Tag Archives: Travers Park

Jackson Heights to get new park space


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Just in time for spring, Jackson Heights residents have been given new park space to enjoy.

Last March, the city announced its purchase of the athletic field at the Garden School, a private learning facility, which, combined with Travers Park, located across the street from the school, will offer the community a larger recreational space.

“Jackson Heights is one of the most densely-populated and diverse neighborhoods in New York City, and one most in need of parkland for its community,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Veronica M. White.

As of last week, NYC Parks and the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Service had completed the $6 million acquisition of the 24,600-square-foot asphalt play yard owned by the school.

The settlement with the Garden School comes as the city follows its goal of developing original methods to increase residents’ access to neighborhood open spaces. As of 2007, 229 “Schoolyards to Playgrounds” sites have been opened to the public as part of the Bloomberg administration’s PlaNYC initiative. Yet, this is the first time the city has created an agreement with a private school.

“Working with the city was terrific,” said Arthur Gruen, president of the Board of Trustees, and Richard Marotta, headmaster of the Garden School. “We are very pleased to join with our community in establishing this permanent open space for our Garden School family and for all of our neighbors.”

The new parkland will be available for public use outside school hours, including weekend and summer months, with the ball field open for baseball and softball leagues during these times.

“Every New Yorker should have access to adequate parks and recreational opportunities,” said Councilmember Daniel Dromm. “The residents of Jackson Heights deserve this.”

As part of the agreement, the Garden School is receiving a five-year lease agreement for the exclusive use of the property during the school year between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. At all other times, NYC Parks will manage the site as a public park.

NYC Parks plans to install a property line fence separating the site being acquired from the remaining Garden School property. A final design for the property will be developed and once completed, will be accessible to the public from 78th to 79th Streets.

 

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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

Proposal to close Jackson Heights street for food fair


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

parking ticket photo 018

A local farmers market is promoting a fresh idea for Jackson Heights — converting a serene street into a bustling bazaar.

GrowNYC’s Greenmarket, which is the only year-round farmers market in Queens, will present a proposal to Community Board (CB) 3 on January 19, hoping the Jackson Heights community supports the closing of 78th Street between 34th Avenue and Northern Boulevard every Sunday to hold a food fair.

“We found that when the street is closed, it created a much more user friendly market,” said Michael Hurwitz, director of GrowNYC’s Greenmarket program. “It will create more aisle space, making the market less crowded, and cars will not be coming through, making it safer. This will provide more space for everything, including cooking demonstrations.”

The farmers market is currently on the sidewalk of 34th Avenue between 78th and 77th streets, but Councilmember Daniel Dromm believes the slight shift will do wonders for the neighborhood hotspot.

“The farmers market is an integral part of our community, and shifting it over to 78th Street makes sense,” said the councilmember, who believes the change will ease congestion, both for passing cars and patrons of the fair. “Seventy Eighth Street is longer, and since the street will be closed, it will also be wider. It provides a little more room for expansion and provides a safety net for the people to shop there. If you go there on a Sunday afternoon, it is just a great place to be, with the farmers market and Traverse Park. It has become another landmark of community life in Jackson Heights.”

Edwin Westely, the president of the Jackson Heights Beautification Group, believes the street switch will also make shopping safer and more convenient.

“Right now it becomes ‘dodge the car’ when you shop there,” said Westley, who fully supports the relocation. “The street where the market is now is much more congested.”

During the summer, the block is closed off from cars and transformed into a play street for neighborhood children. According to Will Sweeney, co-founder of the Green Alliance, which organizes the play street, the market will not interfere with the children’s recreational space.

“We believe that the street makes more sense with more people using it, and more people use it as a farmers market and play street,” said Sweeney, who has worked closely with Greenmarket in developing this plan. “We are hoping to turn it into a public plaza, with the farmers market on some days and games for kids on others.”

Jackson Heights currently has the second least park space in the five boroughs, prompting community leaders to push for the purchase of the yard at the Garden School, also located on 78th Street — across from Travers Park — to create a neighborhood piazza.

The city is currently in talks to procure the space, which is roughly 29,000 square feet, from the cash-strapped private school, but negotiations have been delayed for over a year.

“I’m hopeful an agreement can and will be reached,” Dromm said. “I’m confident the parties are working out the details.”

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

Jackson Heights schoolyard is 200th to become playground


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Renderings Courtesy of the Parks Department

One of the city’s most congested communities is getting a little extra room to breathe.

Schoolyards at P.S. 69 and I.S. 145 in Jackson Heights are being transformed into student-designed playgrounds that will be open to the public on weekdays after school until dusk and on weekends from 8 a.m. to dusk.

The renovations aim to provide the neighborhood with more open space, answering the calls from community leaders and local elected officials.

“My council district ranks 50 out of 51 districts in the city with regards to park space,” said Councilmember Daniel Dromm. “Jackson Heights is the second neediest district in terms of park space, according to the New Yorkers for Parks Survey. This transition will create new, open space for people to use for recreational activities, to sit and relax and enjoy a newspaper or just to take in some fresh air, and it provides my constitutions with something they have been telling me they want desperately –  open space and green space.”

The councilmember believes the additional park space will also foster growth in Jackson Heights and encourage youthful visitors and prospective residents to enter the community.

“We have seen an influx of young families moving into the neighborhood, and open park space and good schools are the two things these families are most looking for,” Dromm said. “The open spaces will make this a great place to raise your kids. The added benefit is that parks raise property value and makes the neighborhood more desirable to people looking to purchase a new home. These playgrounds will contribute to the desirability of living in Jackson Heights.”

The renovations were made as part of PlaNYC’s Schoolyards to Playgrounds program, which aims to ensure all New Yorkers live within a 10 minute walk of a park or playground. The city has invested $87.6 million to convert approximately 230 schoolyards into playgrounds by 2013.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg was joined by Parks and Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott and Jackson Heights elected officials on November 30 at the recently-completed playground at P.S. 69, located at 77-02 37th Avenue, to announce that the school was the 200th member of the Schoolyards to Playgrounds program.

“Since 2002, our administration has been committed to creating new public parks and new open spaces of every kind,” said Bloomberg. “PlaNYC, our long-term sustainability agenda, identified public schoolyards that could be opened up year-round in neighborhoods most in need of open space. Despite the economic downturn, we’ve maintained our commitment to this innovative program and we are delivering on our promise. In a time of tight budgets, our schoolyards represent a great opportunity for transforming existing, underused resources into something we can all enjoy.”

According to a Parks Department spokesperson, schools selected for the Schoolyards to Playgrounds initiative are usually in underserved neighborhoods. I.S. 145’s playground, located at 33-34 80th Street, is scheduled for completion during the summer of 2012. Both the P.S. 69 and I.S. 145 projects cost approximately $300,000, according to the source.

As part of the initiative, representatives from the Trust for Public Land, a non-profit organization and the city’s premier partner in the program, visit the schools to gather the opinions and ideas of community members, faculty and students to incorporate into the designs of the parks.

Dromm says he hopes the city can also complete the purchase of the roughly 29,000-square-feet of  park land beside the Garden School, located at 33-16 79th Street – across the street from Jackson Heights’ Travers Park. According to the councilmember, who has contributed $5 million in funding to the project, the mayor’s office is currently working to acquire the land.

The Jackson Heights Beautification Group is facilitating the discussions between the Garden School and the city, in hopes that the deal can benefit the cash-strapped school by providing an influx of capital.

“This would be a win, win, win for the Garden School, Parks Department and Jackson Heights,” said Edwin Westely, president of the Jackson Heights Beautification Group, who believes the purchase of the land imminent. “Jackson Heights gets more open space, the Parks Department would get more parks land and the school will be helped out with funds.”