This week, NYC Parks celebrated Parks Without Borders’ milestone with its first completed project ~ Seward Park. At the event, community members also celebrated a new plaque coming to the park, installed in collaboration with the Seward Park Conservancy and supported by Disney+, which will honor the park’s bronze statue of the heroic husky Togo.
“Using the Parks Without Borders design approach, we have transformed underused areas of Seward Park to create a more seamless and welcoming public space,” said Commissioner Silver. “As the first completed showcase project, Seward Park is an outstanding example of how we can extend parks into communities by reimagining their edges. Thanks to Mayor de Blasio’s investment, this historic Lower East Side park will now serve as a more accessible, inviting and beautiful resource for the neighborhood.”
The Seward Park Conservancy has worked with Parks to install a plaque for the park’s bronze statue of Togo, sculpted by Shelley Smith Curtiss. The plaque, which is supported by Disney+, will honor the Siberian husky, who played a heroic role in the famous 1925 dash across hundreds of miles of treacherous terrain to deliver a life-saving antitoxin to the children of Nome, Alaska. A temporary sign is in place until a permanent plaque can be installed.
“The first municipal park in the nation deserved a face-lift, and Parks Without Borders delivered,” saidManhattan Borough President Gale. A. Brewer. “I’m proud to have played a small role in the funding of this beautiful renovation, and I look forward to seeing all it adds to the community.”
Seward Park was nominated for Parks Without Borders (PWB) by the community with more than 600 votes. The $5.9 million project, funded by Mayor Bill de Blasio, enhanced connections between the streetscape and adjacent park areas and reconstructed portions of the park, including the courtyard around Seward Park Library; the adjacent garden; the promenade along Essex Street; and perimeter sidewalks. The park now features lowered fences, new pavements and curbs, benches and tables, a storytelling alcove, fitness equipment, lighting, and plants. As part of this project, the park’s marble mosaic map of the neighborhood will be repaired in the spring.
“The Seward Park Conservancy is grateful to the Parks Department for the beauty of the design and the swift completion of this gorgeous renovation,” said Amy Robinson, Seward Park Conservancy President. “We are also excited that the statue of the heroic sled dog, Togo, has a new place of honor in the garden and he will soon be getting a permanent plaque. The improvements to our historic first municipal playground in America will be used and loved for the next 100 years by the diverse Lower East Side community.”
Parks Without Borders, part of OneNYC, was announced in November 2015 with a call for community involvement. NYC Parks asked New Yorkers to nominate the sites that would benefit the most from a PWB improvement project. Utilizing an online survey and 37 conferences with citizens, Parks received more than 6,000 nominations for 691 parks—approximately 30 percent of our parks. The eight selected showcase projects, sharing $40 million in funding from Mayor de Blasio, were revealed in May 2016; and an additional $10 million has been applied to another 40 capital projects in progress.
The other PWB projects are: Fort Greene Park and Prospect Park (Brooklyn); Van Cortlandt Park and Hugh Grant Circle / Virginia Park and Playground (Bronx); Jackie Robinson Park (Manhattan); Faber Park (Staten Island); and Flushing Meadows Corona Park (Queens).