New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos


NYC Parks Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff today joined Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Council Member Ben Kallos, Community Board 8 Parks and Recreation Committee Co-Chair Barry Schneider, and community members to break ground on improvements to the sitting area in John Jay Park on the Upper East Side. 

“John Jay Park is a neighborhood gem, and this reconstruction will make it even better with a greener and more vibrant sitting area,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff. “Thanks to funding from Council Member Kallos, the new and improved sitting area will better serve as a community gathering space and make an enormous difference in the lives of Upper East Siders who enjoy the park daily.”  

John Jay Park’s sitting area will be completely renovated to provide a more welcoming space for the community. The project will transform the space with new pavement, benches, and drainage, and expand the amount of green space by converting asphalt areas to plant beds. Construction completion is anticipated for Fall 2022.  

The $650,000 project was fully funded by Council Member Ben Kallos. 

“I commend Council Member Kallos and Commissioner Fialkoff on today’s ground breaking to provide improvements to the sitting area in John Jay Park,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I’m looking forward to enjoying this space and its amenities when construction is completed next year.” 

“The sound of shovels hitting the ground on this project is music to my ears,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “John Jay Park is a beloved piece of our neighborhood, and the $650,000 I allocated for a reconstruction of the pavement and the addition of new benches, drainage and expanded space for new plantings will make this park even more appealing to visitors. Thank you to the East 79th Street Neighborhood Association, especially its founder Betty Cooper Wallerstein, and to all the residents who participated in coming up with the improvements and to the Department of Parks & Recreation for doing a great job in design and getting us to this groundbreaking.”   

Situated on the East River, John Jay Park is named for New York jurist and statesman John Jay (1745-1829). The site’s pool opened between 1940 and 1942 as part of a Work Projects Administration (WPA) project. The park also features a large open area for basketball, tennis, and handball courts, a playground that was fully renovated in 2011, and two welded steel sculptures by artist Douglas Abdell.  

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