NYC Parks Department Warns ~ Don’t Venture Out Onto the Ice in Parks + Tips on Reporting Tree Damage



Wollman Rink. Image courtesy NYC Parks Department

As temperatures continue to drop, NYC Parks urges parkgoers to exercise caution while near lakes, ponds, and rivers in New York City’s parks this winter. New Yorkers are reminded to follow ice safety guidelines and to stay off water bodies that appear frozen – they are likely not, and venturing onto them is extremely dangerous.  

There are more than 150 miles of shoreline and 96 bodies of water within our park system. To remind New Yorkers of the dangers of thin ice, NYC Parks posts warning signs along the perimeter of the City’s lakes and ponds and installs special ladders for use in the event of an emergency. 

Parks also shares the agency’s Ice Safety Tips:

  • Never walk on water bodies that appear frozen.
  • Parents and caregivers should make sure children are never unattended near iced-over water bodies.
  • If you hear the ice cracking, lie down immediately to try to distribute your weight.
  • If you witness someone falling through ice, call 911 immediately – never attempt to make a rescue by yourself. Be sure to give the exact location and an account of the incident.

Ice skating rinks offer a safe and fun way to enjoy the winter weather. For ice skating in New York City parks, check out NYC Parks’ website for our list of Parks’ rinks.

Tree Conditions

During storms, trees and limbs may become weakened and can fall. Exercise caution under and around trees during stormy weather.

How to report tree damage:

  • To report a downed or damaged tree, submit a service request by visiting 3-1-1 online.

  • Call 911 if there is a life-threatening emergency, or to report damaged electrical utilities and power outages.

When reporting tree damage, please make sure to include the location and a description of the size of the tree or branch. In addition, please include the following details:

  • Is the fallen tree blocking a road? Fully or partially?

  • Has it fallen on or is it touching utility wires?

  • Has it fallen onto a house or other building? Is the building damaged?

  • Has it fallen onto a car or other vehicle?

  • Is the tree split, either vertically or horizontally, but still standing? Is the tree uprooted or leaning noticeably?

  • Is tree debris blocking a sidewalk? Fully or partially?

To assist in the City’s snow clearing response, Parks has activated over 1100 staff, 360 vehicles, including over 150 with plows and salt spreaders, and close to 200 pieces of equipment, including 145 snow blowers and brushes, for snow removal operations. If snow accumulates, Parks will support DSNY’s street plowing operation by lending 44 plows and operators. Parks has more than 2,000 miles of pathways across the city and prioritizes snow removal at commuter hubs, areas surrounding schools (Jointly Operated Playgrounds), park perimeters, and park interior pathways and ‘through park’ greenway.

Just a reminder, New Yorkers can kick-off the New Year with a Free Membership at NYC Parks Recreation Centers if you sign up by December 31, 2021.

Don’t miss NYC Parks’ Annual Wreath Interpretations Exhibition at Arsenal Gallery.