In a playground in the Morrisania section of the Bronx on a recent afternoon, two parents kept their toddler strapped in her stroller, afraid she might pick up the hamburger wrappers,cigarettes or hypodermic needle lying on the pavement.

In a park in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, a woman said she was afraid to walk her pit bull, who had previously sliced his paw on shattered glass in a flower bed.

And on the waterfront in Long Island City, Queens, piles of garbage towering beside overstuffed trash cans each weekend forced an emergency call for help from the group that runs the riverside parks.

A recent $84 million budget cut to New York City’s sprawling parks system, forced by the dire economic challenges the city faces because of the coronavirus pandemic, comes as the city’s green spaces are hosting gatherings that once took place in bars, reception halls and living rooms, and serving as respite for those working from home or unemployed.

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