Tag Archives: bocce ball

$850,000 to improve courts at Middle Village park


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of the Parks Department

The bocce ball players that arrive at Juniper Valley Park rain or shine will no longer have to worry about the elements.

The city’s Parks Department announced a request for proposal for improvements to the Middle Village park’s bocce courts, including a shade structure covering the space.

Many of the area’s large Italian-American population descends daily on the 55-acre park to exercise, socialize and play bocce, often causing extended waiting times.

“When it’s hot, we have 100 men here,” said Sal Crimi, 87, of Woodhaven. “It’s healthy for us.”

The renovations include the reconstruction of the two existing courts as well as the addition of a third court. Each court will have a shade structure built to cover the court and additional trees will also be planted.

“We need the cover,” said 72-year-old Middle Village resident Enrico Gangi. The reconstructed courts are also a welcome addition, Gangi said, because the original ones were not built correctly.

The $850,000 project will be funded through allocations from Borough President Helen Marshall ($800,000) and Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley ($50,000). The Parks Department submitted a request for proposal July 18.

“The planned bocce courts will be another great addition to Juniper Park,” said Crowley, who represents the area. “I’m thrilled for the local bocce players, who will be able to play on a new court with an awning enabling the sport in all kinds of weather. The players and the court are an asset to the park.”

William Isoldi, 84, who plays daily on the Middle Village bocce courts, said he looks forward to the improvements.

“I’m excited about what’s going to happen,” Isoldi said.

Construction is scheduled to begin in the fall.

‘Bowne’d for Renovations: Upgrades coming to Flushing park


| smosco@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Steve Mosco

No matter the weather or time of year, crowds gather on a daily and nightly basis at Bowne Park in Flushing, where the game is bocce ball and everyone plays.

“Sometimes you can wait an hour to play,” said Sime Stulic, who has played at the park for more years than he can remember. “We have been asking for a long time for a second [bocce] court.”

Now Stulic and his fellow players are getting that second court — and a lot more.

Community Board 7 (CB7) voted unanimously on February 13 in favor of renovating the park and adding another bocce ball court. Marilyn Bitterman, district manager of CB7, said this is something the community wanted, and construction is set to begin this fall.

“We will be replacing benches, picnic tables and adding tables and places to sit,” she said. “Really, an entirely new plaza will be put in, and the existing court will be renovated.”

Bocce players, who have been advocating for improvements to the park for a number of years, couldn’t be happier to hear the news. Peter Salamon, a resident in the neighborhood for over 30 years, said people come from all over Queens to play in this park.

“In the springtime, we have hundreds of people here,” he said. “Even people in Whitestone, where [the city] just built a new court, come here.”

Salamon went on to say that the surrounding community appreciates and welcomes the bocce players. He believes that having such a strong presence in the park deters criminal activity and makes the entire neighborhood safer.

“Years ago, you would never walk through this park at night because it was filled with bad activity,” he said. “People know that we will call the police if we see something. The community appreciates us because we keep the bad elements out.”

The bocce players also have a hand in keeping the park clean. In the early morning hours, Salamon can be found sweeping the grounds around the bocce court and picking up any trash lying around. He even tried to plant a few trees in the park, but the city cut them down because he didn’t have the appropriate permit.

“We come and we take care of this park, not the city. We buy our own equipment and even the special sand for the court,” he said. “We don’t ask for anything.”

The park’s new amenities come with a $500,000 price tag.

Councilmember Dan Halloran, while very happy the park is getting a renovation, wasn’t thrilled with the cost.

“An extra bocce court will be a good thing for Bowne Park, and I’m proud to have helped provide one [through funding],” he said. “But nothing comes cheap through city government.  I’m pressing for Parks to make this happen as affordably as possible.  I’ve asked the department to account for all discretionary funding over the last 10 years, and I am looking at the costs of Parks construction, including the Little Bay Park overruns.”