Merriam-Webster’s describes recreation as, “refreshment of strength and spirits after work ; also : a means of refreshment or diversion.” Wikipedia equates it with “fun”.
When it comes to water quality standards, recreation can imply a few different things. Depending on what kind of recreation you are up to on the water, the City and State are required to maintain water quality to suit that use. So, if you are using a waterway for swimming, the water quality standard will be much higher than for a waterway that is being used for, say, primarily boating or even industry.
Of New York City’s 600 miles of waterfront, only about 14 miles are officially designated as beaches, and the highest water quality standards are reserved for those areas of “primary contact”. What of the rest?
Does the city share your goals for using the waterway closest to you? PlaNYC’s main objective for water quality is to “open 90% of our waterways to recreation by preserving natural areas and reducing pollution”. This goal is only ambitious if by “recreation” they mean “swimming”. Which, at some point, the Mayor did.
Or do they mean forms of recreation that require little or no contact, such as enjoying the vista from an esplanade? Without the specifics on what use we expect from our waterways, how do we know what our goals are in terms of pollution reduction or preservation of natural areas?
Tell us, Mr. Mayor, how do YOU define recreation?