Governor Cuomo on Monday night threw a monkey wrench into Mayor de Blasio’s controversial plan to relocate an East Harlem children’s playground to accommodate a $1 billion high-rise development project.
He ordered a state investigation to first determine whether the site is actually parkland before the city can proceed.
Cuomo signed into law legislation that initially called for discontinuing the use of the Marx Brothers Playground on Second Avenue and East 96th as parkland, so it could accommodate a high-rise housing project that would also bring at least two new public schools.
However, in an 11th-hour approval message, he noted there’s been longtime confusion as to whether the site is actually parkland or just a mere playground under the jurisdiction of the city’s Department of Education.
“These unusual facts warrant a unique solution,” he wrote.
He amended the legislation so that before the city can shut the playground down, the state Parks Department must first “investigate all of the property’s historical records, uses, and any other factor relevant” to 1.5-acre playground’s designation.
Cuomo said that while parkland “should not provide zoning bonuses to private industry,” playgrounds “are a different classification and may be eligible for zoning incentives, and no state approval of alienation is necessary.”
Please click here for more info. Below is an image of a signed bill noting the discontinuance of the development project.