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On Tuesday, Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) announced the upcoming improvements to be made to the Paul Raimonda Playground in Astoria.
Joined by Councilman-Elect Costa Constantinides, center right, Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski, District Leader Carol Scarano, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria), Community Board 1 Parks Chairman Richard Khuzami, third from left, and members of CB1, Vallone announced his office had allocated $800,000 for renovations which will include a new Steinway piano-shaped spray shower, benches, gate repair, fitness equipment and a renovated basketball court.
Preliminary discussions have begun on deciding the fate of what once was an icon of the 1964 World’s Fair.
At a Borough Board meeting on Monday, the Parks Department presented different restoration options for the Tent of Tomorrow and Observation Towers that have sat unused in Flushing Meadows Corona Park for decades.
On Monday the city named a Jackson Heights park on 78th Street between Northern Boulevard and 34th Avenue after Rory Staunton, a 12-year-old boy who tragically died from sepsis he contracted after sustaining a cut while playing basketball in April 2012.
The half-acre recreation area, named “Rory Staunton Field,” is adjacent to his school, The Garden School.
Councilman Jim Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows), right, joined Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski in front of a residence on Coolidge Avenue in Briarwood to check on the progress of the latest repairs made possible by Gennaro’s Trees and Sidewalks Program.
The councilman allocated $1.1 million of his discretionary capital construction funds to clear the backlog of constituents who have waited years to have their sidewalks repaired through the city’s program.
Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski, second from left, joined Borough President Helen Marshall, with scissors, members of Community Board 7, and the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Conservancy to celebrate the creation of five new volleyball courts in the park.
The courts, constructed from concrete, are the first formalized volleyball space on the park’s eastern side. The project was funded with a $450,000 allocation by Marshall.
“We’ll have to get back to you on that.”
During the entirety of the United States Tennis Association’s public testimony regarding its proposed expansion within Flushing Meadows Corona Park, “We’ll have to get back to you on that” has become a fall-back option for some of the more uncomfortable questions surrounding the project.
Along Atlantic Avenue, straddling the border between Ozone Park and Woodhaven, young boys on skateboards jump over brick embankments and slide down stair railings on a quiet Sunday morning.
But don’t worry, they're not bothering anyone. In fact, they are allowed to do it here.
Community Board 9 Chairman Jim Cocovillo, top row left, Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski, Councilman Eric Ulrich, Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik, Assemblyman Mike Miller and CB 9 Parks Committee Chairman J. Richard Smith cut the ribbon in the newly renovated London Planetree Park Sunday with at least a dozen skateboarders.
Incredulity and perplexity reigned last Friday during a City Council hearing regarding the state of Flushing Meadows Corona Park, with Parks Department staff enduring the brunt of questioning at the hands of a Parks Committee largely made up of Queens lawmakers.
The questioning surrounded the current state of a park accustomed to a fraction of the attention left over from its more famous brethren. Dollar and staffing figures revealed a dearth of resources in the face of escalating need.
Lawmakers, city officials and Queens activists cut the ribbon for a new comfort station at the Rachel Carson Playground located in the Kissena Corridor Park on Colden Street between Juniper and Geranium Avenues, in Flushing.
The $1 million comfort station was funded by the City Council. It features sustainable design techniques to make the building energy efficient and environmentally friendly.
According to Woodside resident Susan Santangelo, the 108th Precinct said incidents at Windmuller Park including a fire in the bandshell, vandalism and fights are the Parks Department’s purview, not the NYPD’s.
“[An officer] said it’s the Parks, not the precinct,” Santangelo said at a Community Board 2 meeting last Thursday.
Even before Hurricane Sandy, the Rockaways were a new frontier for the city’s arts community. The storm, which devastated the peninsula, has not stopped that. If anything, it may have only piqued the interest of that community.
In the days, weeks and even months after the storm, the city’s arts community reached out and helped in the recovery process, including bringing water, food and supplies to the peninsula and helping gut homes and businesses destroyed by the surge.
Councilman Leroy Comrie recently honored 16 women from across Queens in his seventh annual Unsung Heroines event for Women’s History Month; 15 were present at the ceremony.
Honorees included Gaye Anderson, of Healthfirst; 33rd AD District Leader June Bunch; 29th AD District Leader Jacqueline Boyce; businesswoman Latasha Smith-Bondswell; educator Beverly Bazil Edge; the Rev. Gular Hamilton Glover; executive Jolander Headley; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority official Moira Jack; the Rev. Tracey Whittaby Johnson; Queens Borough Parks commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski; Chantel Legros of the Southern Queens Park Association; executive Monica Sanchez; business executive Patricia Thomas; Jeanine Taylor of MTV Networks; businesswoman Valencia Robinson WIlliams; and NY 1 anchor Cheryl Wills.
The city’s Parks Department broke ground this week on the much sought-after Little Bay Park restroom, setting a course to finally replace the port-a-potties that became the heart of contention among many park-goers.
“Next week’s groundbreaking will mark the much-anticipated start of construction at Little Bay Park, as well as the end of our planning process for this complex coastal project” said Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski.
On March 5, Parks Department Commissioner Veronica White and Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski announced the city would hire 81 new park enforcement patrol officers citywide.
“You can have all the rules in the world but unless they are enforced they become irrelevant,” Community Board 1 Parks Chairman Richard Khuzami said.
The US Open is not the only place where the United States Tennis Association can draw an overflow crowd.
More than 100 people turned out at the Feb. 13 meeting of Community Board 6, where the USTA continued its push for plans for a multi-year $500 million construction project at Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
Rockaway Beach’s destroyed boardwalk will be rebuilt, according to Mayor Bloomberg and Parks Department officials, but the new structure may not be made of wood.
Bloomberg said last week he would consider rebuilding the 5.5-mile-long boardwalk out of concrete.
The Department of Buildings has not put itself in the good graces of homeowners across the borough affected by Hurricane Sandy.
A growing number of residents and elected officials have been decrying the agency’s distribution of violations for trees toppled on homes since the superstorm hit on Oct. 29. The DOB attributes the perceived headaches to a semantic snafu tainting well-intentioned attempts to tally Sandy’s damage.
Queens lost more than 7,000 trees during Hurricane Sandy, and numerous more in the snowstorm the week after.
At the November meeting of the Queens Borough Board on Monday, Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski said 7,062 calls for fallen trees were recorded during and after the hurricane, far more than any other borough. But this is not surprising, she said, because Queens has the highest number of street trees.
Officials and youngsters join Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski, with sign, at the unveiling of new playground equipment at Alley Pond Park in Oakland Gardens.
On Memorial Day weekend, the historic Forest Park Carousel spun for the first time since 2009, a great day for Queens — and especially for its children. Much of this was thanks to the hard work of the concessionaire, NY Carousel Entertainment, who spent weeks before the opening on painting, cleaning and restoring the carousel.
While the carousel is up and running, we’ve been working behind the scenes making improvements. Picnic tables and benches have been added, and a small food cart will be in place until renovations to the concession stand are completed. We are open weekends through June 27th and then daily from 11 a.m. until sunset, weather permitting. After Labor Day the carousel will be open on weekends through November. There are free children’s shows at 2 and 4 p.m., with more activities for children to come over the summer months.
I appreciate your patience while the kinks are being worked out, and encourage you to visit this local treasure and support it for the future. The Forest Park carousel is back, and it’s only going to get better.
Janice Melnick, who has served as Northeast Queens Parks administrator since 2003, was just named administrator of Flushing Meadows Park.
The promotion was announced exclusively to the Queens Chronicle on Tuesday by Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski. Melnick fills a spot open since January when Estelle Cooper, who had held the position for 17 years, resigned to start a consulting firm.
While the city is still mum on who will be operating the Forest Park carousel in Woodhaven, Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski said the merry-go-round should be up and running by this summer.
Lewandowski said the city and the operator are finishing up “paperwork,” after which the name will be released.
Tucked behind the carousel in Forest Park sits a greenhouse, its panels giving a clear view of rows and rows of thousands of perennials, annuals and tropical plants that are, after five years, making a home at the Woodhaven spot.
The Forest Park greenhouse, built in 1905, reopened on Monday after $3.8 million in renovation work was completed, including replacing the glass panels with thermal ones and installing a computerized system that allows gardeners to control the heating and automatic window shades.
City officials, civic leaders and residents cheered the reopening of the Forest Park greenhouse on Monday, five years after renovations began at the facility built in 1905.
Parks Department officials said the greenhouse is expected to grow about 250,000 plants annually —up from 200,000 five years ago. The perennials, annuals and tropical plants will be shipped to parks and other green spaces across the borough, and throughout the city.