Tag Archives: NYC Department of Parks and Recreation

Parks Dept. hosts snow activities in Juniper Valley Park


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

The first snowstorm of the new year was every child’s dream. It gave youngsters an extra vacation day from school and a snowy wonderland where they could play.

The Parks Department hosted free activities in Juniper Valley Park in Middle Village on Saturday, courtesy of massive amounts of snow from Winter Storm Hercules, to which hundreds of children and parents took advantage.

The recreation division of the city agency provided free sleds, hot chocolate, snow shoeing and music for children to enjoy the snow in the park.

“It’s vital to the community to have open spaces where they can come out, play sports, relax, make friends and socialize,” said Liam Kavanagh, first deputy commissioner of the Parks Department. “We want them to do it year round. Snow days encourage people to come out climb those hills, slide down, and come out in the winter time when they might not otherwise be in the park.”

It’s an annual event that the recreation division tries to sponsor on the first sighting of large snow storms.

The Parks Department holds the free activities at just five parks around the city, one from each borough. They chose Juniper because the hilly environment provides a great bunny slope for children, but there also weren’t impediments.

“They don’t have good hills in those locations,” said Iris Rodriguez-Rosa, Queens’ chief of recreation for Parks. “Although it’s fun we want the kids to do it in a location that is safe.”

While the massive amount of snow dropped on the city shut down streets, and made for hellish commutes for some, for others the snow was excellent winter fun.

“It’s absolutely wonderful, it makes the whole day wonderful for the kids,” said Jennifer Suffel, a Middle Village resident. “I think its a great part of our community and I would hate to see it stop. its good clean fun the kids should be having.”

 

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‘Snow day’ at Juniper Valley Park Saturday


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File Photo

Updated 4:00 p.m.

Just because Mother Nature has dropped a few inches of snow, doesn’t mean you can’t put on your snow boots, get the sled and, go out and have some fun.

Keeping in mind to stay safe and bundle up, the Department of Parks and Recreation has declared an official snow day for Saturday, January 4 at five parks across the city. The snow day will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In Queens, the Parks Department will hold a snow day at Juniper Valley Park, at 78th Street and Juniper Valley North in Middle Village. During the snow day, free organized activities include supervised safe sledding, snowman building contests, best snow angel contests, friendly snowball fights, music, and complimentary hot chocolate.

For more information, please call 311 or visit the Parks Department website for updates.

Even though Juniper Park will be the only park in the borough to include free activities in the case of a snow day, here are other local parks you can visit for some fun in the snow and suggestions for sledding spots, courtesy of the city’s Parks Department. But remember to stay warm and be safe!

Astoria Park, Astoria, 19th Street between Shore Boulevard off Ditmars Boulevard

Bowne Park, Flushing, Small hillside on the 155th Street side of the park

Cunningham Park, Oakland Gardens

Crocheron Park, Bayside, 35th Avenue opposite Golden Pond

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

Forest Park, Mary Whelan Playground at 79th Street and Park Lane South

Hermon A. Macneil Park, College Point

lower Highland Park, Jamaica Avenue & Elton Street

Kissena Park, Flushing, Eastside of Lake: enter Metcalf and 164th Street

 

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Police arrest a Queens Parks Department manager for sexual abuse of a minor


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Rene Herrera

A Woodhaven resident and long-time Parks Department employee was arrested on Sunday and charged with three counts of sexual abuse of an underage family member, stemming from his alleged actions five years ago.

Rene Herrera, 57, who oversees such green spaces as Juniper Valley Park, sexually abused an 11-year-old female relative on three separate occasions in 2008, cops said.

The mother of the girl, who is now 16, reported the incidents to the police on Saturday, December 28. Police have not released specific details of the alleged abuse.

Herrera has worked with the Parks Department for about 25 years, according to the Juniper Park Civic Association (JPCA), and became a regional manager in 2002. He is married and has three children.

People that worked with Herrera said that he is a good person.

“I’ve worked with him on many projects. I’ve known him for a long time, he’s a team player,” said Simcha Waisman, vice president of the Richmond Hill Block Association. “From 2008 to now? Something is wrong with that.”

And Herrera has been very helpful and reliable in managing the parks in his districts, according to JPCA.

“He has been efficient and responsive to any issues we may have, always attempting to solve any problems that are reported to him,” said Lorraine Sciulli of JPCA. “He is readily available by phone if we have the need to get in touch with him quickly. He has always been cooperative and helpful to the JPCA.”

Herrera has been suspended without pay, according to a Parks Department spokesperson.

 

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Christmas tree collection to begin today


| brennison@queenscourier.com


The presents have been opened, the stockings unstuffed and the time is coming to take down the decorations and dispose of your Christmas tree.

Beginning Wednesday, January 2, the Department of Sanitation will collect the Christmas trees that have been placed curbside.  All trees should be removed of tinsel, lights, ornaments and stands. The program will run through Saturday, January 12.

The trees must not be placed into plastic bags.

The trees will be chipped and turned into compost and spread throughout the city in parks, ball fields and community gardens. More than 140,000 are “tree-cycled” each year.

“The department is very pleased to offer this special recycling service.  Providing collection and recycling options for residents is environmentally valuable and benefits our neighborhoods,” said Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty.

The city’s Parks & Recreation Department will also hold a Mulchfest on Saturday, January 12 and Sunday, January 13. Residents can bring their trees to one of the 80 designated locations around the city — 11 in Queens — for mulching. New Yorkers who drop their tree off at the event will also be able to pick up free mulch.

For more information on Christmas tree collection and recycling and/or Mulchfest 2013, visit www.nyc.gov/sanitation, www.nycgovparks.org or call 3-1-1.

Here is a list of Queens Mulchfest locations:

Astoria Park* (19th Street & Hoyt Avenue)

Brookville Park* (Brookville Boulevard between 144th Avenue & Caney Road)

Cunningham Park* (Visitor Parking Lot & 196th Street)

Forest Park Bandshell* (Forest Park Drive, west of Woodhaven Boulevard)

Juniper Valley Park* (80th Street between Juniper Boulevards North & South)

Kissena Park (164th Street at Underhill Avenue)

Land Restoration Project Compound* (Queens Plaza South & 10th Street)

Oakland Gardens/Playground 203* (Springfield Boulevard at 56th Avenue)

Rockaway Beach (Shore Front Parkway & Beach 94th Street)

Roy Wilkins Park (Park entrance at Merrick and Foch Boulevards)

Travers Park* (78th Street at 34th Avenue)

* Free mulch will be provided

Free summer activities in Queens parks


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

In addition to outdoor movies and SummerStage performing arts events, the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation offers other free activities in Queens parks this summer.

July 30

Fort Totten Park

Fit Walk (Step Out)
9:00 a.m.
“Join us for a free fitness walking program for adults at Fort Totten Park!”

Mommy, Music, & Me
10:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
“Enjoy music and movement activities for children under 7 years old, and the adults that want to play with them. We will also do a musical craft project with the kids.”

August 1

Alley Pond Park

A Morning of Music with Darlene Graham
10:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
“This interactive and exciting performance features energetic folk music and remixes of familiar children’s songs that will have everyone singing and dancing along.”

Highland Park

Latin Night featuring Mikata
7:00 p.m.
“Join us for an evening of Bachata and Merengue featuring Mikata.”

August 2

Forest Park

Swing Sabroso
7:30 p.m.
“Dance along to the rhythmic sounds of Salsa.”

Astoria Park Lawn

Waterfront Concert Series 2012
7:30 p.m.–9:00 p.m.

August 3

Flushing Meadows Corona Park (Queens Museum of Art)
Summer Movies in NYC: Fire in Babylon
6:30 p.m.
“Join Rooftop Films on the lawn at the Queens Museum of Art for a night of live music.”

August 4

Alley Pond Park (Adventure Center)

Invasive Removal at Alley Pond Park, Queens
9:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
“Join us as we remove invasive from several reforestation plantings in Alley Pond Park, Queens. Please come help take care of our young forest, learn about restoration efforts across the city, and make a positive impact! Volunteers should come dressed in closed-toe shoes, long pants and clothing that can get dirty. No registration required.”

Idlewild Park

Advanced Canoeing
11:00 a.m.
“Our trained Urban Park Rangers will lead you on canoe adventures that range from the gentle waters of protected lakes, to the challenging open waters of rivers and bays. On an Urban Park Ranger canoe program, you can go from novice to expert in one just one summer! Children 8 years old and up are welcome.”

August 5

Forest Park

Fitness Hike (Vigorous)
1:00 p.m.
“Hiking is the ultimate way to enjoy the outdoors and reduce stress. Regardless of the intensity level, it is a great way to burn calories and stay fit. Our Urban Park Ranger hiking guides will introduce you to the hidden gems of New York City and places often off limits to the general public. On our hikes, you may explore nature, discover our City’s rich history and diverse culture, or just unplug form the world to clear your head.”

August 8

Crocheron Park (Buz O’ Rourke Playground)

Magic and Comedy of Jim McClenahan
10:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
“Join us for the colorful and zany comedy with a magical twist that will bring giggles from children and adults.”

August 9

Forest Park

Zumba
5:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.
“Enjoy this new fitness craze and make new friends! All are invited – no age limit or skill required – just enjoy the outdoors and be fit!”

Stayin’ Alive
7:30 p.m.
“Come join us and enjoy a musical tribute to the Bee Gees.”

August 10

Grover Cleveland Park

Dancing Under the Stars
5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.
“Come join us for an evening of music, face painting for children, a raffle drawing and Latin dance instruction under the stars!”

August 11

Wayanda Park

Family Day
12:00p.m- 4:00p.m.
“Children of all ages can participate in a free afternoon of crafts, games, music, inflatables, pony rides and more!”

Rufus King Park

Hands-on History: A Barn Full of Animals
12:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.
“Rufus had all sorts of animals on this farm! Learn about the different animals that used to live at King Park. Bring your favorite stuffed animal and enjoy making a special craft for your animal!”

Cunningham Park

Family Camping
6:00 p.m.
“The Urban Park Rangers celebrate the tradition of camping throughout the spring and summer, and we look forward to welcoming your family!”

August 16

Forest Park

Wondrous Stories
7:30 p.m.
“Enjoy an evening of rock’s most time tested music from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.”

August 18

Fort Totten Park

Historic New York Walking Tour: Fort Totten
1:00 p.m.
“Urban Park Rangers specialize in interpretation of historic turning points, both natural and man-made, in our city’s long history.”

August 19

Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Basic Canoeing
11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
“Our trained Urban Park Rangers will lead you on canoe adventures that range from the gentle waters of protected lakes, to the challenging open waters of rivers and bays. On an Urban Park Ranger canoe program, you can go from novice to expert in just one summer!”

August 26

Cunningham Park

Biking
11:00 a.m.
“Our Urban Park Ranger cycling guides will introduce you to some of the most famous parks in the world. Enjoy breathtaking views, public artwork, landscape design and an abundance of wildlife.”

September 2

Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Hiking
10:00 a.m.
“Hiking is the ultimate way to enjoy the outdoors and reduce stress. Regardless of the intensity level, it is a great way to burn calories and stay fit. Our Urban Park Ranger hiking guides will introduce you to the hidden gems of New York City and places often off limits to the general public. On our hikes, you may explore nature, discover our City’s rich history and diverse culture, or just unplug form the world to clear your head.”

Christmas Tree Collection to Begin January 3


| brennison@queenscourier.com


After the presents have been unwrapped, the stockings unstuffed and the new year has passed, comes the time to take down the decorations and discard the Christmas tree.

Beginning Tuesday, January 3, the Department of Sanitation will collect the curbside Christmas trees that should be removed of tinsel, lights, ornaments and stands.  The program will run through Saturday, January 14.

The trees must not be placed into plastic bags.

The trees will be chipped and turned into compost and spread throughout the city in parks, ball fields and community gardens.  Compost is a natural fertilizer and is a soil enrichment that promotes the growth of plants and grass.

“The department is very pleased to offer this special recycling service.  Providing collection and recycling options for residents is environmentally valuable and benefits our neighborhoods,” said Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty.

The city’s Parks & Recreation Department will also hold a Mulchfest on Saturday, January 7 and Sunday, January 8.  Residents can bring their trees to one of the 70 designated locations around the city — 10 in Queens — for mulching.  New Yorkers who drop their tree off at the event will also be able to pick up free mulch.

For more information on Christmas tree collection and recycling and/or Mulchfest 2012, visit www.nyc.gov/sanitation or www.nyc.gov/parks or call 3-1-1.

Here is a list of Queens Mulchfest locations:

  • Astoria Park* (19th Street & Hoyt Avenue)
  • Brookville Park* (Brookville Boulevard between 144th Avenue & Caney Road)
  • Cunningham Park* (Visitor Parking Lot & 196th Street)
  • Forest Park Bandshell* (Forest Park Drive, west of Woodhaven Boulevard)
  • Juniper Valley Park* (80th Street between Juniper Boulevards North & South)
  • Kissena Park (Sunday Only*) (164th Street at Underhill Avenue)
  • Land Restoration Project Compound* (Queens Plaza South & 10th Street)
  • Rockaway Beach (Shore Front Parkway & Beach 94th Street)
  • Roy Wilkins Park (Park entrance at Merrick and Foch Boulevards)
  • Travers Park* (78th Street at 34th Avenue)

* Free mulch will be provided

Ozone Park couple says unstable tree unsafe


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of The Queens Courier

Hurricane Irene may be a thing of the past, but one Ozone Park couple says they live in constant fear of what the summer storm left behind.

David and Lillian Hughes told The Courier that they’re worried a strong wind may topple an 80-foot unstable tree outside their home on 107th Street.

“The tree is very large, and it’s going to fall at one point when the wind hits it in the right way. We don’t know when that’s going to happen, and we’re worried,” David said. “If that tree comes into the house, it’s going to smash the whole house. It could cave in and kill somebody.”

Residents since 1980, David, 62, and his wife Lillian, 55, first noticed that the tree was unsteady immediately after Hurricane Irene. David called 9-1-1 and was told it was not an emergency. He then called 3-1-1 several times and reported the situation to the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.

“The curb cracked, and I actually saw it going up and down about two inches. The dirt around the tree was also going up and down at the same time. The entire tree — the roots, the trunk, and the branches — was wobbling and swaying back and forth toward the street and toward my house. I got alarmed because I thought that at any second the tree could collapse,” he said.

David said that if the tree fell, it would either fall onto their house or go the other direction and knock out the power lines across the street.

He said he’s reached out to the police, to the Parks Department, to Assemblymember Michael Miller, and now to the press. But despite constantly being vigilant in the matter, David said he’s reached a dead end.

“Almost two months have gone by now, and nothing has been done. I don’t want to live like this,” he said. “I know I can’t legally try to take down the tree myself, so I can’t do anything about it. On the other hand, if the Parks Department doesn’t do anything, what am I supposed to do — wait until the tree falls and then say ‘Well, I told you so?’ That’s kind of a backwards way of doing things.”

The Parks Department said the Hughes family last filed a report on August 28. The tree was deemed healthy following an inspection on August 31, according to spokesperson Trish Bertuccio.

Bertuccio said the tree could be checked again, but the Hughes would have to file a formal request.

“It looks healthy, but the fact of the matter is the root system is not healthy. It’s not strong enough to hold the tree up,” David said. “It’s not a question of the tree itself. It’s a question of the root system that supports the tree. I can’t X-ray the ground, but these are the facts that make the difference. I pray something is done before it’s too late.”

Neighbor Francisco Rivera said he witnessed the tree swaying after Hurricane Irene and is aware of the possible danger.

“It’s already moving,” he said. “If another wind is strong enough, who knows what kind of damage can be done — and then what? Everybody is going to feel sorry.”