NEW LOOK FOR EAST FLATBUSH PLAYGROUND
On Monday, July 18, Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Julius Spiegel was joined by Council Member Kendall Stewart, and representatives from Community Board 17 and Borough President Marty Markowitz’s office for a ribbon cutting ceremony at the newly restored and redesigned Harry Maze Memorial Park in East Flatbush. The goal of the restoration was to provide new recreational facilities for the community. Council Member Stewart funded the 2.4-acre playground’s renovation, which cost $938,000.
One of the highlights of the playground’s redesign is a newly installed spray shower. "The restoration gives the community a large spray shower, which it didn’t have before, to cool off on hot summer days," said Brooklyn’s Director of Capital Projects Portia Dyrenforth.
The shower, which is made of colored concrete and sports a Carnival mask theme, serves as the centerpiece of the park. "The new design also services a wide variety of ages by providing play equipment and J-swings for toddlers and 5-to-12 year olds, adult fitness equipment, reconstructed basketball and handball courts, and newly painted netball courts," said Dryenforth.
The playground also now features an array of bright yellow and orange climbers, slides, overhead bridges, and decorative panels with green palm tree details and silhouettes of Carnival characters, including Moko Jumbie, a dancer on stilts. The incorporation of Carnival themes on the play equipment pays homage to the surrounding Caribbean community. Caribbean culture permeates the area with many bakeries, restaurants, and street vendors.
In his speech, Council Member Stewart stressed the important role of play and recreation in the future success of children, while Community Board 17 Chair Michael Russell praised the transformation of the once decaying park into the colorful, bright playground it has become today. Kingsland Civic, a local community group, also reiterated its commitment to keeping the park clean and safe for all users.
Children from local day camps, members of Von King Recreation Center, participants in the Police Athletic League, and neighbors of the park also came to celebrate the reopening. At the end of the ceremony, Parks & Recreation distributed litter prevention badges to all of the children in attendance, while Commissioner Spiegel swore them in as litter prevention marshals.
The playground was named in 1973 in honor of Harry Maze, a lawyer and Brooklyn politician who served the 23rd City Council from 1966-1969. During his tenure as a City Council Member, Maze sponsored a bill to build a tunnel from the base of Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, to Johnston Avenue in Jersey City, New Jersey. The plans never came to fruition. In addition to his time serving on the City Council, Maze worked as an assistant district attorney, an assistant deputy comptroller, and law secretary to Comptroller (and later Mayor) Abraham D. Beame. Maze also spent time as a secretary to a State Supreme Court Justice, presided over the Winthrop Community Club, was installed as vice-president of the Humanity Club, and sat on the Board of Trustees of the Congregation of Shaari Israel.
-written by Lauren Melnick
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"Go for nobility, not royalty."
Parks & Recreation Supervisor of Submittals