Mike Bloomberg led a major expansion of the City’s parks, adding more than 850 acres of new parkland, much of it along the waterfront, and opening new recreational facilities in all five boroughs. At the end of Mayor Bloomberg's term in 2013, 76% of New Yorkers lived within a 10-minute walk of a park or playground.

Added more than 850 acres of park land.

400 acres of waterfront land acquired by the parks department.

In 2013, 76% of New Yorkers lived within a 10 minute walk of a park.

Parkland Additions and Renovations

Major Park Expansion

More than 850 acres of parkland were added between 2002 and 2013.

Freshkills, Staten Island

The continuing development of Freshkills Park, which the Bloomberg administration designed, will add another 2,000 acres of parkland over the next few years.

Redesigns and Upgrades

1,750 parks and facilities were redesigned or upgraded between 2002 and 2013.

Million Trees

More than 800,000 trees have been planted of the one million trees the Bloomberg administration committed to plant by 2017.

Capital Investments

Capital Enhancements

The Bloomberg administration committed $5 billion in capital improvements to City parks.

Schoolyards to Playgrounds

Under PlaNYC, 227 playgrounds were opened to the public.

Asphalt to Turf

Under PlaNYC, 26 asphalt yards were converted to synthetic turf athletic fields.

Field Lighting

Under PlaNYC, 18 athletic fields were affixed with lighting to allow for nighttime play.

New Parks

10 Minute Walk to a Park

In 2013, 76% of New Yorkers lived within a 10 minute walk of a park, an increase of a quarter million City residents since 2007.

High Line

The City’s first elevated park in 2009. The High Line attracted some $2 billion in private investment to the area, and in 2011 alone, welcomed 3.7 million visitors.

Governors Island

In 2003, Governors Island was transferred from the U.S. government to the people of New York and in 2010, the City assumed control of the island. The Bloomberg administration developed a plan to invest $260 million over two years to develop the park and its public spaces.

Macombs Dam Park

More than 32-acres of new and renovated parks were built as part of the Yankee Stadium Area Redevelopment Project.

Brooklyn Bridge Park

This world-class park stretches 1.3 miles along the East River from Manhattan Bridge to Atlantic Avenue.

Hudson River Park

The longest waterfront park in the US, the park attracts 17 million visits each year.

McCarren Pool

Closed since 1984, The Bloomberg administration reconstructed and opened the new $50 million pool and play center. An ice skating rink opened in the winter of 2013. McCarren was one of the 8 regional parks that were part of the PlaNYC agenda.

PlaNYC Regional Parks

The Bloomberg administration was committed to redeveloping eight regional parks as part of the PlaNYC agenda. These parks were: Soundview Park in the Bronx, McCarren Pool and Play Center in Brooklyn, Fort Washington Park in Manhattan, Highbridge Park in Manhattan, Highland Park in Queens, Rockaway Park in Queens, Calvert Vaux Park in Brooklyn, and Ocean Breeze in Staten Island.

Expansion of Public/Private Partnership in Parks

Jamaica Bay Rockaway Parks

Thanks to a partnership with the National Park Service (NPS) and the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy, the City and NPS began a joint planning process to devise a new, unified governing model and new, common objectives for Jamaica Bay - the 10,000 acres of publicly-owned land in south Brooklyn and Queens.

Science and Resilience Institute

A consortium was selected, led by the City University of New York to lead a new Science and Resilience Institute. The Institute will be a top-tier research center promoting an understanding of resilience in urban ecosystems and their adjacent communities through an intensive research program focused on the restoration of Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks.

Expansion of Recreation Services

Created Free Fitness Program

New Yorkers made 136,000 annual visits to free fitness programs, Shape Up NYC and Walk NYC, which were possible through partnerships with NYC Service, DOHMH, Equinox and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Swim for Life

The City created a new program to teach 27,000 second graders to swim by 2013.

Partnership between the Parks and Education Departments

219 schools used both indoor and outdoor park space for physical education.

Becoming a More Sustainable City

Sustainability Guidelines

The Bloomberg administration developed High Performance Landscape Guidelines for the City’s parks, which included everything from reusing water to using native plans.

Sustainability Report

The City published “A Plan for Sustainable Practices within NYC Parks” in 2011.


The City expanded the Greenstreets program, which helped capture storm water that would otherwise overflow NYC's combined sewer outflows, thus preventing this polluted water from entering NYC harbor and waterways.


The Bloomberg administration added 400 acres of new waterfront parks and constructed 20 miles of waterfront greenways.

Fostering Wildlife


A native herring was returned to the restored waters of the Bronx River. They had not been recorded since the 1600s.


On their own, beavers returned to the restored waters of the Bronx River. These were the first beavers recorded in NYC in more than a century.

Oyster Habitat

Off Soundview Park oyster reefs were installed and outfitted with 50,000 young oysters which allowed for the return of a healthy habitat to these waters.

Mocha Emerald

A dragonfly native to NYC, but not seen since the 1800s, was re-discovered in Staten Island.

Becoming More Data-Driven and Efficient

Asset Management Park System (AMPS)

This system allowed the Parks Department to capture information about daily operations on a citywide level and create indicators that help managers and supervisors more efficiently monitor and utilize their resources.

Severe Weather Preparedness

The City launched a mobile application for faster processing and updating of service requests which was successfully used during Superstorm Sandy.