New "Green" Community Schoolyard Opens at the Pacific School in Brooklyn

June 23, 2023

The newly renovated schoolyard features permeable pavers, subsurface storage and other green infrastructure to absorb stormwater runoff, reduce neighborhood flooding and protect the health of the nearby Gowanus Canal

Photos are available on DEP’s Flickr page

Trust for Public Land, in partnership with the New York City Departments of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Education, the Mayor’s Office of Climate and Environmental Justice, and other funders, on Tuesday celebrated the opening of the newly renovated green schoolyard at the Pacific School (P.S. 38K) in Brooklyn.

This opening marks the first Brooklyn project completed through the Mayoral Extreme Weather Task Force. The schoolyard features green infrastructure that will manage nearly 1.2 million gallons of storm water per year, helping to reduce both neighborhood flooding as well as pollution in the nearby Gowanus Canal. The schoolyard will also give quality park access beyond school hours to 32,357 residents within a 10-minute walk of the school.

“Parks are essential for the mental and physical well-being of New Yorkers, and this new community space is a key part of our work to close the park equity gap and increase climate resiliency,” said Mary Alice Lee, Interim New York State Director and NYC Playgrounds Director for Trust for Public Land. “In addition to serving the entire neighborhood with quality park space, this schoolyard will give students the opportunity to learn and play outdoors, while its green infrastructure features will absorb millions of gallons of stormwater that would otherwise flood our city streets.”

“As the climate changes, so should our infrastructure and public spaces”, said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. “Trust for Public Land has been a valuable partner with the City over the years, transforming over 200 of our schoolyards in the past decade. In PS 38K, they have shown that the asphalt playgrounds of yesterday can be redesigned and reimagined for play and for protection from increasingly extreme sudden storms.”

“A beautiful new playground for P.S. 38 and the community, that also absorbs stormwater and helps to improve the health of the Gowanus Canal, is a win-win for New York City,” said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala. “Green Infrastructure, upgraded sewers and the now under-construction $1.6 billion sewer overflow retention tanks demonstrate all the tools we are using to better manage stormwater, reduce flooding and protect the Gowanus Canal.”

“Green spaces are integral to the health of our communities—especially for our children,” said Council Member Lincoln Restler. “I'm thrilled that we have transformed a dilapidated concrete jungle into a beautiful, green, and resilient new schoolyard at PS38 for the whole Boerum Hill community. Thank you to everyone at PS38 and Trust for Public Land who helped make this happen.

“We are delighted to continue our partnership with TPL on this latest stormwater management playground,” said Victoria Cerullo, Acting Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice. “A key pillar of the Adams Administration’s climate strategy is creating multiple co-benefits, and the green schoolyard at P.S. 38K addresses neighborhood flooding and pollution while it enhances community open space. The creativity and innovation of the students who helped to design the playground, while learning about climate change, just goes to show how climate education and engaging our youngest New Yorkers is part of the solution to a resilient, sustainable and just future.”

YouthBuild, a program of Queens Community House, built the planting beds in the Garden area. YouthBuild Queens assists young adults (ages 18-24) in attaining their High School Equivalency (HSE) Diploma and preparing for entry into the skilled trades field.

Opening all the nation’s public schoolyards during non-school hours would put a park within a 10-minute walk of nearly 20 million people—solving the problem of outdoor access for one-fifth of the 100 million people across the country who don’t currently have a park close to home. TPL’s goal for every schoolyard is to turn blacktop “playgrounds” into vibrant, verdant spaces that do double duty as neighborhood parks outside of school hours. These Community Schoolyards projects are improving the health, equity, and climate resilience of neighborhoods across the country and transforming the lives of students, families, teachers, and the whole community. Since 1996, TPL’s NYC Playgrounds Program has helped design and build 225 school and community playgrounds across the five boroughs.

About Trust for Public Land

Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors. As a leader in equitable access to the outdoors, TPL works with communities to create parks and protect public land where they are needed most. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 4 million acres of public land, created more than 5,364 parks, trails, schoolyards, and iconic outdoor places, raised $93 billion in public funding for parks and public lands, and connected nearly 9.4 million people to the outdoors. To learn more, visit

About the Department of Environmental Protection

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing approximately 1 billion gallons of high-quality drinking water each day to nearly 10 million residents, including 8.8 million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP also protects the health and safety of New Yorkers by enforcing the Air and Noise Codes and asbestos rules. DEP has a robust capital program, with a planned $31.3 billion in investments over the next 10 years. For more information, visit, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

About the Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice

MOCEJ is a team of architects, lawyers, data and climate scientists, engineers, policy advisors, geologists, and city planners leading the City’s strategy to create a city where New Yorkers can live, work, learn, and play in healthy, resilient, and sustainable neighborhoods—now and into the future. MOCEJ works to make our buildings efficient and resilient, ensure our infrastructure is climate-ready, transform our streets and public realm into living, open spaces, and make our energy clean and resilient. Through science-based analysis, policy and program development, and capacity building, and with a focus on equity and public health, MOCEJ leads the City’s efforts to ensure that New York City is both reducing its emissions and preparing to adapt and protect New Yorkers from the intensifying impacts of climate change.