A greener Chelsea

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A community playground opens at P.S. 33 on Ninth Avenue


  • New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who represents Chelsea on the City Council, celebrates the opening of the student-designed playground at P.S. 33-Chelsea Prep along with students. Photo: Gaspard Le Dem

  • P.S. 33-Chelsea Prep students during a choreographed dance to C+C’s “Everybody Dance Now” before Tuesday’s ribbon cutting for a community park at the school. Photo: Gaspard Le Dem

  • Part of the playscape at the P.S. 33 Chelsea Prep Community Playground. Photo: Gaspard Le Dem

Taking a stroll in the park and getting outdoors to play just got a lot easier — and more eco-friendly — for Chelsea residents.

That’s all thanks to a brand new community playground on the corner of 26th Street and Ninth Avenue.

The P.S. 33 Chelsea Prep Community Playground brings 30,000 residents within a 10-minute walk of a park.

“It’s a gift to us,” said Chelsea Prep principal Cindy Wang at Wednesday’s ribbon cutting for the playground.

“This is where kids learn how to play. Play is so big — all the social interactions — it’s such a critical part of their development and growth.”

Parents, staff members and all 628 students at Chelsea Prep got to participate in the design process for the playground.

At the ceremony, students performed an elaborate choreographed dance to C+C’s “Everybody Dance Now” before the ribbon cutting.

“We’ve come a long way — this is a far cry from what it was,” said Shabana Patel, whose three children attend the elementary school. “It’s a limited space and it’s an odd shape, but they’ve done such a fantastic job with it.”

The playground, built by a partnership of the city and The Trust for Public Land at a cost of $1.16 million, features trees, a turf field, porous pavement and other eco-friendly features. It’s designed to absorb an estimated 365,000 gallons of stormwater each year, according to the city Department of Environmental Protection.

“Think about what a typical playground in New York City looks like — it’s just asphalt,” the DEP commissioner, Vincent Sapienza, said.

“Making playgrounds that are absorbent, that are like sponges that can soak up that runoff before it hits the ground and goes into the street, helps the environment.”

Officials say the park is a small, but important step toward building a city more resilient to climate change.

“It’s small but we think it’s mighty,” said Carter Strickland, the state director of The Trust for Public Land, which has designed nearly 200 playgrounds across the city’s five boroughs.

“At a time when some people in the federal government are denying climate change, denying that we need to do anything, we’re working together here in New York City.” Strickland said.

But with Hurricane Michael barreling up the East Coast and the ghost of Hurricane Sandy still looming, Strickland worries that the city is not moving fast enough to protect itself from another environmental catastrophe.

“It just takes too long and it’s too expensive to build in this city,” Strickland said. “We need to make it faster and less expensive so that we can get things in the ground and protect ourselves from the next storm.”

New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who represents Chelsea on the City Council, also expressed concerns about the city’s readiness for climate change.

“It’s an overwhelming amount of things we need to do,” said Johnson. “It would be nice if we had a federal government that supports us in doing those things.”

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