This week, we’re taking a look at two very exciting advancements made as part of our aim to provide the best public recreation facilities possible to New York City residents.
Last Week at Parks:
Courts of Dreams
On April 2, I was joined by Courts of Dreams Foundation co-founders Natasha and Marc Cornstein to break ground on $162,000 in renovations at Van Cortlandt Park’s Classic Playground Basketball courts. The project is being funded in equal amounts by the executive budget and the Courts of Dreams Foundation, and will allow for the reconstruction of the park’s two existing basketball courts, including the installation of new asphalt pavement, backboards, court lines, benches, and the cleaning of the site’s storm drains.
The Courts of Dreams Foundation is an organization whose mission is to restore and maintain outdoor basketball courts for children in NYC neighborhoods and around the world, fostering healthy, safe, communities while promoting the values of basketball, such as team work, mutual respect and leadership. Ms. Cornstein and her husband, who is a professional basketball agent, have been tremendous partners in our effort to bring the best recreational spaces to our city’s children.
Also in attendance at the groundbreaking were Congressman Elliot Engel, State Senator Jeff Klein, State Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz, students from M.S. 344 and P.S. /M.S. 95, and members of Bronx Community Board 8, the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park, and the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy. During the ceremony, attendees were treated to choral performances from both P.S. 344 and P.S. /M.S. 95.
Macombs Dam Ballfields
After a lengthy construction process, Macombs Dam Park’s ballfield complex, which sits in the shadow of Yankee Stadium, is now open to the public. After a soft opening last November, the fields had their first permitted game on April 2, between All-Hallows and Cardinal Hayes High Schools, and opened for citywide baseball season on April 7. The $50.8 million, 10.8-acre ballpark, all in natural grass, contains several nods to its professional stadium neighbor, including a 12-ton piece of the old Yankee Stadium frieze and a 130-foot tall baseball bat-shaped chimney, also from the old stadium. The new fields help to replace the parkland that was lost with the building of the new Yankee Stadium in 2009, and I believe we’ve now brought some of the finest Parks ballfields in the city to this high-need area of the Bronx.
Sgt. Asha Harris has been an outstanding addition to Manhattan PEP. She was recently certified by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to use a decibel meter and issue summonses under the DEP rules. She will be part of a citywide task force that will address sound issues throughout the city. Sgt. Harris has also taken the lead in our initiative to curtail illegal pedicab activity in Central Park. She was the first to issue summonses and perform other enforcement activities under DCA rules. She has successfully represented Parks in court defending these rules.
Sgt. Harris continuously shows initiative and passion for her job. She is detail-oriented and very effective in the varied aspects of enforcement. Her commitment to Parks, to the safety of our patrons, and to her profession make her one of our most valuable assets.
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
“If you want to stay young-looking, pick your parents very carefully.”
(1929 – 2012)