Tag Archives: p.s. 20

Flushing’s Bowne Playground to be redone

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the NYC Parks Department

The Bowne Playground adjacent to P.S. 20 in Flushing is set to receive a multimillion-dollar renovation that will see the layout of the park completely updated and reimagined.

The design has been internally approved by the Parks Department, and is now going through the process of receiving comments and approval from external regulatory agencies after Community Board 7 voted Monday in favor of approving the project.

The Bowne Playground occupies 1.28 acres at Union Street between Barclay Avenue and Sanford Avenue. It is utilized by both neighborhood families and students at P.S. 20, which has an enrollment of around 1,400.

The renovation aims to create new park amenities and increase play opportunities for children of all ages, as well as upgrade existing features and create community space with flexible uses. The estimated end date for the project is set for 2017.

The new design will change the layout of the park to divide the area into several different sections for different activities and age groups. Currently, the playground contains a play area, a swing set, and basketball and handball courts that surround a multiuse paved space in the center of the playground.

The worn and cracked asphalt will be replaced, and two new play areas and swing sets for different age groups will be installed. The ball courts will remain, and new areas will be added, including a group of game tables, a space with adult fitness equipment, and an open area for community gatherings and events.

One of noticeable changes will be a new 4-foot wrought-iron exterior fence replacing the 12- and 16-foot chain-link fencing that currently encircles the playground’s perimeter. This switch was initially met with contention by some members of the community board who feared that lower barriers may pose a higher risk to children who might try to climb into the park and fall, or that teenagers might climb over in the nighttime after park hours.

Joanne Amagrande-Savarese, chief of staff to the Queens Parks Department commissioner, said that the department did not anticipate having problems with children climbing over the fences because it would be easy to get in through other entryways into the area. She added that in recent years the department has been trying make parks look less enclosed and more open to the community, and have largely been lowering the height of park fences to a four-foot standard in order to achieve this goal.

“What we’re trying to do right now is make our parks more inviting and more accessible,” said Amagrande-Savarese.

In addition to the new fences, the new playground will also be significantly greener, with twice as much permeable surface area to collect stormwater. There are currently trees only around the perimeter of the playground, and the new design will significantly increase the tree count to add more shade and differentiate between different areas of the park.


Korean interpreter filling out ballots in Flushing, poll worker alleges

| mchan@queenscourier.com


A Korean-American interpreter was allegedly expelled from a Flushing poll site this afternoon after he was caught filling out ballots for voters, a poll watcher said.

The Board of Elections (BOE) interpreter — who was identified as a man in his 60s named Sang — allegedly told some Korean-speaking locals at P.S. 20 to cast their votes for President Barack Obama and other Democratic candidates in statewide elections, including Korean Assembly hopeful Ron Kim.

The poll site worker also allegedly filled out ballots for some voters, pushing a Democratic slate, sources claim.

“The interpreter told the voter, ‘Hey, because you’re Korean, you want to vote for Obama and Ron Kim and down the line, all Democrats,’” said poll watcher Daniel Baek.

Baek, 30, said the man told Korean voters to come to his table for language assistance. He had assisted 51 people from 6 a.m. to around 2 p.m., Baek said, pointing to records.

“I don’t know how many of those voters are tainted,” Baek said. “He actually darkened the circle on behalf of the voters. I couldn’t afford to let him do that to more voters.”

Baek said he contacted his headquarters, which then contacted the BOE. A BOE coordinator then allegedly asked the man to pack up and leave shortly before 2 p.m., he said.

BOE officials did not immediately confirm the misconduct, which Baek said is still occurring at several other poll sites in Flushing, including St. Mary’s Nativity Church.

“I don’t think it matters if you’re a Democrat or Republican. Voter fraud is a terrible thing,” said Kevin Ryan, spokesperson for Republican Councilmember Dan Halloran, who is running for Congress and is also on the ballot at P.S. 20. “This is not something we want to mess around with, and it’s not to be tolerated.”

Phil Gim, the Republican contender challenging Kim, called on the BOE to fully investigate the matter.

“There is nothing more important than maintaining the integrity of our election process. The people of our community have a right to an election free from illegal manipulation,” Gim said. “The citizens of our [district] cannot have confidence in their elected officials if the manner in which they are elected is in any doubt.”