Tag Archives: Forest Park

Finally! Forest Park Carousel reopens


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Forest Park Carousel

After nearly four years, children — and adults — were able to rush the Forest Park Carousel, choose their favorite horse and take a spin on the historic ride.

The Forest Park Carousel, shuttered since 2008, held its grand reopening on Saturday, May 26, with hundreds of visitors turning out for the sun-filled event.

More than a dozen were able to take the maiden voyage on the century-old merry-go-round.

Jeff Watkins of Woodhaven brought his son, Joshua, who was among the carousel’s first riders.

“It’s a lot of fun and a great reason to get out of the house,” Watkins said. “The park is beautiful.”

“I really liked the ride a lot,” added Joshua, 8. “It went fast.”

The carousel will be open each weekend from 11 a.m. until sunset through late June. After that, it will be open every day until Labor Day. Each Saturday the carousel will also feature clown shows.

Senator Joe Addabbo, who had a chance to hop on the carousel at a press event on May 24, said he was excited to bring his daughters, Alexis and Arianna, to the same ride he once visited with his father as a child.

“It brought back memories from when my father brought me,” he said. “It’s family memories, it’s community memories and just to see my kids smile and laugh, it beats shuttered doors and a closed carousel.”

NY Carousel, the ride’s operator, said it expects to add chairs and tables and open the food stand in the coming weeks.

Ed Wendell, who has advocated for reopening the carousel for years, twice visited the ride on its opening weekend.

“Just in that initial first couple of days, seeing a new generation coming in and having their first ride and having their first experience was wonderful,” said Wendell, president of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association, of the more than 100-year-old ride.

“We’re just traveling through; the carousel will hopefully be here for a very long time.”

As the carousel turns: A history of the Forest Park Carousel


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Forest Park Carousel

When the Forest Park Carousel stopped spinning in 2008, it nevertheless continued its merry-go-round cycle that had become all too familiar over its history.

For decades, the carousel stood continuously in Forest Park as one of the many jewels of the 543-acre greenspace with locals and visitors flocking to the attraction each spring and summer.

“My cousin used to come from Brooklyn to take me to the carousel,” said Leonora Lavan, former president of the Woodhaven Cultural and Historical Society, of the ride that only cost a nickel when she rode it in the 40s. “I had a favorite horse; I used to wait until it was free to get on.”

During the summers in the late 1940s, St. John’s journalism professor Frank Brady was the guardian of the famed merry-go-round. Brady operated the carousel, remembering the festive, carnival-like atmosphere.

“On a really nice Saturday or Sunday the place was packed. Sometimes we couldn’t even accommodate all the kids,” Brady, 78, remembered. “Every pony was taken.”

The carousel’s music, Johann Strauss waltzes, stuck with him through the decades, transporting him back to his days as operator.

“The music was always the big thing,” said Ed Wendell, president of the Woodhaven Cultural and Historical Society.

The music stopped in late 1966 when a fire tore through the ride, leaving behind only ashes.

“The fire started at 8:40 p.m. and was fought by 67 firemen using 26 pieces of fire apparatus, according to the Fire Department, and totally destroyed the carousel,” reported a 1966 article in the Long Island Daily Press.

The article said the carousel had been “a landmark for 50 years,” though an exact date of its opening in the park could not be confirmed.

“After the carousel burnt down, I remember my father taking me up there and seeing the ashes,” Wendell recalled.

Six years passed with no carousel replacing the original.

A Daniel C. Muller-carved carousel that formerly spun at Lakeview Park in Dracut, Massachusetts was on sale in the early 1970s. For $30,000, according to a 1972 Daily News article, Forest Park got a new carousel.

“[The carousel] was in an interesting little park at the end of a dead-end road in nowhere Massachusetts,” said Roland Hopkins, editor of The Carousel News & Trader magazine, a monthly based in California for carousel enthusiasts.

“Muller was one of the special ones for sure; he had a distinct style,” Hopkins said. “He was a master of strong military horses — strong, but not intimidating.”

Only two of the master carver’s carousels remain in the country; Forest Park and the Midway Carousel in Sandusky, Ohio.

The park’s new carousel was built in 1903 and featured a menagerie of hand carved wooden animals.

Everyone was delighted when they brought a carousel back, Wendell said, but barely a decade passed before it again was shuttered.

It fell into disrepair after closing in 1985.

“It really hasn’t had a good history since they brought the new one in. It’s had a history of being neglected,” said Wendell, who also heads the Woodhaven Residents Block Association.

Mary Ann Carey, district manager of Community Board 9, and members of the board began to lobby for the piece of Queens history to be restored.

New operators were secured, the ride was restored and a new era was set to begin.

City dignitaries, including then-Mayor Ed Koch, attended the carousel’s 1989 grand re-opening.

Eager to enjoy the first trip on the carousel, the crowd rushed to get on.

It didn’t move.

“I guess it was the weight of all the people,” laughed Carey.

A minor tweak, and the carousel was up and running again after a four-year absence.

For the next two decades, the carousel ran with relatively few problems.

In 2008, New York One, the carousel vendor, did not renew its contract, setting off another stagnant era for the ride.

While the carousel has stood still, local officials and residents have worked behind the scenes to get the historic ride spinning again.

Facebook groups were started, T-shirts were sold and four Requests for Proposals were issued.

Good news was received in March when the Parks Department announced a new vendor was chosen and the ride would be ready by spring.

But as March and April passed, even the staunchest supporters thought another year would pass with no carousel.

Fears were erased when the Parks Department announced New York Carousel Entertainment would operate the carousel and the public would once again be able to enjoy the attraction beginning Memorial Day weekend.

“We hope now people are more appreciative. We’ve come close to losing it before,” said Wendell.

Even from across the country, carousel enthusiasts realize the attraction of the Forest Park ride.

“You guys have a nice machine there. I hope these guys pay attention,” said Hopkins. “It will be great to have it up and running; it’s a great machine.”

A new era will begin on Saturday, May 26 at 11 a.m.

The Forest Park Carousel rides again


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Forest Park Carousel

After nearly four years, children — and adults — were able to rush the Forest Park Carousel, choose their favorite horse and take a spin on the historic ride.

The Forest Park Carousel, shuttered since 2008, hosted St. John Evangelical Lutheran School students, politicians and civic leaders who fought to save the carousel to enjoy the first ride before it reopens to the public this weekend.

“It went real fast,” said Jason, 6. “It was a lot of fun.”

It wasn’t just the youngsters that enjoyed themselves.

Mary Ann Carey, district manager of Community Board 9, who had ridden the carousel as a child and fought to have it reopened in the late 80s hopped on board with the kids.

“It was great,” Carey said. “I enjoyed it very much. The children loved it.”

After years of civic groups campaigning, the Parks Department announced earlier this month that New York Carousel would operate and reopen the 109-year-old ride.

“When a community speaks out in one voice and they are heard and the result of their speaking out is seen, that’s a perfect snapshot of how government should work,” said Senator Joe Addabbo.

Addabbo added he is excited to bring his daughters, Alexis and Arianna, to the same ride he once visited with his father as a child.

“I cannot wait for this weekend to be here with my two girls and be standing beside them riding this carousel.”

The carousel will be open to the public on Saturday, May 26 at 11 a.m.

 

Forest Park Carousel gets new operator; will soon reopen


| brennison@queenscourier.com

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After three dormant years, the Forest Park Carousel will spin once again.

The Parks Department has selected an operator — New York Carousel Entertainment — for the famed ride.

Though final terms of the licensing agreement have not yet been finalized, the company has a work permit to begin cleaning and conducting necessary maintenance work at the sight, according to a Parks Department spokesperson.

In February, the department announced that the carousel would be ready for the spring or summer.

New York Carousel Entertainment will also operate the carousel in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

The ride has not been operated since 2009 when its vendor, New York One, did not renew its contract.

The carousel — built in 1903 — features figures carved by master sculptor Daniel Muller.

 

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Laughing at Fidel: NY fest stars ‘defect’ — as in their film

They sure took their roles to heart. Two Cuban actors who were supposed to be on their way to the TriBeCa Film Festival in New York — for a screening of their flick about teens defecting from Cuba to the United States — mysteriously disappeared in Miami last week and may now seek asylum themselves. “To be sincere, I think they’re going to stay’’ in the United States, admitted the pair’s “Una Noche’’ co-star Dariel Arrechada, 20, to the Huffington Post. Read More: New York Post

Sick sex ‘drive’ — Trapped prostitutes shuttled to tricks by 6 cabbies: DA

A father and son from Queens ran a lucrative — and cruel — brothel on wheels for two decades, using six livery drivers to deliver hookers to hotels and apartments, Manhattan prosecutors said in announcing the ring’s breakup yesterday. In a sick twist, the dad, Vincent George Sr., 55, not only taught Vincent Jr., 33, how to pimp, but may at one point have either employed his own daughter as a hooker or pawned her off on yet another pimp, prosecutors said, declining to elaborate. Read More: New York Post

Poll Finds Quinn Is Clear Leader In 2013 Mayoral Democratic Field

Christine Quinn, it seems, is breaking away from the pack. According to the newest NY1/Marist College poll, if the Democratic primary were held today, the City Council speaker would win 32 percent of the vote. That is 10 points better than she did in the last NY1/Marist poll in September and 20 points ahead of her nearest rival, former City Comptroller Bill Thompson. Read More: NY1

 

MTA Alter 21 City Bus Routes To Match Riders’ Demands

On Monday the MTA announced that as part of its ongoing review of ridership it was reducing service on 15 routes, while six routes will get increased service. Changes range from half a minute to 10 minutes. The authority says these changes are cost-neutral. Read More: NY1

 

Man in critical condition after being slammed by hit-run driver in Woodhaven

A 50-YEAR-OLD man was in critical condition Monday night after a hit-and-run driver plowed into him as he crossed a busy Queens intersection, police said. The victim was unconscious when emergency crews found him in the roadway at Jamaica Ave. and Woodhaven Blvd. just before 7 p.m., fire officials said. “He was walking in the middle of the street,” said Tiffany Robinson, 22, who said the man did not have the right of way as he crossed the boulevard. “He went 15 feet in the air, flipped — his sneakers went in different directions.” Read More: Daily News

 

Making room for another civic group in Queens

Queens has so many neighborhoods and civic groups that they often double up on each other. So does the borough really need one more? Paul Gagliardotto, a 26-year-old sanitation worker from Glendale, thinks so. Gagliardotto recently formed the Forest Park Civic Association of Queens in an effort to unite the various neighborhoods surrounding the 543-acre green oasis. “We all have this wonderful park in common, yet district lines use this area in central west Queens as a dividing point,” he said. “What we will strive to do is create one voice for these areas.” Read More: Daily News

Forest Park Carousel will ride again in spring


| brennison@queenscourier.com

File Photo

With spring comes renewal and the Forest Park Carousel recently received news that it has been given new life by the city’s Parks Department.

After three years, the revived Forest Park Carousel is expected to be up and running by the spring or summer, according to a Parks Department spokesperson.

While the carousel has stood still, local officials and residents have worked behind the scenes to get the historic ride spinning again.

“We’re very happy to hear some long overdue good news. It’s very encouraging.” said Ed Wendell, president of the Woodhaven Resident’s Block Association, who has trumped up community support with “Save the Forest Park Carousel” T-shirts and a Facebook page with more than 1,150 likes.

The ride has not been operated since 2009 when its vendor, New York One, did not renew its contract.

A Request for Proposal for vendors — the fourth the Department issued — was announced in mid-December. All proposals had to be submitted by January 27. The Parks Department has yet to make a decision on a proposal, but plans to make an announcement in March.

Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley said she is “extremely pleased” that a new concessionaire will be operating the ride.

“With a proven vendor in place, I’m confident the carousel can once again become a great centerpiece and attraction for the park and neighborhood residents,” the councilmember said.

The carousel and the surrounding area of the park provides a tremendous opportunity for a new operator, Wendell believes.

“We’re anxious to hear the other plans the vendor has,” Wendell said. “It can become a real destination.”

The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission is also currently in the process of reviewing the eligibility of the carousel as a New York City landmark, said an agency spokesperson.

“It’s so priceless,” Wendell said. “You’re not going to get hand-carved wood carousels anymore. When these [works of art] are gone they’re gone forever.”

The carousel — built in 1903 — features figures carved by master sculptor Daniel Muller.

“This is something special,” Wendell said. “We’ve spent a lot of time keeping it alive in people’s consciousness. Once that thing finally opens, it’s going to be a great feeling.”

Queens Teacher Charged With Raping 13-Year-Old Student


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Queens Teacher Charged With Raping 13-Year-Old Student

A Queens teacher is facing charges including rape after authorities say he had an inappropriate relationship with a 13-year-old student. Special Commissioner of Investigation Richard Condon says Charles Oross, 44, a teacher at IS 238, had a sexual relationship with the girl while she attended the school in 2009. Officials say the two also exchanged inappropriate emails and Facebook communications. Oross was removed from the school last month. Read More: NY1

 

Boyfriend of Young & Rubicam elevator victim Suzanne Hart calls her ‘bright spot’ 


The heartbroken boyfriend of elevator accident victim Suzanne Hart said Thursday “she was the bright spot in my life.” “I don’t have the words for this,” Chris Dickson said outside the couple’s Brooklyn Heights home. “I can’t process this.” Dickson, who said he and Hart “were together for five-and-a-half years,” was with her father, Alex Hart, and step-mother, Mary, when he spoke. Read More: New York Post

 

Man Accused Of Beating Jets Fan Faces New Charges

Charges were upgraded Wednesday against the man accused of attacking a Jets fan after Sunday’s game. Merle Lee, 35, is now being charged with aggravated assault. He was previously charged with simple assault. Police say Lee punched James Mohr of Queens in the face after an argument ended with a group of men. Mohr, 23, has been taken out of intensive care and is listed in fair condition. Investigators say the dispute wasn’t about the game. Read More: NY1

 

One last spin for land marking Forest Park Carousel

Forest Park Carousel is getting one more spin at landmark status. Area residents and leaders hope to have the historic local landmark officially recognized as one by the city’s Landmark Preservation Commission. The carousel — which last spun in 2008 — is currently being reviewed by the commission to see whether it meets the eligibility for landmarking. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Queens Courier Exclusive – What Would Judy Say?™ – Judge Judy Sheindlin answers your questions about problems that trouble you most. Read: Queens Courier

 

Facebook Timeline now available to all users

Facebook’s 800 million users can now access the site’s Timeline feature, which turns their profile pages into a virtual scrapbook of big photos, memorable posts and life events. For many users, turning on Timeline will likely serve as a trip down memory lane as they rediscover photos and updates they shared months and years ago. All that’s been stored on Facebook. Read More: New York Post

Dr. Conrad Murray gets 4 years in jail for Michael Jackson death


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Comedian Patrice O’Neal Dead at 41

Comedian Patrice O’Neal died Tuesday morning … as a result of a stroke he suffered back in October…This according to his friends at the “Opie and Anthony” radio show. O’Neal had been a staple in the comedy world for years — and performed at the “Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen” back in September. O’Neal was a regular guest on the “Opie and Anthony” radio show – and appeared on several TV shows such as “Chappelle Show,” “The Office,” and “Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn.” Opie just tweeted, “Yes it’s true that our pal Patrice O’Neal has passed away. The funniest and best thinker I’ve ever known PERIOD.” Read More: TMZ

American Airlines Has Normal Flights After Parent Company Files For Bankruptcy

American Airlines says its normal flight schedule will go on after filing for bankruptcy protection. AMR, the struggling carrier’s parent company, filed for Chapter 11 protection today. It also replaced American Airlines CEO Gerard Arpey with the company’s president, Thomas Horton. The airline says the move will help cut debt caused by high-jet fuel prices and labor problems. Travelers should not be affected for now, but the reorganization could lead to a reduced flight schedule and job cuts. American is the the third largest airline in the country and is the first major airline to file for bankruptcy since Delta in 2005. Read More: NY1

City might close Cypress Hills Collegiate Prep

Less than six years after opening its doors, a small school opened by Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration might be on its way to closure. Cypress Hills Collegiate Prep (CHCP), which shares space in the Franklin K. Lane building with three other schools on Jamaica Avenue in Brooklyn, received some bad news along with a “D” on its annual progress report – the city might move to close the school after only two graduating classes. Read More: Queens Courier

Iranian protesters storm British embassy

Dozens of hardline student protesters stormed the British Embassy and another British compound in Tehran Tuesday, destroying papers, reportedly setting the Union Jack flag afire and even carrying off a portrait of the Queen while staff fled to safety. Read More: New York Post

Richmond Hill family convicted of defrauding innocent victims

Three members of a Richmond Hill family have been convicted of defrauding 19 individuals, mostly members of the borough’s West Indies community, out of more than $1.8 million over a nearly six-year period by promising to assist them in obtaining “federally seized” properties in Florida and Queens at cheap prices or to assist them in gaining legal status in this country. Read More: Queens Courier

Dr. Conrad Murray gets 4 years in jail for Michael Jackson death
The disgraced doctor whose “medicine madness” killed Michael Jackson was sentenced to the maximum term of four years behind bars and a tongue-lashing Tuesday. Dr. Conrad Murray, 58, was branded a callous, reckless liar who violated his Hippocratic oath and left the King of Pop to die alone in his own bed by the judge. Read More: Daily News

Queens home sales & property values keep sliding at faster rate than rest of city
Queens homeowners are feeling the pain of the housing slump. The volume of home sales in the borough fell by 9% in the third quarter, compared with the same period last year, according to a report from NYU’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. The decline exceeded the drop in home sales citywide, which measured 4%. Queens also stood out when it came to declining property values. Prices in the borough have depreciated 30% from their peak levels, which were reached in the fourth quarter of 2006. Read More: Daily News

War of words between Flushing Councilman and Police Department

Antoinette Carona buried her only son on what would have been his 22nd birthday earlier this month. Carona has lived in a self-described “hell” as she waits for the killer of her son, Alex Botero, to be caught. Botero was shot execution style in an elevator of the James A. Bland Houses in Flushing on Halloween night. More than 40 residents of the Bland Houses and nearby Latimer Gardens attended a community meeting on Nov. 15 to express their concerns over safety in the area. But there was one very important element missing: The police. Not a single representative from the 109th Precinct attended, City Councilman Peter Koo said, sparking a war of words between the lawmaker and NYPD. Read More: Daily News

Civic group starts new push to get historic Forest Park Carousel landmark status 

Concerned about the fate of the Forest Park Carousel, which has been shuttered since 2008, civic leaders have launched a new effort to win the historic amusement landmark status. The city has been unable to find an operator for the hand-carved wooden carousel, crafted by Daniel Carl Muller more than 100 years ago. Read More: Daily News

 

ECCA toy run raises $14,000


| smosco@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Mike DiBartolomeo

They dug deep to give back, and one little girl stood out in the big-hearted crowd.

            On Sunday, November 13, 150 cars, motorcycles and trucks set out from Forest Park for the East Coast Car Association’s (ECCA) 13th annual toy run to benefit St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children.

            With donations of toys and much-needed supplies, this year’s toy run tallied $14,000 for the children of St. Mary’s.

            “We have a lot of followers who have stayed with us all these years and have helped us out,” said Lou Buglione, ECCA vice president.

            But this year one little girl truly gave from her heart.

            About a month ago seven-and-a-half-year-old Ashley LaRotonda of Ozone Park told her father she wanted to sell her jewelry.

            “We thought she’d buy something for herself,” said proud grandma Joanne Antongiovanni.

            But instead, Ashley, a second-grader at P.S. 207 in Howard Beach, decided to give the money – $50 – to the ECCA and the children of St. Mary’s.

            According to Joanne, Ashley has been an honorary member of the ECCA since she was four, since her grandfather James, who has a 1938 Packard, brought her to her first toy run.

            “She always loved to help children and other people,” said grandma, who noted that when Ashley presented the check to the ECCA on stage, “she felt so good inside.”

            “She makes us smile,” said Joanne. “She is the apple of my husband’s eye.”

Queens’ Morning Roundup – 11/10/2011:Ex-Queens resident gets 20 years jail term in wife’s death


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Ex-Queens resident gets 20 years jail term in wife’s death

A former Queens resident has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for the choking death and dismemberment of his wife, whose parts were stuffed in a suitcase found by teenagers in a park almost a year later. Read More: Wall Street Journal

 

Tennis might come back to Forest Hills Stadium

A historic Queens stadium might once again serve up tennis. Reports have revealed the latest bid to save the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium is coming from Stadium Arts Alliance, a nonprofit that wants to redesign the site and convert it into a space for tennis, concerts, art shows and possibly minor league hockey. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Salmonella cases in NY linked to chicken livers

Dozens of people in New York have been sickened after eating kosher broiled chicken livers that were not fully cooked. Health officials say the liver contaminated with salmonella was manufactured by Schreiber Processing Corp. under the MealMart brand. They say 89 cases of foodborne illness have been linked to the product, including 56 in New York City and 33 in nine upstate counties. The Queens-based company is recalling the product. Read More: Wall Street Journal

 

Anti-Gang Forum in Elmhurst

Community leaders in Queens say that gangs are a growing influence on teens, so they got together Wednesday evening to give parents some tactical support to help their children. City Councilmember Julissa Ferraras, who organized the meeting, said that gang problem is getting worse and that they are recruiting in middle school and even in elementary schools. Read More: Fox News

 

Queens Residents Discuss Memories Of Flight 587 Crash Ahead Of 10th Anniversary

It may not look like it at first glance, but Queens’ Belle Harbor is where American Airlines Flight 587 went down. The only recognition is a small plaque that marks the spot, but the memory is still vivid for some. Read More: NY1

Bikers with big hearts


| amanning@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alana Manning. Thousands of bikers and onlookers gathered to donate to Jamaica’s Bernard Fineson Developmental Center during the annual Independent Bikers Toys for Tots toy run.

Motorcyclists got revved up for a good cause at the 31st Annual Independent Bikers Toys for Tots (IBTFT) toy run, which left from Forest Park and ended at the Creedmoor Center on Sunday, November 6.

Thousands of bikers and onlookers gathered to donate to Jamaica’s Bernard Fineson Developmental Center, which provides a wide variety of services to people with developmental disabilities and their families.

A live band pumped out classics like “Born to Be Wild” and “Brown Eyed Girl,” as men and women in leather walked around on their own or with their organizations — their Harleys and Yamahas gleaming in a cluster in the middle of the parking lot.

Brand-new toys that were packed in a large silver pick-up truck and the proceeds from the $20 bike fees will be donated to the Center.
Independent Bikers Toys for Tots is a non-profit organization that is most known for its annual toy run, which began with just 17 motorcycles. It is staffed completely by volunteers, and over 97 percent of every dollar raised goes to the Fineson Center residents.

Many of the riders, like Michael O’Dea, got in the spirit by donning Christmas-themed costumes. O’Dea, who got involved with IBTFT 12 years ago when he heard about it through a friend, sported a Santa suit. He says he does the toy run for that “one smile on any kid. I do it for even one kid who believes.”

While many of the riders have been participating for years, for some this is their first toy run.

Bob Morrone, who has been motorcycle riding since 1971, decided to take part for the first time this year because, he says, it was a “beautiful day, a good event, a good charity.”

Runners raise funds for Forest Park


| ecamhi@queenscourier.com

Runners — both avid and amateur — came from all areas of Queens to compete in this year’s 5K race in Forest Park.

About 172 people raced on Sunday, October 2 to raise money for Forest Park Trust, Inc., which provides Forest Park with free educational, recreational and cultural events.

Joining the runners were scores of volunteers and spectators who cheered as each crossed the finish line. The race began and concluded in Victory Field Running Track, with check-points setup throughout the trail route. Professional scoring and assistance was provided by the Forest Park Runners Club.

Ricardo Cuahuizo, 23, of Elmhurst was the first to cross the finish line with a time of 17:04, while Francisco Martinez, 41, of Jackson Heights finished second with a time of 17:06. Jesus Bazan, 26, of Woodhaven finished third.

When asked about the win, Cuahuizo said he was “happy” that he did well and called Forest Park “his place” for daily training after he finishes his work day in the construction industry. Cuahuizo has been active in local races and finished first in the Mile Challenge held in Alley Pond Park this April and seventh in Forest Park’s 4-Mile Classic Road and Trail Run this May.

But the race attracted runners at all levels.

Allison Mintz, 37, of Forest Hills said she recently began participating in community races for pure enjoyment.

Frank Gallo, Forest Park Runners Club’s race director, was very pleased with the turnout and the cooperating weather. Gallo applauded the runners and also emphasized the crucial role volunteers play in orchestrating this and other race events.

“I told them, ‘You’re all special. There’s a reason why you do this. It’s something inside you that makes you feel good.’ If I don’t have the volunteers to place pointers or give out the water, it’s not happening,” he said.

Also part of the event was a Children’s Field Day, which took place in the middle of Victory Field before and during the race. Volunteers, many of whom were Forest Hills High School students, helped youngsters with a variety of activities like a 50-yard dash “Fun Run,” as well as life-size chess and checkers games.

For an official list of all winners of the 5K race,visitwww.nycgovparks.org orwww.forestparkrunners.org.

The next big race at Forest Park will be the 4-Mile Classic Road and Trail Run in May 2012.