NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A8740a
TITLE OF BILL:
An act to establish a temporary state commission to rename the Robert
Moses State Park; and providing for the repeal of such provisions upon
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
To rename the Robert Moses State Park in Long Island and to establish a
commission to choose a new name for the State Park that reflects the
history of Long Island.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1 of the bill authorizes the commissioner of the New York state
office of parks, recreation and historic preservation to select a new
name for Robert Moses State Park that reflects the history of Long
Section 2 of the bill outlines the appointment of members of the tempo-
rary state commission, and authorizes expenses and the use of state
facilities and data by the commission if deemed necessary to complete
Section 3 authorizes the Commission to hold hearings and undertake rele-
vant studies, enter into any necessary agreements and perform any neces-
sary acts that would allow it to carry out the objectives of this act.
Section 4 mandates the commission submit recommendations for the new
name to the commissioner of the New York State office of parks, recre-
ation and. historic preservation within six months of their appointment,
and then authorizes the commissioner to proceed with the renaming.
Section 5 states that the Act will take effect immediately, and requires
the commissioner to notify the legislative bill drafting commission upon
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ORIGINAL AND AMENDED VERSION (IF APPLICABLE):
The amended version makes technical amendments to the language of the
Robert Moses, whom Robert Moses State Park has been named after since
1964, wielded unprecedented power during his decades-long career.
However, Robert Moses repeatedly abused his power to entrench racial and
economic segregation, inhibit communities of color from sharing in New
York's postwar prosperity, and ensure that many of the great public
amenities he helped build stayed inaccessible to poor people and people
When Robert Moses helped construct Jones Beach State Park, he inten-
tionally ordered the overpasses of the connecting parkway too low for
buses, so that poor people, particularly African-American families,
could not access the beach. Further, as Commissioner of the New York
City Department of Parks and Recreation, Moses built most public parks,
playgrounds and pools far from Puerto Rican and African-American neigh-
borhoods. According to Moses' biographer, Robert Caro, one of the few
times Moses did build a pool near a predominately African-American
neighborhood in Harlem, he ordered it be kept at a "deliberately icy"
temperature based on his racist belief that this would keep African-Am-
erican families away.
Moses also pursued the systematic displacement and segregation of fami-
lies of color in Manhattan and beyond: Moses helped displace over 7000
people, mainly African-Americans and Puerto Ricans who lived in the
historic and diverse neighborhood of San Juan Hill to build Lincoln
Center, and revised language in a city contract that effectively allowed
for the discrimination against black veterans and their families in the
Stuyvesant Town development.
The names of our great state parks serve as powerful symbols of which
people and which aspects of our history we celebrate. The state of New
York needs to begin the process of accounting for the historic harm done
to communities of color by people like Robert Moses, whose actions still
affect many African-American and Hispanic New Yorkers to this day.
Thus, the commissioner of the New York state office of parks, recreation
and historic preservation has an obligation to help choose a new name
for this beautiful state park that better reflects the rich and diverse
history of Long Island and of New York State.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS:
This act shall take effect immediately. Section 4 mandates the commis-
sion submit recommendations for the new name to the commissioner of the
New York State office of parks, recreation and historic preservation
within six months of their appointment.