LIC’s Shady Park reopens following Sandy repairs

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THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano
THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

Officials, community members and residents gathered to cut the ribbon reopening Andrews Grove, nicknamed “Shady Park,” in Long Island City.

The first phase of restoring the beloved “Shady Park” back to its former glory has been completed.

The Parks Department began repairs in June at Andrews Grove, located on 49th Avenue between 5th Street and Vernon Boulevard in LIC, after the park was left with significant damage from Sandy.

Play equipment, safety surfaces and fencing was damaged and eight of the park’s signature tall trees were felled. After that, only a small part of the park was accessible to residents.

After more than two months of working to restore the 2.3-acre park to its original state, local elected officials, Parks Department officials and community members gathered on Friday to cut the ribbon reopening the green space.

“I am proud to open the newly restored Andrews Grove, a park that has long been embraced by the Long Island City community for its lofty trees and colorful playground,” said Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski.

The fixes to the park came through more than $90,000 in city funding and included removing all damaged items, repairs to the playground equipment, new safety surfaces, benches, concrete and asphalt work.

The next phase of bringing “Shady Park” fully back is the planting of eight new trees where the old ones once stood.

Working together with the Friends of Shady Park — a group of neighbors advocating for the repair of Andrews Grove Playground – Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer was able to secure $10,000 in private funding from jetBlue and Warner Bros. to help bring back the trees lost during the storm.

“The reopening of one of Long Island City’s most popular parks marks an enormous day in our city’s efforts to fully recover after Sandy,” said Van Bramer. “This is part of the city’s recovery, this is part of Long Island City’s recovery and when we plant those trees in the fall, it’s going to be another very beautiful day.”

Sheila Lewandowski, founder of Friends of Shady Park, selected the new trees that will be planted in November.

“Within an hour after the construction equipment was cleared the swings were filled with smiling children,” said Lewandowski. “I knew the park was re-opened when the sound of many more children laughing echoed down the block. Now we can heal. Next we replant.”