Our work at NYC Parks

New York City has one of the largest urban parks systems in the US. Parks take up nearly 14% of the city’s land, providing critical open space for residents. New urban parks initiatives around the country are raising awareness about the potential for parks to do even more, bringing people together and bridging divides. Through our work in parks, we aim to be a part of that movement here in NYC.

Since 2015, Street Lab has partnered with NYC Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks) to bring its unique portable learning environments to parks designated for investment as a part of the city’s Community Parks Initiative (CPI). Through CPI, the city is working with communities to create thriving public spaces through capital improvements, enhanced public programming, and capacity-building work with local groups to care for and better use parks in low-income, dense, and growing neighborhoods that have not seen significant capital investment in a generation. More recently, we focused our collaboration on some public pools, where thousands of New York City kids receive free meals daily.

We currently schedule most of our work in parks during the summer months when kids are out of school, targeting low-income neighborhoods where the risk of “summer slide” is also greatest. Contact us if you know a park where you’d like us to pop-up, and see our calendar to learn more about our park schedule.

Our work in NYC parks has been generously supported in the past in part by Leaves of Grass Fund, and in Manhattan by Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer.

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Blog posts about our work in NYC Parks:

Highlights from 2019

Highlights from 2019

Dear Friends, A quick update about what we've been working on, and a thought about where we work—public space. In New York City, public space is often a way to get from point A to point B. Sidewalk means: keep walking, there's someone right behind you here. And it...

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Making a place for learning at NYCHA public housing

Making a place for learning at NYCHA public housing

Many NYC kids who live in low-income neighborhoods report that there is little to do over the summer, especially when camps and cultural institutions are out of reach. To help fix that, for six weeks this summer, we created a safe place to hang out and learn next to...

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Creating a place to DRAW together in Times Square

Creating a place to DRAW together in Times Square

Our DRAW program is in the middle of a month-long residency in Times Square. Join us every Wednesday 12-3pm and draw with fellow New Yorkers at an open-air art studio, featuring fine art materials donated by Blick Art Materials and an artist-in-residence. Made...

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About our “new” name… Street Lab.

Street Lab began in Boston in 2006. In 2011, we moved the organization to NYC and launched the Uni Project, which was a portable reading room that roamed the city. In 2020, we are re-introducing our original name Street Lab to tie all this work together going forward, with much more to come.