Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

October 23, 2018

New York State Announces Opening of Vital Brooklyn Community Playground

New Lots School Community Playground is Second to Open in One Month

View the Vital Brooklyn Playground Transformations Here

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the opening of a new student-designed community playground on the New Lots School campus located along Hegeman Avenue in Brooklyn. The new playground features an athletic turf field, basketball courts, a kickball field, play equipment, game tables, an amphitheater, a garden area with boulder seating, shade trees and benches. The New Lots School campus community playground is the second playground in one month to be transformed under the second phase of the Governor's Vital Brooklyn initiative announced earlier this year. By 2020, the Vital Brooklyn initiative will transform eight schoolyards into playgrounds, renovate 22 community gardens and improve four recreation centers in Central Brooklyn.

"Through the Vital Brooklyn initiative, we are expanding access to green space and outdoor recreation, putting the health and wellbeing of Brooklynites first," Governor Cuomo said. "By using student input to build this playground, we are helping to ensure it will meet the needs of the community it serves for generations to come."

"We are charting a new course, improving quality-of-life, and transforming Brooklyn for the future with The Vital Brooklyn initiative," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "Modern, safe, and accessible playgrounds are a central part of our efforts to improve Brooklyn neighborhoods and provide children with recreational opportunities. Most importantly, by involving students in the design process, we are enhancing the educational experience."

Today, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Rose Harvey, joined by The Trust for Public Land New York State Director Carter Strickland and P.S. 218 Principal Stanley Moise and students, opened the community playground. The playground will serve the entire neighborhood, including the more than 330 pre-K through 5th grade New Lots School students who designed the play area.

The new student-designed community playground on the New Lots campus includes green infrastructure design elements that will reduce stormwater runoff that can flood streets and overwhelm sewer systems, allowing untreated water to end up in rivers and bays. These green infrastructure elements include a turf field designed to absorb stormwater, trees, pervious pavers, and other green infrastructure elements, which can capture up to an inch of rainwater during storm events, adding up to over one million gallons per year. The trees will also provide shade and improve air quality, making the city more resilient on hot summer days and promoting residents' health.

Seven more Brooklyn schoolyards slated for transformation into playgrounds will be complete by 2020.

  • PS 581 The Winthrop Campus: 905 Winthrop St - Now Open
  • PS 145: 100 Noll St. - Opening Summer 2019
  • PS 156 - IS 392: 104 Sutter Avenue - Opening Summer 2019
  • MS 354 - KIPP Academy: 1224 Park Place - Opening Summer 2019
  • PS/MS 377: Alejandrina B De Gautier - 200 Woodbine St. - Opening Summer 2020
  • PS 152/315 Midwood HS: 725 E 23rd St. - Opening Summer 2020
  • PS 115 Daniel Mucatel School: 1500 East 92nd St. - Opening Summer 2020

State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said, "Having access to playgrounds helps encourage families with children to further connect with nature and the outdoors. I applaud Governor Cuomo and our partners at Trust For Public Land for continuing to transform playgrounds into modern facilities for residents to enjoy and inspiring the youth to enjoy healthy recreation options."

Carter Strickland, The Trust for Public Land's New York State Director, said, "We are proud to celebrate the opening of the New Lots playground, which will revitalize the neighborhood and improve the health and lives of 20,000 residents that now have a beautiful, inspirational community space to use for play, exercise, connecting with nature, and chatting with their neighbors. The Trust for Public Land with our many partners has opened 200 playgrounds across New York City, improving 200 communities and the lives of 4 million people. This milestone project also contributes to our 10-Minute Walk to a Park initiative, which aims to provide every American with a safe, beautiful park within a short walk from home. Thanks to our partnership with the Governor's Vital Brooklyn Initiative and the many community groups that made this possible, thousands of local residents will be able to enjoy this park."

Senator Roxanne Persaud said, "I am heartened to see a new student designed playground at the New Lots School. One of the many ways Vital Brooklyn is improving quality of life for residents is with new play spaces for young people, that take into account our responsibility for our impact on the environment."

New Lots School Principal Stanley Moise said, "We are thrilled and excited to have a new playground for our students to enjoy and to share with the school community. From beginning to fruition, a special thank you to everyone involved in this project. On behalf of our PS 213 and the school community and our students, thank you, thank you".

Governor Cuomo's $1.4 billion Vital Brooklyn initiative seeks to transform the Central Brooklyn region by identifying and investing in eight integrated areas that will help to establish a national paradigm for addressing chronic disparities, such as systemic violence and entrenched poverty in high-need communities. The comprehensive plan targets increased access to open spaces and recreation which includes the opening of the new 407-acre state park named in honor of Shirley Chisholm, a Brooklyn-born trailblazer who was the first African American Congresswoman, as well as the first woman and African American to run for President. $10.6 million is also being provided to transform eight schoolyards into community playgrounds and open space, $3.1 million to transform nearly two dozen community gardens, and $1.8 million to enhance four recreation centers across Central Brooklyn.

Today's opening is also part of The Trust for Public Land's Playgrounds Program, which serves to create vibrant, educational, and fun playgrounds for New York City's schoolchildren. All Trust for Public Land playgrounds include student participation in the design process, providing the students with hands-on learning of the science, math, and architecture that goes into designing playgrounds, while giving them an opportunity to voice their thoughts on what is needed in their school's playground. Students at New Lots, as well as parents and neighbors, got the chance to contribute to the playground design process.