August 28, 2020
NEW YORK, NY – Today, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a reversal of the recently-imposed “first-come-first-play” policy for the city’s athletic fields and facilities. The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation will begin issuing permits to youth organizations that had previously applied. On behalf of more than 60,000 New York City children and families that our programs serve, we thank the Mayor and the N.Y.C. Parks Department for listening to our concerns and making a change. We also would like to thank all of the elected officials who assisted us in bringing organized youth sports back this fall, including Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, New York City Council Member Joe Borelli (51st District), New York City Council Member Justin Brannan (43rd District), New York City Council Member Brad Lander (39th District), New York City Council Member Mark Levine (7th District), New York City Council Member Steven Matteo (50th District), New York City Council Member Helen Rosenthal (6th District), New York State Assemblymember Michael Reilly (62nd District), New York State Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (67th District), New York State Senator Alessandra Biaggi (34th District), New York State Senator Andrew Gounardes (22nd District), U.S. Congressman Max Rose (11th District) and Former New York City Council Member and current CEO and President of Riverside Park Conservancy Dan Garodnick. We would also like to thank Eddie Albert, President of the Prospect Park Baseball Association, for bringing the concerns directly to the Mayor.
We appreciate the commitment and passion of all of our families and young players who wrote letters to the Mayor, the NYC Parks Commissioner, and other city officials, and of every one of the 8,954 individuals who signed the #Fields4NYCYouth petition to support the return of youth sports in compliance with safety protocols.
Our many families and children are so grateful for the opportunity to safely return to our city’s beautiful parks and resume participation in youth sports and recreational programs. Our organizations and leagues take public health protocols seriously, and our leadership and coaches are ready to work with the City and State to adhere to all health guidelines and restrictions. The fall season will positively impact the mental and physical health of tens of thousands of young New Yorkers who need to enjoy the outside air, stay active, compete, and interact responsibly with teammates and friends. We all eagerly await the start of the season and a better fall for all of New York City’s children and youth.
We are a coalition of more than 100 New York City youth sports organizations serving over 60,000 NYC children and families across all five boroughs and every youth sport. Formed after the announcement that the city would not be issuing permits for athletic fields and facilities, the organizations came together to work to reverse the policy.
New York City’s youth sports organizations provide recreational, athletic, and youth development programming that ensures the physical health, mental health, and social-emotional wellbeing of young people who represent every neighborhood and all socioeconomic backgrounds. In addition to helping young children maintain healthy lifestyles and learn important life skills, our programs also keep teens off the streets and engaged in positive activities with coaches, mentors, and positive role models. In the midst of a global pandemic, an economic depression, and a rise in the city’s gun violence, it has never been more important to support the health and well-being of the next generation. Our organizations rely on fields and facilities operated by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Without permits to these fields, our organizations would be unable to offer programming leaving a devastating hole in the lives of the city’s children and young people. For more information, visit www.fields4nycyouth.org.
About South Bronx United:
South Bronx United is a nonprofit organization that serves more than 1,300 girls and boys annually combining soccer programs with academic enrichment, college prep, mentoring, immigration legal services, and other individual and family supports. For more information on South Bronx United, please visit www.southbronxunited.org.
Executive Director, South Bronx United
Phone: (718) 841-7422