Construction of the new performance space and central green at Murray Playground in Long Island City was completed last week and the site officially reopened last weekend.
“Murray Playground is a great community amenity for Long Island City residents of all ages, whether human or canine,” Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski said in a written statement.
The central green is lined with 1964 World’s Fair-design benches and surrounded by a walking path made of permeable paving stones.
The new performance space provides a stage area with a tiered seating wall.
“I am so pleased that the borough president’s office was able to allocate $1.275 million toward the construction of the central green and performance space at Murray Playground,” Borough President Melinda Katz said in a prepared statement. “It was a worthy investment because these two new additions will make Murray Playground an even more attractive recreational area and help improve the quality of life of everyone who lives in the vibrant community of Long Island City.”
In addition to the paving stone, the area is less paved and has more trees and shrubs.
The project, designed by NYC Parks Department landscape architect Thomas Brown, also includes a new water source for the existing dog run and community garden and repairs to existing fencing.
This is the latest in a series of improvements for Murray Playground, with a renovated play area completed in 2012 and a new comfort station and synthetic turf field completed in 2010.
The past improvements were funded with money allocated by the Mayor’s Office and the Borough President’s Office.
“Great parks equal great neighborhoods,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), who represents the Long Island City area, said. “The addition of a new performance space at Murray Playground now gives local artists and performers who live in Long Island City a one-of-a-kind venue to showcase their work.
“Long Island City has quickly become the center of arts and culture in New York City and these new enhancements will give thousands of Long Island City residents the ability to enjoy outdoor performances in their very own neighborhood.”
Van Bramer has allocated about $10 million toward enhancing parks and green spaces within his district.
The playground, located on 45th Avenue between 11th and 21st streets, is named for John. F. Murray, a Parks Department recreation supervisor and lifelong Queens resident.
In his free time, Murray led the Long Island City Knights of Columbus and trained local boxers.
He and his wife, Catherine, had two sons, Colonel John Murray and Captain William Murray, who both served in the Army.