Archive for the ‘Recreation & Leisure’ Category

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (June 30-July 6, 2014)

Monday, July 7th, 2014

LEISURE & RECREATION

Donors help cities reignite Fourth of July fireworks.” By Rachel Chason and Paulina Firozi. USA Today. July 2, 2014.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (June 23-29, 2014)

Monday, June 30th, 2014

RECREATION & LEISURE

Urban Gardner: Dissecting New York City’s High Line; High Line Is 5 Years Old and a Smashing Success, But What Is It Exactly?” By Ralph Gardner Jr. Wall Street Journal. June 24, 2014.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (March 10-16, 2014)

Monday, March 17th, 2014

PARKS & RECREATION

Court sides with landowner over abandoned railroad right of way.” By Robert Barnes. Washington Post. March 11, 2014.
Related story:
Supreme Court Sides With Landowner in Rails-to-Trails Case.” Wall Street Journal. March 11, 2014
Supreme Court deals setback to rails-to-trails movement; The justices rule 8-1 in favor of landowner Marvin Brandt of Wyoming, saying he is not required to grant a right of way through his property.” By David G. Savage. Los Angeles Times. March 11, 2014.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (July 22-28, 2013)

Monday, July 29th, 2013

LEISURE & RECREATION

Schmidts’ Donation Clears Way for ‘The Hills’ to Be Built on Governors Island; Southern End of Island Will Be Turned Into Rolling Terrain.” By Laura Kusisto. Wall Street Journal. July 25, 2013.
Related story:
Elevated park planned for Governors Island; Google’s Eric Schmidt and wife give $15 million to help build hilly respite with 80-foot mounds offering big sweeping views of New York Harbor, skyline and Lady Liberty.” Crain’s New York Business. July 25, 2013.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (July 8-14, 2013)

Monday, July 15th, 2013

RECREATION & LEISURE

New York City’s Parks Grow With Private Funds; But Some Question Wisdom of Such Funding for Long Term.” By Laura Kusisto. Wall Street Journal. July 7, 2013.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (July 1-7, 2013)

Monday, July 8th, 2013

SPORTS

New Olympic Panel Seeks Big Donors in Fundraising Bid.” By Matthew Futterman. Wall Street Journal. June 30, 2013.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (April 8-15, 2013)

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

RECREATION & LEISURE

Couple donates $2 million for Chinese Garden work at Huntington; The donation by former San Marino residents Judy Yin Shih and Joel Axelrod will fund the Clear and Transcendent Pavilion, a traditional Chinese structure.” By Mercedes Aguilar. Los Angeles Times. April 8, 2013. A former San Marino couple has donated $2 million for the second-phase construction of the Chinese Garden at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens. The donation by Judy Yin Shih and Joel Axelrod, who now live in Oregon, will fund the Clear and Transcendent Pavilion, a traditional Chinese structure, which will be at the edge of the lake on the garden’s undeveloped north side, Huntington officials announced. In a statement, Shih cited her experience as a Huntington docent in 2008 as helping to inspire the gift. “My experience as a docent not only raised my awareness of the varieties of Chinese gardens, but helped me develop a deeper appreciation for the understated grace and subtle meanings within a scholar’s garden,” she said. “I found a place where I can let my own garden grow.” The 1,129-square-foot pavilion will serve as an outdoor performance space for presentations of Chinese music and dance, according to Huntington officials. Work on the pavilion is expected to begin this fall and will feature elaborate woodcarving, roof tiles and stonework from the Suzhou Institute of Landscape Architectural Design in China. The construction for the performance space has also received more than $3.5 million from donors in China and the United States. Funding is still being sought for structures, such as a boat-shaped pavilion, a hillside-viewing pavilion and a terraced courtyard. The first phase of the project cost $18.3 million and was funded by more than 350 local and international donors, according to the Huntington.

In a League of Their Own; Judge Landis loved baseball and hated trusts. He believed organized baseball was a monopoly. The Supreme Court disagreed.” Wall Street Journal. April 11, 2013. Review of Stuart Banner, The Baseball Trust. Over the years, various questions have vexed the smooth operation of professional baseball: whether a player has a right to bid his talents out to other clubs, whether a team in one city can move to another at will, whether the number of teams in a league can expand or contract. In each case, and in others, the answer has been guided by a long-ago ruling by the Supreme Court that declared baseball to be, in effect, a game and not a business. In “The Baseball Trust,” Stuart Banner traces the origins of that ruling and the legal logic behind professional baseball’s special status. In 1922, the Supreme Court decided that what was simply termed “organized baseball”—the forerunner of Major League Baseball—wasn’t involved in interstate commerce; hence, federal antitrust laws didn’t apply to it. A lot was at stake in the decision, not least the fates of players who felt tethered to one team for their playing careers. Baseball’s strangely feudal labor relations, Mr. Banner shows, go back to the game’s early days in America.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (February 11-17, 2013)

Monday, February 18th, 2013

RECREATION & LEISURE

Executive Director of High Line Group to Step Down.” By Lisa W. Foderaro. New York Times. February 11, 2013. Robert Hammond, who led the effort to save an abandoned elevated railway in the heart of Chelsea and turn it into a new kind of park, announced on Monday night that he would step down as executive director of Friends of the High Line by the end of the year. In an interview before the announcement at a meeting of the Friends’ board, Mr. Hammond said that he had no plans yet for his next act. But with the third and final section of the park now under construction, the timing seemed right, he said. Mr. Hammond co-founded the nonprofit group with Joshua David, now the Friends’ chief development officer, in 1999. Before his involvement with the High Line, Mr. Hammond, 43, worked as an entrepreneur on small start-up companies. “I always had three goals for the High Line: that it’s a well-loved park, that it inspires others to start their own projects and that it not be dependent on Josh and me,” he said. “It’s a good time to transition. I’m an entrepreneur at heart. My gut has been telling me that it’s time to start something new.” The High Line model is now being emulated from St. Louis to Chicago to Rotterdam, the Netherlands. And Friends of the High Line is in the midst of a highly successful capital campaign, with $81 million raised toward its goal of $125 million. That total will cover the expense of the final section, called High Line at the West Side Rail Yards and estimated to cost $90 million, while also establishing an endowment to help pay for future maintenance.

New York Parks in Less Affluent Areas Lack Big Gifts.” By Lisa W. Foderaro. New York Times. February 17, 2013. Last year, Central Park received what is believed to be the largest gift ever given to an American park, $100 million, from the hedge fund manager John A. Paulson. When Frederick J. Kress, who sits on the board of the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Conservancy, heard about it, he had only one thought: What about us? Flushing Meadows-Corona, which has been the setting for two World’s Fairs, is considerably larger than Central Park, at 1,225 acres, compared with 843. Last year, its conservancy attracted $5,000 in donations. The park’s bicycle and walking paths are cracked and pitted, Mr. Kress said, and its natural areas are overgrown with invasive species. “Central Park is doing pretty well,” said Mr. Kress, who is also president of the Queens Coalition for Parks and Green Spaces, noting that though Mr. Paulson’s home on Fifth Avenue overlooks Central Park, he grew up in Queens. “I’m not saying he owes anyone anything, but how about you give Central Park $98 million and Flushing Meadows-Corona $2 million? That two million would have gone so much further in an underappreciated park.” Mr. Paulson’s gift was only one of a number of large donations to the city’s parks: $20 million was given to the High Line in late 2011, an additional $10 million to Central Park this month, and $40 million was pledged to build a field house in Brooklyn Bridge Park, though the plan was abandoned. The gifts have put New York’s green spaces on a par with hospitals, universities and cultural institutions as objects of philanthropy. The largess has delighted city officials, who say it will ensure that New York’s signature parks have the resources to remain pristine while accommodating millions of visitors a year. But the donations have also highlighted the disparity between parks in Manhattan’s high-rent districts and those, like Flushing Meadows-Corona or Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, that are in less affluent communities. In those parks, conservancies and friends groups must struggle to raise any money at all.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (January 28-February 3, 2013)

Monday, February 4th, 2013

RECREATION & LEISURE

Historic Union Gym struggles to get up off mat; Looks to its roots while modernizing amid financial concerns.” By Jeremy C. Fox. Boston Globe. January 28, 2013. Billed as “America’s Oldest Gym,” the Union has been used for healthful recreation for 160 years. The gym recently began offering classes in the martial arts, including judo. With broad shoulders, powerful chest, and a bushy mustache that curls upward at the tips, Brendan McKee could pass for a strongman in an old sepia-toned photograph. McKee may indeed require herculean strength to usher the 19th-century gym he oversees into the 21st. He is director of operations for the Boston Young Men’s Christian Union, a historic gym on Boylston Street founded by Harvard students in the mid-1800s as a space for “self-improvement and healthful recreation.” McKee, on the job for 16 months, hopes to return the nonprofit to its roots by offering new programs for urban youths as well as a convenient, affordable workout center for adult members. For him to succeed, however, the Union Gym has to weather financial problems that recently shut its doors for nearly a month and find ways to attract new members to a facility that lacks the flash, but also the expense, of many competitors. For members and visitors, the gym is an unexpected and unpolished downtown jewel. Billed as “America’s Oldest Gym,” the facility sits behind a 138-year-old High Victorian Gothic façade on Boylston, near its intersection with Tremont, that is designated a Boston landmark and listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (June 18-24, 2012)

Monday, June 25th, 2012

LEISURE & RECREATION

Private Fix for Public Parks; Companies Will Manage Six California Sites to Limit Closures Under Budget Cuts.” By Max Taves. Wall Street Journal. June 17, 2012. California is close to finalizing bids from private companies to take over day-to-day operations of six state parks, including Brannan Island here, in an unprecedented step by the state to prevent mass park closures after stiff budget cuts. On Monday, the state expects to finish its first corporate agreement, under which American Land & Leisure Co. would take over operations of three state parks for five years, the California Department of Parks and Recreation said. Three other state parks also are slated for private management, which covers running all concessions, visitor services, security and parks’ legal liabilities. The state will maintain ownership of the park lands. The corporate bids are part of California’s last-ditch effort to keep more state parks open. The nation’s second-biggest parks system by area after Alaska’s has been in a tailspin in recent years, with annual funding slashed by $23 million—or 20%—since 2009.”I’m not aware of any state that has concessioned the entire operation of a park to a commercial company,” said Phil McKnelly, executive director of the National Association of State Park Directors, a nonprofit funded by state parks. Other cash-strapped states have discussed putting their parks under private management but then not gone through with it. Facing the possible closure of 13 of its 30 state parks, Arizona in 2010 considered auctioning off park management to private companies, said its parks director, Bryan Martin. But the state “was able to engage” cities, counties and tribes to manage the parks, he said. California was scheduled to close 70 of its 278 state parks starting July 1. But besides the six parks covered by corporate bids, an additional 46 parks are now off the chopping block or are in negotiations to continue operating through efforts by municipalities, private donors and nonprofits, according to the parks department.
Related story:
Saving Calif. State Parks: The End Of Public Funding?” All Things Considered/National Public Radio. June 20, 2012.