[Read below for an important reminder about the Upper East Side and green spaces that remains relevant today.]

From Crain’s New York Business:

New study concludes that the area, when it comes to public space and parks, scores at the bottom of the heap.


Updated: April 25, 2013 3:34 p.m.

In one way, it turns out, Upper East Siders are impoverished. In fact, when it comes to the amount of parks and public space in the neighborhood, they may be the most impoverished people in the city.

“When you think of the Upper East Side, you don’t often think ‘underserved community,’ but at least in terms of open space, that’s kind of the case,” said Holly Leicht, executive director of New Yorkers for Parks.

The advocacy group is currently undertaking a detailed study of open space on the east side of Manhattan, the first of its kind. To do that the group has created what it calls The Open Space Index. Teams are sent out to count every inch of playground and lawn in a community, every bench and basketball hoop. That data is then used to rank neighborhoods on 15 criteria.

Surprisingly, the Upper East Side got low marks for every single one.

“We’ve never had a community fail on all counts before,” Ms. Leicht said. “And that’s including our work in Jackson Heights (Queens), which has historically been thought of as one of the most underserved neighborhoods for open space.”

The Open Space Index was first launched in 2010 with a pilot on the Lower East Side. The first official indexing was in Jackson Heights the same year, followed by East Harlem last fall. The index measures criteria such as the number of destination pocket and neighborhood parks; how far residents are from such parks; the number and quality of playgrounds and sports facilities; and maintenance of these spaces.

The latest indexing effort is being funded by two city council members who represent the east side, Daniel Garodnick and Jessica Lappin, whose combined districts run from Stuyvesant Town up to Mount Sinai Hospital. The effort will provide the first comprehensive look at open space resources for Manhattan communities along the East River.

Read the full article, “Green spaces in short supply on Upper East Side,” via Crain’s New York Business