September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 44

MITCHELL SILVER
Mitchell Silver sits on a bench painted
in the Pan-African flag colors for the
the new Juneteenth Grove located in
Brooklyn's Cadman Plaza Park.
Parks & Recreation magazine recently
spoke with Silver to discuss
his time at NYC Parks and Recreation,
racial injustice as well as diversity,
equity and inclusion (DEI),
and his important new role.
Parks & Recreation: You're
quoted as saying, " You had
no idea how powerful parks
were. " What were some of the
misconceptions you had about
44 Parks & Recreation | SEP T EMBER 2 0 2 1
the profession early on?
Mitchell Silver: Like everyone, I
thought parks were just these green
spaces with grass and trees, and I
didn't think anything beyond that.
I didn't understand the power of
parks. But I soon began to realize,
particularly in New York City,
these are our front yards, our backyards,
our outdoor living rooms,
where people come together to
meet one another, to create memo|
PARK S ANDRECRE AT ION . OR G
ries. And so that's one aspect of it.
But then I started to realize not just
the physical, but also the mental
health benefits of being in a park.
And, this was pre-COVID. Study
after study will show you what just
being in a park for 20 minutes will
do to the brain - what it'll do to
your overall mental well-being.
And to me, that was very powerful.
But then I also realized it's part of
our essential infrastructure. Parks
are not just these green spaces, but
also for climate change. It cools
the city and the neighborhood in
terms of air quality from the trees.
It absorbs CO2 [carbon dioxide]
and improves our water quality.
They're also used for stormwater
retention. So, [it's about] rethinking
how our park assets [and] our
parks can help protect both people
and property.
I started to joke around and call
the parks department, " the department
of fun, health and happiness, "
and I realized that every city had
to have a department of fun. And
I knew right away, that's the parks
department. We have the power to
bring joy to people, to help them get
healthier, and to help them have fun.
For me, that was an honorable
mission for the parks department to
really bring that to the public. And it
truly has been the case. But [during
the early days of the pandemic] when
everything else was closed, parks became
our sanctuaries of sanity. These
were places people went to feel alive.
And to understand physical health,
to me, was a mental health benefit
that was really powerful. In fact,
I've said [in this era of COVID] that
parks should now be considered a
part of our healthcare system.... So
that was a complete turnaround that
I've learned. Yes, I saw the power preCOVID,
but now I see the power even
more so, post-COVID.

September 2021 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of September 2021 - Parks & Recreation

September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Intro
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover1
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover2
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 1
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 2
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 3
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 4
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 5
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 6
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 6a
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 6b
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 7
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 8
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 9
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 10
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 11
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 12
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 13
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 14
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 15
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 16
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 17
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 18
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 19
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 20
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 21
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 22
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 23
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September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 25
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 26
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 27
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 28
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 29
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 30
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 31
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September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 33
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September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 37
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September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 44
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September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 60
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September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 72
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover3
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover4
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2021
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https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2021
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