Manhattan oasis looks to better times Madison Square Park to get public, private funds


NEW YORK -- Drug dealers used to ply their trade openly there. And homeless people took up residence. But thanks to a police crackdown, those problems have abated.

Still, Madison Square Park, 6.2 acres between 23rd and 26th streets, stretching from Madison Avenue to Broadway in Manhattan, is a far cry from the verdant gem it was in the 19th century.

Its asphalt is cracked. Its irrigation is poor. There are missing benches, broken fences and poor landscaping.

There's more dirt than green even in the warmer seasons.

But all that may soon change. The City Parks Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises private funds to restore parks and to run park programs, collected $2.5 million to restore the park.

The sum was matched by the city: $1 million from the mayor's budget, $1 million from the City Council and $500,000 from the office of the Manhattan borough president.

The park is named for President James Madison.

Pub Date: 11/08/98

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