By Eliza Newman
For a group of Upper West Siders, the mission is simple: “Less concrete. More Green!”
The community organization Friends of Stryker Park (FoSP) is petitioning to create a linear park along the length of the north side West 97 Street block between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues on the Upper West Side. The sidewalk is over 50 feet wide—almost double the width of the average New York City block. The total area under consideration is approximately 40,000 square feet.
FoSP wish to partner with one of the main occupants of the street, P.S. 163, and create a green space where the students can learn from a community garden and locals can unwind.
Co-founders of FoSP, Bob Leonard and Jim Henderson, were inspired by the increase of foot-traffic in the area due to the recent addition of the Columbus Square shopping area in the neighborhood. It includes a Whole Foods, Sephora, TJ Maxx, Michael’s, a private preschool and other shops.
Leonard has stated that the group has received an overwhelmingly positive response. He stated, “We have support from a number of local businesses… We’ve met with Donny Lopez, principal of P.S. 163 who has been supportive… Over 350 of our neighbors have signed our petition.”
Henderson has a background in sustainability and energy reduction measures for residential buildings in the City. He is also a board member and treasurer of GreenHomeNYC, a group that helps NYC buildings maintain sustainable building methods and materials.
According to the FoSP website, the name of the park comes from the Stryker family. The family dates back to the Revolutionary War and owned the area roughly between 96th St. to 100th St., and from Columbus Avenue to the Hudson River.
To sign the petition, volunteer, or learn more information, the public may visit www.strykerpark.org.
Two potential designs for the site, by the Department of Transportation: