Opening Celebration for New Green Schoolyard at N.Y.C Lab Middle School, N.Y.C. Lab High School & N.Y.C. Museum School in Manhattan
Today, Trust for Public Land, in partnership with the New York City Departments of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Education, the Mayor’s Office of Climate and Environmental Justice, the FLAG Art Foundation, and other funders, are proud to celebrate the opening of the newly renovated green schoolyard at N.Y.C Lab Middle School for Collaborative Studies (M312), N.Y.C. Lab School for Collaborative Studies (M412) and N.Y.C Museum School (M412) in Manhattan.
This opening is the part of the Mayoral Extreme Weather Task Force, established in 2021 under Mayor de Blasio to explore the City’s response to extreme weather events and address a rapidly changing reality in which extreme storms like Hurricane Ida are increasingly common.
“Parks are essential for the health of all New Yorkers, and this new community space is a key part of our work to close the park equity gap and increase climate resiliency,” said Mary Alice Lee, NYC Playgrounds Program Director for Trust for Public Land. “In addition to serving the entire neighborhood with quality park space, this schoolyard will give students the opportunity to learn and play outdoors, while its green infrastructure features will absorb millions of gallons of stormwater that would otherwise flood our city streets.”
“As New York City continues to adapt to the impacts of climate change, green schoolyards are a crucial tool – absorbing stormwater, expanding climate education, and increasing community access to open space,” said Victoria Cerullo, Acting Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice. “Our climate plan, PlaNYC: Getting Sustainability Done, includes an initiative to integrate climate education in public school classrooms, and as the Lab students play in a schoolyard they helped design, we hope they grow into climate leaders of tomorrow.”
What was once a vacant, asphalt lot is now a vibrant community park with features like a running track, basketball courts, climbing structure, outdoor classroom, recycling station, gazebo with green roofing, and fitness equipment. On the school wall behind the two half courts is a beautiful mural by Groundswell Community Mural Project Lead Artist Julia Cocuzza. The bricks surrounding the trees in the schoolyard are permeable to manage millions of gallons of stormwater to infiltrate and water the trees that provide shade for those using the playground.
The schoolyard will also give quality park access to 48,091 residents within a 10-minute walk of the school.
The schoolyard received funding from public and private sources, including lead private philanthropic funding from the FLAG Art Foundation, founded in 2008 by art patron and philanthropist Glenn Fuhrman.
“FLAG is thrilled to support this incredible new asset to our Chelsea neighborhood,” said Glenn Fuhrman. “The sight of children playing against a backdrop of inspiring works of art is quintessential New York, and we are proud to be part of bringing this beautiful and safe outdoor playground to the community.”
According to research from Trust for Public Land, open access to all public schoolyards during non-school hours would put a park within a 10-minute walk of more than 19.6 million people, including 5.2 million children, who currently lack access.
Since 1996, TPL’s NYC Playgrounds Program has helped design and build 227 school and community playgrounds across the five boroughs.
About Trust for Public Land
Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors. As a leader in equitable access to the outdoors, TPL works with communities to create parks and protect public land where they are needed most. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 4 million acres of public land, created more than 5,364 parks, trails, schoolyards, and iconic outdoor places, raised $93 billion in public funding for parks and public lands, and connected nearly 9.4 million people to the outdoors. To learn more, visit tpl.org.