Tag Archives: Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Conservancy

Star of Queens: Jean. C. Silva, president, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Conservancy


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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COMMUNITY SERVICE: Jean. C. Silva is the president of the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Conservancy, a civic association that is dedicated in preserving, restoring and maintaining the natural, historic and cultural integrity of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

BACKGROUND: Silva was born and raised in Brooklyn, and then moved to Queens. After spending most of her time and effort working in Manhattan, Silva decided she should put more time into her own community and got involved with the Conservancy. She has been the president of the organization since November, 2011.

“In 2004, I met Patricia Dolan [while] volunteering at the Queens Community House, and she was the person who got me involved in the Conservancy,” said Silva.

GOALS: In the coming year, Silva plans on preserving and maintaining the natural and cultural virtue of the park, in order to ensure the park’s educational, environmental and recreational benefits for all users.

“We would like to work with the Parks Department in continuing to preserve and maintain the Pat Dolan Trail with our hikes, field trips and bird watching.”

BEST MEMORY: Silva’s fondest memory is watching people’s reaction when entering Willow Lake, a hidden treasure smack in the middle of two major highways, the Van Wyck Expressway and the Grand Central Parkway.

“It’s like a different world, it’s so quiet, soothing, and peaceful, you feel like you’re not even in Queens,” she said.

Silva remembered seeing a variety of different birds migrating south, and even a muskrat while on the Pat Dolan Trail.

“We have a lot of different animals here, and some of them you would never think would be here in Queens. It’s like you’re really in the country.”

INSPIRATION: Silva’s biggest inspiration was working with the Parks Department to get Willow Lake open again. It took 18 years, but the organization was able to do it, and renamed the trail the Pat Dolan Trail in remembrance of the founder, Patricia Dolan, who had been killed in a tragic car accident in November 2011.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Silva says Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is underutilized and underfunded and she wants to change that. She also mentioned potential plans to restore the New York State Pavilion and her hopes to bring it back to its glory.

 

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Willow Lake Trail renamed in honor of Pat Dolan


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Anthony O’Reilly

An overpass in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park has been dedicated to the memory of Patricia Dolan, the founder and first president of the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Conservancy.

Local residents and elected officials gathered on Sunday, April 21 to rename the Willow Lake Trail as the Pat Dolan Trail.

The trail’s highlight is a new bird blind, a four-wall metal shelter that allows bird watchers to look out on the skyline. Dolan often used the trail as a place to go birding.

Park administrator Janice Melnick praised Dolan as an important part of improving the park in recent years. After Dolan’s death, Melnick said she heard from the Conservancy about dedicating part of the park to Dolan.

“We’re happy to be able to do this,” Melnick said. “We had tremendous support from elected officials.”

Dolan died on November 15, 2011 after being struck by a car.

Elected officials including Borough President Helen Marshall and Assemblymember Michael Simanowitz spoke fondly of Dolan, saying they often heard from her about improving the park.

According to Conservancy president Jean Silva, the trail was a favorite location of Dolan’s. Even during the winter, she enjoyed walking the path with her father.

Silva said several volunteers have worked over the past few weeks to beautify the park in advance of the dedication ceremony, adding that there is still work to be done.

“[The volunteers] did some great work,” she said. “We’re really looking for people to support this.”

-BY ANTHONY O’REILLY
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Activist Patricia Dolan killed crossing Hillside Avenue


| tcimino@queenscourier.com

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Patricia Dolan, longtime Community Board 8 member, president of the Queens Civic Congress, Kew Gardens Hills Civic Association and the founder of the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Conservancy, was struck and killed as she crossed Hillside Avenue on Tuesday, November 15.

Police say Dolan, 72, was crossing the thoroughfare near 198th Street — on her way to a CB 8 Transportation Committee meeting — when she was struck by a 1998 Nissan sedan driven by an unidentified 57-year-old woman.  EMS responded to the scene and took Dolan to Jamaica Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

“She was a friend, a colleague and a pre-eminent civic activist,” said Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik. “We will all miss her very much.”

The driver remained on the scene.  The investigation is ongoing.

Borough President Helen Marshall heralded Dolan as a fighter for “libraries, senior citizens, parks, children, transportation safety and every other issue that affects all of us.”

“She was a frequent visitor to Borough Hall, where just weeks ago she met with my office and library officials to try to move up the timeline for the completion of the Kew Gardens Hills Library,” said Marshall. “She also sat on our Traffic Safety Board. Indeed, her commitment and dedication to our borough were inspiring.”

Dolan also worked at Queens Community House, where she directed the Queens Network, a paratransit system for seniors.

“I had the privilege of honoring her at my Women’s History Month several years ago for her outstanding dedication to the borough of Queens,” continued Marshall. “Appropriately for Pat, the theme of the event that year was ‘Women: Builders of Communities and Dreams.’”

CB 8 District Manager Marie Adam-Ovide told The Courier that a memorial service will be held on Tuesday, November 29 at 7 p.m. at the Schwartz Brothers – Forest Park Chapel, 114-03 Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills (Queens Boulevard and 76th Road).

“She would say things to you to make you laugh,” said Adam-Ovide. “She was knowledgeable about all different issues. She cared so much about her community. It’s definitely a loss to our board. I’m going to miss her so much.”

Other remembrances of Dolan:

City Comptroller John Liu:

“The borough of Queens lost a favorite daughter last night. I have known Pat for many years as a tireless advocate for Queens and for New York City and someone who was fearless about speaking her mind and standing up for what she believed in. Pat was quick as a whip and sharp as a tack. Her leadership and infectious spirit will be sorely missed, and I stand together with my fellow residents of Queens to mourn her untimely death. My deepest sympathies and prayers are with Pat’s family during this difficult time.”

Senator Toby Stavisky:

“She epitomized everything good about public service. She only cared about what was best for the community. I lost a good friend.”

City Councilmember Karen Koslowitz:

“I remember when I worked with Pat for the first time in the 1980s when I worked for Andrew Stein. She was an expert on zoning issues. If I had a question I would call her. She will be missed.”

Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder:

“The loss of Pat Dolan is a loss for Kew Gardens Hills and for all of Queens. She was truly a woman of the people and encompassed everything great about Queens. Pat’s loyalty and devotion to her community was inspirational and I am deeply saddened to hear of her passing.”