Tag Archives: bocce ball

Middle Village bocce court repairs miss the mark


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photos by Anthony Giudice

Juniper Valley Park in Middle Village received an $850,000 renovation for its bocce courts, located near the corner of 79th Street and Juniper Boulevard North, in July. Now, players are saying that more needs to be done to make the courts playable before the one-year warranty on the site expires.

Longtime bocce player Anthony Sozio believes some of the designs of the new courts are flawed.

The panels on the top of the protective canopies “are slanted the wrong way,” Sozio said. “When it rains, the water drips right onto the court,” he explained. The dripping creates divots in the court, leaving it unplayable.

“We are aware that to reverse the panels to face outside the courts is a costly proposition,” Sozio said. However, he has a cost-effective suggestion that would alleviate the problem. Sozio believes a heavy-duty tarp could be placed atop the canopies to divert the rainwater away from the courts.

Icicles also formed on the canopies this winter, posing a danger to players below, he added.

“Last week, one of the players got hit by an icicle while removing snow from one of the courts, thankfully without any consequence,” Sozio said.

Photo: Anthony Giudice

Other bocce players, Nick Fazio and Peter Bozanic, agreed with Sozio’s claims and feel something should be done.

“We get no help from the Parks Department with maintenance,” Fazio said.

The players take it upon themselves to repair damages to the courts, having already gone through the 60 bags of replacement soil given to them for maintaining the courts, Sozio said.

The benches alongside the bocce courts pose a problem for spectators. “The benches are so low and the courts are high, so no one can see the game,” Sozio said.

The lighting around the courts do not do enough to illuminate the area when the sun goes down, Bozanic said. “The yellow lights don’t provide enough light,” he continued.

Sozio plans on creating a petition, getting it signed by the bocce players who use the courts and sending it to the local politicians in hopes that they will help fix the courts.

“We are going to petition the City of New York, the Parks Department and our elected officials to prompt responsible people to make proper repairs,” Sozio said.

The group wants the repairs made to be able to keep playing the game they love. “Bocce is very good for us,” Sozio said. “It keeps us healthy. People come from all over to play here and it is how we make friends.”

“The three new bocce courts are great new amenities at Juniper Valley Park, and will allow our community to host citywide bocce tournaments,” said Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, who serves District 30. “My office has been working closely with the community members who regularly use the bocce courts at Juniper Valley for years, and we have conveyed their concerns to the Parks Department – which is ultimately responsible for design, construction, and maintenance of the bocce courts.”

The Parks Department did not immediately respond for a request for comment.

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$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.”