$650k Upgrade Breaks Ground at John Jay Park on the UES

Officials break ground in ceremony for planned improvements at John Jay Park/Upper East Site
Officials break ground in ceremony for planned improvements at John Jay Park/Upper East Site

MANHATTAN – The Upper East Side has no shortage of great parks filled with green space to find tranquility in this big city—  and thankfully, officials are working to make them even better. The latest project broke ground Wednesday morning— the start of a major renovation of John Jay Park on 77th Street, east of York Avenue, between Cherokee Place and the FDR Drive.

“John Jay park is truly a neighborhood gem,” NYC Parks Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff said Tuesday.

”A place beloved to the community for neighbors of all ages to gather and play and spend time together.” 

John Jay Park on the Upper East Side/Upper East Site
John Jay Park on the Upper East Side/Upper East Site

Fialkoff was joined by outgoing Councilman Ben Kallos— whose office provided the $650,000 in funding to rejuvenate John Jay Park— as well as Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and a number of guests for a small ceremony today announcing the project that will transform the park. 

Councilman Ben Kallos, NYC Parks Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff & Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer at Wednesday's groundbreaking/Upper East Site
Councilman Ben Kallos, NYC Parks Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff & Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer at Wednesday’s groundbreaking/Upper East Site

“We all learned through the pandemic that high quality open spaces are vital to our community, and are not a luxury but a necessity,” Parks Commissioner Fialkoff added.

ALSO READ: Yorkville’s Ruppert Park set to Receive $8.9 Million Renovation

The area getting a much needed facelift is behind the basketball courts— currently blocked off by green tarps and fencing— off limits to the public as they began staging the site. 

Fencing surrounds the area undergoing renovation/Upper East Site
Fencing surrounds the area undergoing renovation/Upper East Site

When the project is complete, you’ll find a plant bed that adds to the green space and provides another barrier between activities and recreation. In the current plant beds, they’ll be adding new greenery. 

Renderings on display show improvements planned for John Jay Park/Upper East Site
Renderings on display show improvements planned for John Jay Park/Upper East Site

‘How can we create infrastructure that changes behavior?’ 

Councilman Kallos said that question was the focus behind the project’s design, adding that ”the notion was creating a space that was more passive.”

Renderings on display show improvements planned for John Jay Park/Upper East Site
Renderings on display show improvements planned for John Jay Park/Upper East Site

The area will also get new benches— that’ll make it easier for those with wheelchairs to sit close to friends— as well as all new asphalt, a major upgrade over the mismatched patches or pavement. Construction is expected to be done in one year, with a grand reopening in November 2022. 

John Jay is the latest Upper East Side park to have money committed to upgrades— last July the City Council committed nearly $9 million to upgrading Ruppert Park on Second Avenue and East 90th street in Yorkville. 

Construction at John Jay Park is expected to be complete in Fall 2022.

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