Mapping amenities in Bronx public parks

Data visualization by Leafy Yan

Resources are unevenly divided among hundreds of parks in the Bronx, the greenest borough in New York City. It’s not the more affluent neighborhoods to the north that have the most convenient structures and technological amenities. In fact, parks resources are concentrated in the more gentrified parts in the South Bronx.

For example, if you look at the map, Wi-Fi hotspots saturate the Southwest Bronx, while wireless access at parks in the North are sparse. The Parks Department said it has been expanding Wi-Fi access throughout the city’s parks for more than two years. But even though Van Cortlandt Park is the third largest borough in the city, the park that borders Westchester County to the north has only two Wi-Fi hotspots — and they’re right next to each other on the park’s western border.

Part of the reason for the South Bronx’s surprising bounty is that it has been targeted by the City Parks Department’s Community Parks Initiative, which invests capital improvements, repairs, and technology initiatives to neighborhoods with high needs for their parks. The city is stingier with making capital investments in parks in the North. All the targeted zones designed in the Parks Initiative are only in the South Bronx, where they aim to create thriving public space and bring immediate physical improvement by redesigning and reconstructing smaller, local parks.

Most of the children’s service organizations are around the South Bronx, according to the New York City’s open data portal. The South also has the advantage of waterfront parks at the Harlem River, whereas the northeastern Bronx’s waterways are used or refuse. The Northeast’s Tallapoosa Point in Pelham Bay Park has been the city’s second-largest disposal site and landfill spot since the mid-1960s, despite the widespread community opposition.

Although the city has targeted the southern half of the borough as worthy of high-tech updates and immediate repairs, some resources are surprisingly rich in the North, including schoolyards to playgrounds and senior centers.

Resources disparities are common among parks in the Bronx, but at least some resources are equally spread out: athletic facilities, police satellites, and spring showers exist throughout the borough.

-Leafy Yan