During a recent tour of Military Park on a frigid afternoon here, Daniel A. Biederman waved his arm at the derelict plaza before him, with its once-proud statuary gazing out at ailing trees and graffiti-covered garbage bins.

 “This could be the Bryant Park of Newark, but nobody uses it,” said Mr. Biederman, the urban parks expert who two decades ago transformed that park in Midtown Manhattan from a forbidding drug haven to a jewel-box refuge. “If it was a gorgeous day in June, you’d still have six or eight people here.”

Read more...