Tag Archives: Parks Department

Pol red over lack of Greenstreets


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of the Department of Parks and Recreation

A state senator scolded the city for making changes to a green program that has left some turf in his district deserted.

Unused road areas have been turned into leafy green spaces since 1996, under the city Department of Parks and Recreation’s Greenstreets program, but now only pieces of land in flood-prone areas are being considered by the agency.

State Senator Tony Avella said the “abrupt” modifications to the program’s initiative has led the Parks Department to reject many requests made from northeast Queens residents who had hoped to have blights near their homes beautified.

“Unfortunately, with this new, restrictive criteria that [the Parks Department] has instituted, additional locations will be rejected,” Avella said, adding that he had secured several Greenstreets throughout his district, including ones along Francis Lewis Boulevard. “As a result, these locations continue to deteriorate and become blights in the neighborhood.”

But the program’s priorities now lie beyond surface-level aesthetics, according to the Parks Department, which in 2010 changed Greenstreets’ focus to capturing storm water, reducing the burden on the city’s sewer system. They are only now constructed where they are “absolutely necessary,” a spokesperson said.

More than 870 Queens spaces have been turned to Greenstreets, the Parks rep said, and more will be built after the agency secured additional funding from the city’s Department of Environmental Protection.

“We would welcome funding from Senator Avella to build additional Greenstreets in other areas,” the spokesperson said.

Idlewild Park set to get $3.5M education center


| mhayes@queenscourier.com


Idlewild Park is set to get revamped, adding a new, state-of-the-art 5,000-square-foot nature and education center.

The potential construction area in Idlewild is an “incredible resource,” according to Blake Middleton of the award-winning Handel Architects LLP. Middleton is the head designer for the new, $3.5 million facility, working with both the Eastern Queens Alliance (EQA) and the city Parks Department.

Handel Architects has worked on many well-known projects, such as the 9/11 Memorial and Manhattan’s Downtown Dream Hotel. The idea for a new facility in Idlewild was proposed in September 2010.

In a presentation to Community Board 13 on Monday, September 24, Middleton explained that the new structure was designed in a way that will allow it to work with the wetland environment, as requested by the EQA, including permeable pathways and rain gardens.

For several years, the EQA has been focusing a large part of its work on the “restoration and preservation of wetlands in Idlewild.” Furthermore, it has aimed to establish a salt marsh environmental science learning center.

Handel Architects has designed a structure to accommodate this, housing exhibition spaces, classrooms and administrative spaces.

The center will be naturally ventilated to minimize the amount of energy used. The facade of the building will be covered in a lattice screen of recycled plastic lumber, which is durable, requires no maintenance and is made from 100 percent recycled milk and water jugs.

“The idea is to treat the building as if it is a large filter,” said Middleton.

It is designed to be able to collect and channel rain water into two separate rain gardens at either end of the pavilion. This will filter the water, which will then be absorbed by the area’s native plants.

Designs have been approved by the Parks Department and also by Community Board 13; on Monday, October 1 they were presented to the NYC Public Design Commission.

Construction is scheduled to go to bid in late spring of next year, estimated to be completed in the following 12-14 months.

Once occupancy is permitted, the nature center anticipates community meetings, nature walks, field trips and more. Maintenance is assumed to be provided by grants, donations from benefactors, private investors and occasional fundraising.

Evergreen Park to be redesigned


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Billy Rennison

Adjacent to a school and with a kindergarten theme, a Ridgewood park’s redesign aims to combine learning with play.

The Department of Parks & Recreation presented plans to renovate Evergreen Park, next to P.S. 68 on St. Felix Avenue, to parents and residents on Monday, September 24.

“Now, there’s really nothing for small children to do,” said Steve Whitesell, landscape architect for the Parks Department.

The area of the 3.3 acre park that will undergo changes currently consists of bocce ball and shuffleboard courts that residents said were rarely used and desolate.

They will be replaced by a play area designed for 2 through 5 year olds. Whitesell designed the area based on the original German kindergarten — the idea of play as educational experience and learning in a garden, he said. The area will contain a telescope, a “Talking Bob,” which is an interactive game, and a music panel that will allow children to learn as they play.

A water play area will also be relocated and will be installed with water-saving measures. Shrubbery at the park will be partially watered through the retaining of rain and sprinkler runoff ensuring Evergreen will be a green park.

Funding for the playground comes from $1.1 million secured from the City Council by Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley.

The grounds were designed after meetings and input from the community.

This is only the first of several phases to completely revamp the park.

“Glendale and Ridgewood residents will soon see their tax dollars hard at work as the Parks Department transforms Evergreen Park into a beautiful oasis for the community,” said Crowley. “I have stressed the importance of capital investments since being elected, and I’m proud to have worked with Parks to move this project forward.”

Construction will take approximately a year and is planned to begin next summer.

Man’s threat to light self on fire locks down Flushing school


| mchan@queenscourier.com


A 75-year-old Asian man from Bayside is undergoing psychiatric evaluation after he threatened to douse himself with gasoline and light himself on fire in a Flushing park, police said.

The NYPD could not disclose the man’s name because of current medical testing, but said he took over a wooden tool shed in Kissena Park on Colden Street and Geranium Avenue on Tuesday, September 25 at around 12:21 p.m. and made threats to set himself ablaze.

The man had refused to eat for four days in protest, a police source said, although it was not clear what he was demonstrating. He had racked up a laundry list of complaints against him in the past, police said.

A nearby public school, The East-West School of International Studies, had to be locked down, a police source said, while the NYPD’s Hostage Negotiation Team and officers of the 109th Precinct moved in on the scene. The city’s Department of Education did not comment.

The man voluntarily surrendered to authorities and was taken, with no injuries, to Queens General Hospital for psychiatric evaluation, authorities said.

A Parks Department spokesperson said the man is a member of the Korean American Senior Citizens Society (KASCS). Members, the spokesperson said, are allowed to garden for free on “GreenThumb” public, city-owned community parklands like the Kissena Corridor Community Garden, now known as Evergreen Community Garden, in Kissena Park.

Sources on scene said the man’s distress stemmed from issues he had with the Parks land, but that could not be confirmed. The Parks spokesperson said the agency had not removed the man’s gardening privileges.

A league of their own: American Softball is all inclusive


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Terence Cullen

Everybody hits. Everybody runs the bases. Everybody has fun.

This is how Randy Novick from Howard Beach describes American Softball.

Every Saturday throughout the summer, Novick, along with counselors and mentally challenged people from five assisted-living homes met at a field in Kissena Park to get a chance to play softball. Five homes currently comprise the league: Little Flowers, YAI Network, Bernard Feinstein, Lifespire, and Services for the Underserved.

“They’re having the time of their lives,” Novick said. “Whoever comes down, plays. This way everyone’s included.”

On August 25, the last day of this year’s season, Novick, counselors, the participants and their friends from home celebrated before taking the field. While eating pizza and hero sandwiches, they talked with each other and asked if they were coming back next year.

“They love it very much,” said Cecilia Hewitt, a counselor at Little Flowers. “All week, as long as the season is in, they look forward to it.”

The league was started in 1998 as Acheivers of America by a friend of Novick’s who had a son that was mentally challenged and entering his 20s. Because there were no leagues for older people, Novick said, the man started the league. The founder moved to Florida in 2010, however, and the league fell dormant.

For the last two years, Novick said he got a number of calls from counselors asking when or if softball would start up again.

Novick tried this year but requests to the Parks Department were not answered by March. Finally, he went to State Senator Joseph Addabbo asking for help. Addabbo was able to secure Novick a field that was enclosed and adjacent to a bathroom, which Novick and counselors said was the ideal location to play.

Addabbo said it was a pleasure for himself and his staff to help Novick with some of the work load to get the league running.

“It’s not easy to run a league, provide some sort of recreational activity, and work with the Parks Department, so it was our pleasure in providing a recreational activity for them,” he said.

Despite ranging from 15 to 45 players a game, Novick said he expects the league to grow next year — by getting an earlier start organizing it and branching out to more homes. He went on to say he would like to see it grow into a city or statewide organization.

“I want to expand this in all the boroughs and hopefully New York State,” he said. “You have Special Olympics once a year for a week, but other than that there’s no league like this.”

Timers will save thousands of gallons of water at city parks


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Billy Rennison

On most cool, rainy days throughout the summer, city sprinklers run continuously, pouring thousands of gallons of water — and money — down the drain.

But a joint project between the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Department of Parks and Recreation is looking to put an end to this water waste through timed spray showers at city parks.

Timers installed on spray showers at two Queens playgrounds, Glendale and Maple, will save more than 5,000 gallons of water a day at each. An activation button was placed next to the showers at the parks, providing two minutes of water. If kids are still playing when the water stops, someone just needs to press the button again to continue the water.

“We’re working together to make a cleaner and greener and healthier city that also happens to save money,” said Adrian Benepe, Parks Department commissioner. “As a world community we have to be much more responsible about managing our water resources.”

The new initiative — part of the Water for the Future program — was announced at Glendale Playground on Thursday, August 9. The DEP’s program aims to reduce the city’s water consumption by five percent.

Before the timer was installed, showers ran nonstop, using about 7,000 gallons of water per day. The DEP expects the new plan will save about 80 percent (5,600 gallons) of the wasted water each day. Over the next year, 23 more will be installed, and by 2017 more than 400 will be in place in the five boroughs — saving 1.5 million gallons of water daily.

“NYC water is one of the city’s most precious resources, and it’s important that we conserve it wherever we can while also enhancing opportunities for New Yorkers to enjoy water outdoors,” said Carter Strickland, commissioner of the DEP.

Shifa Lalani, 9, of Middle Village, one of the dozens of kids from the Lost Battalion Hall enjoying the spray showers at Glendale Park, agreed conserving water was vital.

“People need water to drink and to survive,” she said.

 

Agreement breathes new life into Jamaica Bay


| brennison@queenscourier.com


Jamaica Bay, which has long been a medley of city, state and federal land, will now have thousands of acres of parkland jointly managed by the National Park Service and the New York City Parks Department.

The two agencies reached an agreement to maintain 10,000 acres of Jamaica Bay to “promote visitation, education programs, scientific research and recreational opportunities.”

“This is an important example of the great things that can happen when different levels of government work together and are supported by philanthropic organizations,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “This agreement fulfills important goals included our plans to make our city more sustainable and to enhance our waterfront.”

Goals for the collectively administered project include improved recreation spaces, including more camping and boating opportunities; integrated land and water trail systems; ensuring public transportation and access to and within Jamaica Bay; and new experiential activities, including public transit, pedestrian, bicycle and ferry access.

As part of the project, the city and National Park Service released a request for expressions of interest for a university, academic partner or science-focused organization to manage an intensive research program focused on the restoration of the bay, including potentially creating a new science and resilience center to coordinate and bolster research efforts.

$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.

Little Bay Park comfort station back on track


| mchan@queenscourier.com

DSC_0089w

Long-delayed plans to construct a comfort station at Bayside’s Little Bay Park are back on track after seven years of derailment, officials said.

The bidding process for the capital project has begun and will last until July 31, said a spokesperson for the city’s Parks Department. While the spokesperson said a construction time line will only be available after all bids are received and evaluated, State Senator Tony Avella said he expects shovels to hit the ground by the end of the year.

“After years of bureaucratic delays, I am pleased that this project is finally moving forward,” Avella said. “It is a real shame that a great park like Little Bay Park, which has what I consider the best dog run in the entire city, does not have a comfort station.”

The senator rallied with Bayside community activists and residents last November to urge the Parks Department to begin the revitalization project. Avella, who previously allocated funding for a dog run in the park, apportioned $1.3 million for the public restrooms seven years ago at the same time Congressmember Gary Ackerman secured a $4.1 million federal transportation allocation to reconstruct and expand the Little Bay parking lot and rebuild the Cross Island Parkway bridge overpass at 212th Street.

Neither project has commenced, and three port-a-potties are currently stationed in the park.

The project came to a pause after funding provided by the state’s Department of Transportation required additional review and time for comments, a Parks spokesperson said. The site’s coastal wetland location and the need for new sewer connections also called for the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation and city’s Department of Environmental Protection to provide approvals on design and construction documents. The agency said the funding was secure and had not been reallocated.

Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance, suspected the project slowed to a halt after the Parks Department bundled the $5.42 million in city and federal funds together — a move he said was “not a good business procedure.”

“For some reason, everything seemed to come to a stop,” he said. “I don’t think there was any wrongdoing or corruption in handling the funds. It just wasn’t handled properly.”

But a Parks spokesperson said combining city and federal grants was not unusual when funding municipal capital projects.

Schreiber also pushed for the agency to make Requests for Proposals available to the public to see if any changes have been made to the seven-year-old plan.

“It could still be at least another 18 months before we actually get to use the comfort station at that location,” he said.

— Additional reporting by Michael Pantelidis

Little Neck neighbors want problem tree removed


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Neighbors in Little Neck say a rotted tree rooted on a popular pathway is on its last leg and poses a danger to pedestrians passing beneath its falling limbs.

“I walk on the street. I’m so afraid of walking under this tree that I make a detour,” said Vicky Cosgrove, 61, pointing to a problematic maple at 48-03 Marathon Parkway. “It’s very dangerous.”

According to Cosgrove, the tree is hollow inside and has a number of dying or already dead branches, especially on one long arm that looms over her neighbor’s front yard, where a three year old often plays. The threatening timber, Cosgrove said, is also situated on a sidewalk where many J.H.S. 67 students venture to and from the school located less than half a mile away.

“I’d hate to see a branch come down and kill a kid,” she said. “It’s ridiculous.”

Nahid Neysani, 56, who lives in the house in front of the tree, said it was once flanked by two other trees of the same poor condition. They were removed, she said, after a few branches came down on her fence and made noticeable dents.

Still, she said she was told by the city the last tree standing on her street was not a problem.

“They’re not rushing anything,” she said. “If we have crazy wind or storms, maybe the branches will break.”

Cosgrove said she filed multiple reports to 3-1-1 and even placed calls to higher ups in the Parks Department out of frustration, although her efforts were in vain. According to a recent 3-1-1 inspection report dated June 6 of this year, the Department of Parks and Recreation inspected the tree “but the condition was not found.” The service request was also listed “closed” with no planned further updates.

“I’m no arborist, but to say this tree was inspected and no conditions were found — I don’t believe them,” Cosgrove said. “Are they blind? I was livid. Nothing gets done with the city. They tell us, ‘If you see something, say something.’ When we do, we are treated with contempt.”

But the agency changed its tune soon after The Courier reached out for more information at the end of June.

A Parks Department spokesperson said after the city tree was inspected last week, it was determined to be “in poor health” and will be removed within the next 30 days. The tree will not be felled immediately though, the spokesperson said, because it is still alive and not split.

“I’m a tree hugger. I love trees, but you have to maintain them,” Cosgrove said. “Sure, you can’t help everything. If a tornado came tomorrow and a tree hit you on the head, some things can’t be helped. But this is an accident waiting to happen.”

City trees are inspected and pruned on a block-by-block basis in a portion of each community board every year, a Parks spokesperson said.

 

Fight for more park land in Maspeth


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Billy Rennison

As the search for a new home for St. Saviour’s Church continues, officials are looking into turning the former site into a park — possibly through the use of Eminent Domain.

A warehouse currently sits on a corner of the one-and-a-half acre plot in Maspeth, which is owned by Maspeth Development, while the rest of the land remains undeveloped.

“It is a complete slap in the face that we have to stand here now and see this monstrosity,” said Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates.

Calls to the Maspeth Development went unreturned.
Plans for a park on 58th Street have been in the works since St. Saviour’s was removed in 2008, but each attempt to purchase the property has failed.

A Parks Department spokesperson said the agency is not looking to acquire the property at this time.

“We would be happy to examine any other suggested property acquisitions in the Maspeth community,” the spokesperson said.

“This community desperately needs more park space, and that’s not just a subjective feeling of people in the neighborhood, it’s a mathematical reality,” said Assemblymember Rory Lancman at a June 14 press conference with local leaders at the former site of St. Saviour’s.

The Parks Department said the goal is to ensure all New Yorkers live within a 10-minute walk of a park.

“Maspeth needs 88 acres of park land and they only have 12, do the math,” said Lorraine Scuilli, vice president of the Juniper Park Civic Association. “This should be a park any way we can get it.”

One of the ways to get the land for a park would be Eminent Domain, which was used just blocks away from the St. Saviour’s site for the reconstruction of the Kosciuszko Bridge.

If the land is secured, rebuilding the church, which currently sits in two trailers a few blocks away from the site, is a possibility. St. Saviour’s was deconstructed in 2008 after an attempt to landmark the church failed and the property was sold.

Janice Melnick named head of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park


| brennison@queenscourier.com

doc4c643d675fc18993931697

Janice Melnick is excited about the challenge and potential of taking over Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

Since former Flushing Meadows-Corona Park administrator Estelle Cooper retired in January, Melnick had held the job in the interim, but now has officially taken over the job.

This is not the first time Melnick, who has worked at the Parks Department for 29 years, has come across Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. From 1990-96, she was the chief of stadia, which included overseeing Shea Stadium and the tennis center in the park.

There are countless opportunities for what Melnick called Queens’ “flagship park,” she said.

“We need to talk to the community and see what they’re interested in, what they want and provide those activities,” she said. “It’s a large park, but its still a community park.”

Prior to being named administrator of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Melnick worked as the northeast Queens administrator for eight years.

“I really look forward to the challenge; it deserves love and attention,” she said.

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.

 

Homeowners get free tree help


| chudson@queenscourier.com

Tree Sidewalks Photow

Thanks to a $1.1 million grant from Councilmember Eric Ulrich, 317 people are going to get brand new sidewalks for free.

The Trees and Sidewalks program, started in 2005 by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, repairs sidewalks throughout the city that have been damaged by overgrown tree roots. The Parks Department will be focusing its repair efforts on 317 sites throughout Ulrich’s district, thanks to the grant he provided.

Owners of one-, two- and three-family dwellings are eligible for repair assistance under the program. Homeowners can call 3-1-1 to request an inspection of sidewalk damage by a Parks Department forester.

In 2009 testimony before the city council, N.Y.C. Assistant Commissioner for Forestry and Horticulture Fiona Watts explained how sidewalk damage is assessed.

“Inspectors quantify the damage to the sidewalk at each site by rating the site according to a number of criteria. These criteria include vertical lift, number of damaged flagstones, the volume of pedestrian usage, passable sidewalk width, and the condition of the tree.”

Damage is graded from 1 to 100, with repairs slated for areas scoring over 60, “based on available funding.” Unfortunately, once funds are exhausted, homeowners can be left with sidewalks in a state that is equal parts headache and hazard.

“[Homeowners have] been waiting on a list for a number of years to get their sidewalks fixed through the program,” Ulrich explained. “In the meantime, it’s been a tripping hazard, it’s a liability for them and if they have to pay for it on their own, it could be $1,000 or more to repair.”

Thanks to the funding from Ulrich’s office, work has already begun at designated locations, which were all scored at 65 or higher or the Parks Department damage scale. Ulrich estimates that all repairs could be completed within eight weeks.

 

A flourishing future for Queens parks


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Lewandowski(cropped)w

BY DOROTHY LEWANDOWSKI

Under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Borough President Helen Marshall and all of our Queens elected officials, we are continuing to benefit from the largest period of park renovation and expansion since the 1930s. Over the past decade, almost half a billion dollars has been allocated for more than 600 upcoming and completed projects in Queens parks.

We work hard to listen to and include all the communities of Queens in what we do at NYC Parks, and we’d like to share with you a look back and a look ahead as the new year begins.

This past summer’s opening of Rockaway Beach brought sand, surf, and sun, but also tacos, spring rolls, smoothies, arepas and more, thanks to an international menu from a slate of new vendors.

Those looking for something a little more active than a day at the beach were able to play cricket on the new grass cricket fields at Jamaica’s Baisley Pond Park, practice their backhand at the restored Forest Park and Astoria Park tennis courts or row around Meadow Lake, thanks to the new boat launch and restored boathouse at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

And Queens kids were able to climb, run and slide into new playgrounds at Middle Village’s Juniper Valley Park and Springfield Garden’s Montbellier Park. These 21st-century playgrounds feature challenging equipment and themed designs guaranteed to entertain even the most seasoned playground-goer.

As part of the mayor’s PlaNYC program, we’re making New York a more sustainable and livable city. One of PlaNYC’s goals has been to take advantage of existing, underutilized space and improve it for additional use. Last June, we took a space that was once blighted by giant, unused gas tanks, visible from the highway, and opened Elmhurst Park – six acres of rolling hills, expansive lawns and innovative playground equipment.

Another of the initiatives under the PlaNYC program has been to improve schoolyards and open them after school hours and on weekends for public use. Last year, we opened the city’s 200th such site when we cut the ribbon on Jackson Heights’ P.S. 69. In total, 52 Queens schoolyards have already been opened, and an additional eight are currently being improved.

Queens was particularly hard hit by the 2010 tornado and last year’s many storms, so recent Queens plantings targeted Forest Hills, Rego Park, and other communities that lost trees during these storms. As you may know, the goal of MillionTreesNYC is to plant one million trees on NYC’s streets and in our parks by 2017. Last year we reached the halfway mark, planting our 500,000th tree, including more than 120,000 new trees in Queens.

I would like to thank all of our Queens partners and elected officials who have – through advocacy, special events, and funding – “adopted” Queens’ parks as their own, and made 2011’s improvements possible.

And we’re always on the lookout for new volunteers to help keep Queens’ parks clean, green and beautiful. If you want more information about volunteer opportunities visit nyc.gov/parks.

We’re working for a greener, cleaner 2012, and look forward to seeing you in the beautiful parks of Queens!

Dorothy Lewandowski is the Parks Department’s Queens Borough Commissioner.