Steps to Park? Not Anymore

"Steps to park." "Located on park block." Sigh. The words are enough to inspire sun-filled daydreams in any nature-starved apartment hunter. But there's sad news on the horizon for anyone who likes the sight of some leafy green: the parks are in trouble. Loads of it.

Thanks to budget cuts, your favorite green oasis may be in jeopardy.
The New York State park system -- the oldest in the nation -- is about to close a number of parks due to budget cuts, according to Crains' New York. About 100 of the 213 parks and historic sites have reduced hours or closed amenities like pools and skating rinks to save cash, it just hasn't been enough. Now they're talking about closing sites altogether, including big draws like Niagara Falls and Jones Beach, a popular public beach accessible to Manhattanites.

New York is not alone in shuttering green spaces due to budget woes. Sacramento cut access hours at some of their landmark sites. Georgia considered it, too. But this is the most drastic round of closures in the country, it seems.

What will it mean in New York City, where properties on the park command a premium? For now, city parks are safe, funded more by city entities and private consortia than state moneys -- although mayor Bloomberg's ambitious plans to revamp eight city parks have been scaled back. But come summer, honeymooners and sweaty New Yorkers looking for a quick get-away may find themselves in an advanced state of mourning.

Then again, there's always that blacktop pedestrian oasis known as Times Square.
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