The Daily Plant is proud to present the latest edition of the Commissioner’s Corner!
A busy, if balmy, winter at the Parks Department continues, with several exciting developments this past week.
Last Week at Parks…
• As our Operations division continues to focus on finding ways to work smarter and more efficiently, First Deputy Commissioner Liam Kavanagh looked to the past for inspiration, reviving an initiative first launched under Parks Commissioner Henry J. Stern. The concept behind a 5x5, a strategy first utilized in the 1980s, began as a way to bring resources from around the borough to assist a district in one park, and a project would happen in five parks, one in each borough, usually for five days. For this season’s 5x5s, it’s a citywide effort, with each borough providing a combination of forestry staff and equipment for each project. In the first project at Prospect Park, they removed dead trees and limbs and hauled out 56 loads of shafts and large limbs. At Cunningham Park from January 23 through January 28, crews worked to clean up the trees damaged by Hurricane Irene damaged trees, and prune or remove any hazard trees. Crews from every borough, as well as the Million Trees Training Program, PACT and NYC DOT assisted on this project.
• Meanwhile, our Revenue division, under the leadership of Assistant Commissioner Betsy Smith, continued to make steady progress toward establishing a new vision for one of the city’s most iconic locations—Tavern on the Green. After releasing a Request for Proposals in late December, Commissioner Smith and Central Park Administrator Doug Blonsky both spoke about the project at a Community Board 8 meeting on January 25. Also at this meeting, a presentation of the planned renovation was made by Elizabeth Moss of Swanke Hayden Connell Associates, the firm that is working with DDC on the design. Yesterday, prospective restaurateurs toured the space, which is going through significant renovation, including the restoration of its historic façade, replacement of the slate roofs, and the removal of non-historic building additions. We look forward to seeing Tavern on the Green mark a new chapter in its life during the Bloomberg administration.
• And finally, Public Programs saw another successful fundraising month and has now raised $422,500 for the Swim for Life program since December. Launched in January 2011, Swim for Life is offered to New York City public school children to help ensure that they know the basics of water safety before leaving the second grade. Key to our success has been the development of a NYC Swim Council. Launched in August 2011 and made up of leaders from the public and private sector, the NYC Swim Council’s mission is to advocate and raise funds for drowning prevention. The Swim Council board includes Ann Buttenwieser (Neptune Foundation), Deborah Krulewitch (Estee Lauder), Peter Sloane (The Heckscher Foundation) and Peggi Einhorn (RWJF).
These successes wouldn’t have been possible without the talent and ingenuity of the hardest working staff in the City. This week, I’d like to commend Paul Fontana, Chief of Staff to Assistant Commissioner for Public Programs Annika Holder. Along with volunteer consultant Peter Konstamm, Paul has played a pivotal role in the development of the Swim for Life program, and much of our fundraising success is a direct result of Paul’s hard work and diligent follow through. Paul is the first into the office each morning, and the last to head home at night, leading some to speculate whether he in fact sleeps at his desk. Paul is thorough in following up on every fundraising lead and prepares proposals for potential donors and briefings for my meetings with them. Paul is a great example of what it means to put in the extra effort to ensure a project’s success, and I am grateful to have him on our team.
Keep up the good work!
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
“Statistics: The only science that enables different experts
using the same figures to draw different conclusions.”
(1899 - 1995)