

§  Provide on-going training to program and finance staff as it relates to grant administration and organizational policies.

§  Assist with the invoicing and track the expenses for NYCCGC’s Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR) CDBG-DR grant.

§  Assist with the organization’s annual audit.

§  Manage the due diligence process for each sub-grantee’s ability to comply with city and state regulations with a thorough review of all their financial and operational policies as well as evaluating each grantee against NYCCGC’s standard risk assessment.

§  Design and execute sub-grantee monitoring processes, including conducting assessments and site visits, collecting and analyzing data, documenting results, and identifying and discussing implications.

§  Proactively interpret and assess sub-grantee gaps, provide technical assistance as necessary and surface and address issues.

§  Develop and maintain a basic grant-making manual and communicate appropriately with staff concerning policies and procedures and updates. 


§  Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting or related Business Degree.

§  5+ years of experience with grants administration and/or compliance

§  Must have experience with government grant administration (federal or state grant experience strongly preferred)

§  Experience with HUD and NY State circulars

§  Nonprofit or philanthropic experience

§  Ability to think and problem-solve creatively

§  Strong project management and time management skills; highly organized and detail oriented

§  Ability to set and revise policies and procedures while brokering buy-in from all stakeholders

§  Demonstrated capacity to frame complex situations and present options

§  Effective written and oral communication skills

§  Ability to provide guidance to people with a wide range of cultural backgrounds, training and experience

§  Enjoy working independently and as part of a team

§  Must be available to work flexible hours (evening and weekends).

Salary: PT/hourly.

Responses Due: November 10, 2015



 The NYCCGC is the recipient of Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery funding from the New York State Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR) to undertake a feasibility study, for storm water capture best practices within the community gardens of the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The Study will combine community participation with engineering expertise, to develop green infrastructure to increase the permeability and storm water capture within forty-seven (47) community gardens located in the Study Area.

The NYCCGC is seeking a qualified individual to fill the position of “Communications Manager.” This individual will work in close collaboration with the Executive Director and be responsible for overseeing communications activities and efforts designed to inform the community-at-large of the planning process, strategies to be included in the Study and the final contents of the Plan. The “Communications Manager” will be responsible for the development of communications strategies to be implemented throughout each phase of the planning process through to the adoption of the final feasibility study.

Job Duties

§  Manage collateral design – from concept to delivery – in all digital and printed formats as required.

§  Ensure brand integrity and approved editorial style on all NYCCGC related materials, including printed collateral and published reports, DVDs, web sites, etc. up to the highest professional standards.

§  Manage NYCCGC’s web site development and maintenance as well as all social media.

§  Create maps and other printed material as needed for Master Plan, press and community.

§  Oversee communications product development and marketing promotion.

§  Data collection and presentation.

§  Documentation of images and project resources including videos and tours

§  Build and execute multi-platform social media campaigns.

§  Write media pitches, press releases, and media alerts for distribution across multiple platforms.

§  Build on existing relationships and develop new relationships with target media, influencers, and partner organizations.

§  Monitor media and news developments.

§  Compile media lists and manage media database.

§  Oversee day-to-day implementation of the agreed communication strategy.

§  Other duties as assigned.

Qualifications, Skills and Knowledge Requirements

§  5+ years of experience in a communications or marketing role; journalism background is a plus; nonprofit agency experience preferred.

§  Experience with SEO and AdWords.

§  High quality communications and graphic design experience with proficiency with Photoshop, InDesign or similar.

§  High proficiency with MS Excel; pivot table experience is a plus.

§  Knowledge of local media outlets and opportunities

§  Significant experience working with media and establishing strong relationships with reporters

§          Track, record, build, and execute impactful social media campaigns across several platforms simultaneously, while coordinating with several key stakeholders.

§  Exceptional project management skills with a track record of delivering on objectives.

§  Experience representing an organization and communicating message to the public and media.

§  Experience developing and executing media and partnership programs.

§  Ability to manage complex workload under tight deadlines.

§  Spanish fluency (highly preferred).

§  Must be available to work flexible hours (evening and weekends).

Salary: FT/Hourly position (approximately 40 hours a week)

Responses Due: November 10, 2015



Since 1996, the New York City Community Garden Coalition has promoted the preservation, creation, and empowerment of community gardens through education, advocacy, and grassroots organizing. NYCCGC is the only organization in New York City by and for community gardeners, who often live in low-income communities of color that face disproportionate environmental justice and health challenges.


NYCCGC is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. NYCCGC provide equal opportunity and prohibits discrimination against all employees and applicants based upon race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, creed, national origin and ethnic origin, age citizenship, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other legally protected status.

Help Propublica Investigate New York City Rents

We’ve had issues lately with a few Coalition member tenants so we’d like to publicize this article on the investigation by ProPublica and WNYC:

Nov. 4, 2015 by Cezary Podkul

“Is your rent legal?

…ProPublica and WNYC are investigating how some New York City landlords jack up rents higher than the law allows – and sometimes get big property tax breaks….

One way landlords do this is by manipulating so-called “legal” and “preferential” rents. …they’re prone to abuse.

….If you think your landlord is overcharging you, if you think your building should be rent-stabilized but it isn’t, or if you’re paying a “preferential” rent and seeing big rate increases, please take [their] confidential survey on this link….

… ProPublica and WNYC are gathering these stories for the purposes of our reporting, and will not share your information with third-parties—including government agencies—without your permission. …

We know landlords sometimes retaliate…if you live in a rent-stabilized apartment, your landlord cannot evict you simply for talking to a reporter.”

Confronting the Silence: Perspectives and Dialogue on Structural Racism against People of African Descent Worldwide

Perspectives and Dialogue on Structural Racism against People of African Descent Worldwide

IMG_5301 (1)

Harry Belafonte addressing the assembly.

On the occasion of the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent.
The event is organized by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, with the co-sponsorship of the Unitarian Universalist Association, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the United Nations Department of Public Information, the Organisation Internationale de le Francophonie, Black Lives Matter, and Amnesty International USA.



Sara Roosevelt Park and Robert Moses’ Lower Manhattan Expressway (LOMEX) plans

In the Shadow of the Highway: Robert Moses’ Expressway and the Battle for Downtown


The exhibit runs through February 2016 at the NYC Department of Records Visitor Center, 31 Chambers Street.

The Lower Manhattan Expressway (LOMEX) was first proposed in 1929 as a small part of a plan to build highways throughout the region, then included in a 1941 National Defense proposal drafted by Robert Moses. This 10-lane expressway would have cut across the heart of Lower Manhattan and stretched from the Williamsburg and Manhattan Bridges to the Holland Tunnel, rising over Broome Street.

In 1962, the NYC Board of Estimate decided not to relocate neighborhood residents to build LOMEX. The expressway was ultimately de-mapped in 1969 due to activism and advocacy on the part of neighborhood residents – including Jane .

From the short video on Robert Moses

The NYC Department of Records and Information Services’ Municipal Archives in collaboration with Below the Grid Lab and the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU.

There a wheel-chair accessible entrance on Reade Street between Elk and Centre Streets.