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NYC comes in fifth in ParkScore national ranking

Prospect Park in spring.

Prospect Park in spring. Photo Credit: NYC Parks/Daniel Avila

The city's parks took a slight drop in a national ranking of urban greenspaces, but experts say the Big Apple continues to set an example for the rest of the world.

The Trust for Public Land released its annual ParkScore rankings Wednesday, and the Big Apple was tied with Portland, Oregon for 5th place among 75 cities. Minneapolis and St. Paul were tied for first.

Adrian Benepe, the organization's director of city park development, said the competition was tight, but the city scored high when it came to accessibility and investments in greenspaces.

"For New York, it's a score to be proud of and strong in the most important categories," he said.

The nonprofit ranked the cities using a comprehensive metric that focused on three areas: park access; facilities; and investment and size of the parks.

More than 97% of New Yorkers lived within a 10-minute walk of a park, compared to the national average of 71%. The city also had a high percentage of land devoted to parkland, 20%, and numerous playgrounds, basketball courts, and dog runs, according to the report.

Benepie, who used to be the city's park commissioner, said the only catagory where the city lacked was parks size. Although there are dozens of smaller greenspaces throughout the five boroughs, the average size is 1.1 acres.

"There are still parts of the city that aren't served by parks," he said.

Benepie added that the addition of 15 new cities to the survey, including St. Paul, affected New York's rankings.

In October, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a $165 million investment to improve parks in inner city communities. Benepie said that investment was important but stressed that the mayor should also look into creating new parkspace as well.

Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver said it would use the data from the ParkScore report to help with future improvement projects.

"TPL's ParkScore provides a valuable metric to inform a national conversation about parks policy, and we are happy to join the country's leading city parks systems at the top of the rankings," he said in a statement.


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