Welcoming our Interns
Have you seen some new faces among our ranks? Our summer intern program began last week and is now officially underway, with more than 200 interns placed throughout the Agency. Please give them a warm “Parkie” welcome. They will play an important role in our operations as we take on new projects with a limited workforce. I am certain that their fresh ideas and enthusiasm will bring a needed boost of energy and practical help. A big shout-out to Leslie Nusblatt, Margaret Zajkowska and Elyse Mason for their work recruiting the interns.
Kids in Motion
To celebrate the grand re-opening of McCarren Pool and the newly built McCarren Play Center, the Recreation Division hosted a “Kids in Motion” event at Maria Hernandez Park on Saturday, June 9. Recreation staff provided a wide variety of free fitness and sports workshops geared towards kids, including double dutch, street hockey, soccer and volleyball. This gave children in Bushwick and East Williamsburg the chance to preview all the fun activities that will be offered at the new McCarren Play Center.
But it wasn’t all fun and games at the Kids in Motion event, as recreation staff were busy registering people of all ages as McCarren Play Center members. How does Recreation staff go about registering new members at outdoor events, you ask? At the Mobile Membership Van!
Outfitted with laptops to enroll new members on the spot, Recreation staff can now hit the streets and get the word out about all of the great programming offered at Parks’ recreation centers. This green van is truly “green”—it’s 100 percent electric-powered—and it will make appearances at concerts, street fairs, flea markets and park events all summer long.
This week, we recognize the Parks construction managers involved in Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC “Schoolyards to Playgrounds” initiative at Capital Projects. In just three years, Magdi Beshara, Rick “Ricky Schoolyards” Bockowski, Fente Derbew and Alberto Ruiz-Gonzalez have quietly overseen the construction of nearly 100 playgrounds at elementary and middle schools, representing the greatest expansion of playgrounds in the city since Franklin D. Roosevelt was president. Managed by George Kroenert and Claire Dudley, the construction team functions as the face of the Schoolyards Initiative, interacting with school principals, custodians, teachers and a number of City agencies to ensure that playgrounds like PS 124Q in South Ozone Park, Queens (pictured below) are built safely, on time, and with cost in mind.
The team oversees construction during school hours, scheduling excavation and other work around fire drills, school dismissal, and testing days. This is a remarkable feat when you consider that over 30 schoolyards all over the city are typically under construction at any given time. Construction managers often work with teachers to incorporate lessons from the construction process into math and art classes. We salute the construction managers as they continue to turn bleak asphalt schoolyards into vibrant neighborhood spaces with trees, painted sports courts, benches and play equipment in parts of the city that have a demonstrated need for playgrounds.
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything”
George Bernard Shaw