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Expansion Explainer: The Playgrounds in N.Y.U. 2031’s Footprint


As Village residents await Borough President Scott Stringer’s recommendation early next month regarding N.Y.U.’s expansion plans, The Local is taking a look at the impacts of the project. Today, we’re examining the concerns surrounding the replacement of four playgrounds under the proposed development. Yesterday, we looked at the impact the proposal would have on parking in Greenwich Village. Check back for our coverage of concerns surrounding loss of light, the dog run, and the LaGuardia Community Garden.


If N.Y.U.’s expansion is approved, what will happen to the playgrounds in its footprint?


There are three playgrounds on the two blocks where N.Y.U. is seeking to build. They are Mercer Playground, located along Mercer Street on the north block; Key Park, which is just west of Mercer Playground between the two buildings in Washington Square Village; and Rocket Ship Park on the south block. Each one will be demolished and eventually replaced. N.Y.U. says that at a minimum, a temporary playground will always be open during the proposed 20-year buildout. Key Park and Rocket Ship Park are not open to the public — the replacement parks will be public. Read more…

More Rats in the Park? Thank the Hawk

tompkins hawk on her half-built nestCarol Vinzant A red-tailed hawk in its nest in Tompkins Square Park earlier this year. Officials said that they stopped placing rat poison in the park to protect birds of prey, which feed on the rodents.

Lately the hoards of rats scurrying all over Tompkins Square Park have disgusted local parents taking their children to the playground. Now, an ironic — and unwitting — culprit has emerged as the reason for the boom in rats: red-tailed hawks.

The Parks Department told The Local Monday that it stopped placing rat poison in the East Village’s green oasis in April because it could pose a danger to the feathered carnivores, which feed on the rodents.

“We are not placing rat poison in Tompkins Square because of the hawk,” said Philip Abramson, a spokesman for the Parks Department. “Instead we have replaced the garbage baskets with garbage drums, preventing rats from accessing its insides.”

The red-tailed hawk was first noticed this month on EV Grieve keeping vigil over the park, and occasionally feasting on a rat. Around the same time, a new parent group, Tompkins Square Park & Playgrounds Parents’ Association, sounded the alarm on the rats in The Villager, saying the critters were even burrowing in the sandbox.

As it turns out, the two occurrences are related. A poisoned rat can be a fatal feast for a hawk, especially a juvenile one.
Read more…

In the East Village, Places to Romp

Looking for child-friendly options as summer turns to fall in the East Village?

Community contributor Rachel Goldman surveys some of our neighborhood’s playgrounds.

View East Village Playgrounds in a larger map

Is our playground map complete? What is your favorite neighborhood playground, and why?