BY GABE HERMAN | A ribbon cutting at Chelsea’s Clement Clarke Moore Park celebrated the completion of renovations that included new playground equipment and improvements to the park’s landscape.
The Sept. 24 event in the park, at West 22nd Street and 10th Avenue, was attended by officials and community leaders, who lauded the results of the $1.5 million renovation project.
Upgrades were made to the pavements and storm drainage system, and an updated spray shower was installed along with more swings for different ages. The new play equipment is ADA-compliant, including ground-level play features.
“This is one of the most special parks we have in the city, and it’s a crown jewel of Chelsea,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who represents the area.
Johnson noted the renovation’s origins went back to 2015, when the local West 400 Block Association, Manhattan Community Board 4 and local residents advocated for park upgrades. They pointed out wear and tear in the park and flooding issues, and Johnson said he was grateful for the community’s advocacy.
“Thank you for your hard work and organizing and getting it done,” Johnson said to the Chelsea community.
The park improvements were made without losing its welcoming feel, the speaker added. Seating areas were added, along with more planting beds. Large trees throughout the park continue to provide plenty of shade.
“It’s important of course to upgrade parks, but not lose their charm,” Johnson said.
“Clement Clarke Moore Park now offers a safer, more welcoming playground for the neighborhood,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver. He noted that Chelsea also added a new park, Chelsea Green, in July.
Silver pointed out the abundance of trees and shade in Clement Clarke Moore Park and said, “There’s something about green space that is therapeutic for the mind.”
The ceremony was held on a pleasant afternoon, with temperatures in the mid-70s. While officials spoke, the surrounding park was full of families and young kids busy at play in the playground area. Assembly Member Richard Gottfried noted all the children busy having fun, and quipped, “Some things happen with or without us,” to laughs from the crowd.
Lowell Kern, first vice chair of Community Board 4, said of the renovations, “This one’s personal. Both of my sons, who are now 23 and 20, grew up in this park. I don’t know how any dirt is left along the 22nd Street side because I thought it all ended up in my apartment.”
Others attending the ribbon cutting included Allen Oster, president of the West 400 Block Association, Manhattan Commissioner for Parks Bill Castro, and representatives on behalf of State Senator Brad Hoylman and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.
The park is named for scholar and poet Clement Clarke Moore, who is best known for writing the poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” Moore was born in New York City and spent most of his life on his Chelsea estate.
First opening in November 1968, the park was previously renovated in 1995, according to the Parks Dept. That project added a perimeter fence, play equipment, pavements and transplanted trees.