Tag Archives: Playground

P.S./I.S. 78 in LIC finally welcomes new playground

| amatua@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angela Matua

Students, faculty and elected officials gathered in front of the early childhood center at P.S./I.S. 78 in Long Island City on Friday to celebrate the opening of a new playground for pre-K, kindergarten and first grade students.

The playground, which took five and a half years to make a reality, will act as an alternative site to Gantry Plaza State Park. Students were previously escorted to the state park across the street, but some parents were concerned about their children crossing Center Boulevard.

Residents have continuously rallied for crosswalks and stop signs along the boulevard to curb the increasing number of cars and pedestrians traversing the area.

“Someone asked me why it was so important to have this space when there’s a park right across the street,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “It’s true that we have a park right across the street, but that street is one of the most dangerous streets that we have and why should the children, 4- and 5-year-olds from this school, have to cross this street to get to a playground? They shouldn’t have to.”

Van Bramer secured $350,000 for the construction of the playground and, with the help of Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan and School Construction Authority President and CEO Lorraine Grillo, was able to resolve a dispute over who owned the property. Citylights is the official property owner.

Students from the middle school were invited to explore the new playground and quickly gravitated toward the many features after the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Acadia Helfand, 10, knows that the playground is for younger children but is hopeful that fifth-graders will get a chance to enjoy the park as well.

“I hope that on some days we can come in and just hang out and play around like we are right now,” Helfand said. “I really like the spinning circle thing.”

Christie Alexander, a mother of a 4-year-old kindergartner at the school said she is glad that her daughter will not have to cross Center Boulevard to get her exercise.

“I think it’s fantastic,” Alexander said. “I know the teachers are really careful about [crossing the street] but it was still really nerve-wracking.”


Upgrades coming for Woodhaven’s Mary Whalen Playground

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photos by Anthony Giudice

For over a year, Forest Park’s Mary Whalen Playground, located near Forest Parkway and Park Lane South, has been awaiting repairs, but the wait will end next month.

On Aug. 18, Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley will be holding a groundbreaking ceremony at the Woodhaven play space in Forest Park to kick off the start of the renovation.

Crowley has allocated $1 million from City Council funding for the site, while the Parks Department added another $180,000 from the department’s budget to reconstruct the playground.

Mary Whalen Playground was built in the 1940s and sits at the bottom of a large hill that was formed by an Ice Age glacier hundreds of thousands of years ago. The semi-circular park last received renovations in 1991.

The park is named after Mary Whalen, who was the vice president of Community Board 9 and a one-time president of the Woodhaven Block Association. She also founded the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation.

Currently, the park’s centerpiece, a spray shower water feature, has cracked asphalt surrounding it. The concrete wall near Park Lane South is eroding, and certain play equipment is outdated, including the 10-foot swings that do not meet American Society for Testing Material standards.

The renovations will upgrade the park to include new play equipment, a new central water feature, separate areas for preschoolers and pre-teens, a new teen court play area near the back of the playground, and a secondary ramp into the park from Park Lane South that will adhere to the standards set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The project will also increase the green spaces of the playground by adding more canopy trees and repair the existing drainage system, perimeter walls and curbs.


Moms want upgrades for Ridgewood playground

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photos by Anthony Giudice

Updated June 17, 10:35 a.m.

Things aren’t so rosy at Rosemary’s Playground in Ridgewood, according to mothers Stephanie Sauer and Caroline Stark, who frequent the park with their children on a daily basis.

“This is the closest park for residents of this neighborhood,” Sauer said. “There are a lot of parents with young children that visit the park, as well as people of all ages and races.”

These two moms are looking for improvements to be made at Rosemary’s Playground so their playground can be comparable to other parks around the area. They addressed the issues directly to Community Board 5 during its meeting last week.

“I am wondering why this one is so neglected,” Sauer said in an interview Monday. “If you go to the park by Grover Cleveland or Juniper Valley Park and see how great those parks are, it makes me wonder why this playground is so ignored.”

Some of the problems Sauer and Stark have noticed at the park include peeling paint along some of the walls and playground equipment, potentially dangerous elevated flower beds, and trash in and around the playground, among several others.

The mothers believe the two elevated flower beds pose a danger to children, especially in the condition they are currently in.

“My kid was playing in the dirt and there was a large piece of peeling paint around him,” Stark said. “They are nothing but a hazard. We just tolerate it for now because there isn’t a better option.”

The vegetation that grows in these green spaces may not be the safest for the users of the park. In the flower beds, one has nothing but small plants and weeds growing in it while the other one has thorny bushes growing. The trees along the perimeter have berries growing off of them and the parents are concerned that their children might try and eat them.

“These berries are just growing here,” Sauer said. “We don’t know if they are edible if one of the children tries to put them in their mouth. Kids try to put everything in their mouths.”

Other parts of the park’s infrastructure are in need of repairs as well. The playground equipment is marred with peeling paint and damages.

“Some of this stuff looks like it has been through a war,” Sauer said. “It looks like it came from a war zone. This isn’t up to standards. We don’t have really high expectations, but we want a decent park to bring our children to.”

Garbage has also become a problem in the playground.

“I found an empty liquor bottle right in the middle of the floor,” Stark said. “I’m just lucky I noticed it first before my son did.”

Inside Rosemary’s Playground there is an open area with a soft-top surface that has no practical use for parkgoers.

“I would love to see maybe a nice grassy area with some bushes where people could come with a blanket and enjoy the day,” Sauer said of the void area.

The mothers plan on attending additional community board meetings until their concerns are addressed and their park is repaired.

“It’s not just us,” Sauer said. “We have a whole dedicated mommy and daddy team that want changes made to this park. If it is not one of us, someone will take our place at the community board meeting and speak out on these problems until they are fixed.”

Dorothy Lewandowski, Queens Parks commissioner, said that the Parks Department has reached out to Community Board 5 and community members who have voiced concerns about Rosemary’s Playground regarding this issue.

“Rosemary’s Playground is in need of some TLC and we’re committed to working with the community to make the changes they see for this park,” Lewandowski said in an email statement to the Ridgewood Times. “We look forward to meeting with park users to create both short- and long-term plans to address immediate maintenance needs and fully realize their vision for the space.”


New Playground at P.S. 173

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

P.S. 173 unveiled a new playground at a ribbon cutting ceremony on November 20 at the school, located at 174-10 67th Avenue in Fresh Meadows. During the ceremony, students performed demonstrations of yoga, music and chess.

The new playground, which took approximately 14 months to build, was designed as a “green space,” and it provides sections for both passive and active recreation. There is also a “Wall of Friendship and Respect,” which was designed with student input.

Queens’ Morning Roundup – 11/15/2011: Tibetans in Queens mourn recent spate of self-immolations

| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Mayor Bloomberg Announces City Will Have Record Number of Hotel Rooms

Overlooking Manhattan, on the Queens side of the East River, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the city will reach a record 90,000 hotel rooms by year’s end – a clear message that people still love New York. The mayor made the announcement on the rooftop of the newly opened Z NYC Hotel in Long Island City, where he was joined by State Senator Michael Gianaris, NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta and Z NYC owner Henry Zilberman. Read More: Queens Courier


Assemblyman Goldfeder Launches Petition To Make Cross Bay Bridge Free

A Queens official is renewing efforts to make the Cross Bay Bridge free of charge. State Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder has launched an online petition for residents of the Rockaways and Broad Channel to sign. He’s urging the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Governor Andrew Cuomo to put an end to the toll on the only intraborough bridge in the city. Read More: NY1


Tibetans in Queens mourn recent spate of self-immolations in their homeland 

About 50 Tibetans packed a small basement on 73rd St. in Jackson Heights on a recent Monday and set up a makeshift altar. A portrait of the Dalai Lama and Snow Lion flag of Tibet flanked an image of Buddha. Then the mantra of the Sangcho Monlam, a prayer for the dead, filled the room, normally a Burmese center. They were mourning two Tibetans — a nun and a monk — who set themselves ablaze to protest China’s rule. Read More: Daily News


Workers put finishing touches on first Fairway Market ready to debut in Queens

Hundreds of workers are putting the finishing touches on the borough’s first Fairway Market set to open on Wednesday. The Daily News got a sneak peek at the new Douglaston store — the largest in New York City — with owner Howie Glickberg as he personally inspected all the aisles on Monday. Read More: Daily News


PS 69 and IS 145 in congested Jackson Heights set to open playgrounds for public use 

A congested community in western Queens that fought long and hard for more parks is about to get a little more open space. The city is transforming two Jackson Heights schoolyards into student-designed playgrounds that will be open to the public after school and on weekends. Community leaders were also optimistic that the city will soon hammer out a deal to buy land from a nearby private school to expand Travers Park. Read More: Daily News

Kids, community help create dream playground in Sunnyside

| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com


The dream of every child is to allow his imagination to run wild while creating his own unique playground.

The students of P.S. 199 are having their dreams come true.

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer visited the school, located at 39-20 48th Avenue in Sunnyside, on October 3 to commence his Noonan Park Community Design Initiative. The councilmember has currently secured $600,000 to revitalize the park, which is used by many students from P.S. 199.

In order to truly harmonize the remodeled playground with the neighborhood, Van Bramer is requesting input from all the people who call Sunnyside home.

Beginning October 3 and ending on October 31, suggestion boxes will be present in the Sunnyside Library and at Van Bramer’s district office, providing community members the opportunity to contribute their unique ideas to the design of the playground. Suggestions can also be made by calling the councilmember’s office or emailing jvanbramer@council.nyc.gov.

“The community deserves to have a voice in how their playground looks,” said Van Bramer, who is the first elected official to ask the neighborhood’s residents for their opinions regarding the design of a public space. “The children in the community have wonderful imaginations, and exercising their ideas artistically is a great way to express their vision.”

At the kick-off event, children shared their ideas by submitting drawings and essays depicting their visions of what the playground should look like. The proposal to improve Noonan was originally presented to the councilmember by fourth graders at P.S. 199’s career day last year.

According to Anthony Inzerillo, principal of P.S. 199, the most popular student suggestions are additional swings, lower basketball hoops to allow younger children to play, new playground equipment and an increase in the number of water sprinklers.

Some children also requested tributes to Thomas P. Noonan Jr., the park’s namesake and a United States Marine who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism he displayed while serving during the Vietnam War.

“The renovations to the playground are a welcome addition to the community, and I am grateful that Councilmember Van Bramer requested our students’ input into the design,” said Inzerillo. “I am so proud of the students, because they preserved the memory of Thomas Noonan, and not only did they incorporate their own ideas, but they spoke to neighbors, friends and other people and they incorporated their input into the design as well. The nice thing is that they are going to have ownership over the park. I think they will take much better care of it and respect it, because they had input into the design. They will have a sense of pride.”

Playground torched

| jlane@queenscourier.com

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Sometime between the evening of Tuesday, September 27 and the morning of Wednesday, September 28, an individual or group apparently set fire to a playground, located in Alley Pond Park, at the intersection of Springfield Boulevard and 76th Avenue in Oakland Gardens.

According to officials, the fire damaged both the ground surface and several pieces of playground equipment.
The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation has initiated an investigation.
“Anyone who witnessed the action or has relevant information should come forward,” said Councilmember Mark Weprin. “The children of our community have lost access to a beautiful and safe place to play.”

Anyone with information on this crime should call the NYPD Crime Stoppers hotline at 800-577-TIPS or Weprin’s office at 718-468-0137.