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Parade Ground

The Daily Plant : Wednesday, September 12, 2001

BATTLE OF THE BRAINIACS FIRST ANNUAL OPEN AIR CHESS TOURNEY AT BETHESDA TERRACE

Bethesda Terrace, Central Park’s decorative "open-air reception hall," has hosted giant Easter egg hunts, a pumpkin patch of one thousand tiny vegetables, and gala dances. On Saturday, September 8, Bethesda Terrace was the stage for Chess-in-the-Parks Rapid Open in the open air, presented by Parks and our nonprofit partner in gaming: Chess in the Schools. Saturday’s 400 competitors include novice chess nuts as young as four years old and grand masters the likes of Lev Alburt. Commissioner Henry J. (StarQuest) Stern welcomed rookies and experts to the table and encouraged them to play the full six rounds of play, according to the tournament’s Swiss System

The generation of soundbites and short attention spans excelled; with 125 players the pre-teen category was the largest in the tournament. Apparently their lives have trained them well for speed chess. Marley Kaplan, Executive Director of Chess in the Schools and Steve Herx, Deputy Director of Chess in the Schools were in attendance, and Commissioner Stern welcomed competitors at the start of the day and presented awards at the end. Event supporters included the Chess Shop and Lev Alburt, the New York Yankees, and the Central Park Conservancy. Thanks to them and also to Jeremy (Pet Chia) Chiappetta, Chief Tournament Director and Organizer; Ed (Bullets) Feldman, Chief of Staff to the Parks Comptroller; Aaron (Ginda) Greenberg, Recreation Analyst; Ya-ting (Frisbee) Chang, Budget Analyst, Jill (Triscuit) Bristow, Deputy Director of Citywide Special Events; Pui (Jasmine) Yu, Citywide Special Events Coordinator, who were instrumental in organizing the meet and to Keith T. (Kermit) Kerman who donated Yankee tickets.

RECONSTRUCTION OF PROSPECT PARK PARADE GROUNDS

ENTERS PHASE TWO

Thursday, September 6 was a day to revive memories of ball games past as Parks, the Prospect Park Alliance and the Brooklyn Borough President secure a future of shut outs, high scoring pennants, and more memorable contests for the kids of Brooklyn.

Decades ago, admiring heroes like the Brooklyn Dodgers from afar, a young Brooklynite, Henry Schneider, enjoyed the Prospect Park Parade Ground’s ballfields with his friends. Schneider grew up to be a successful lawyer and an important supporter of New York City’s most spectacular parks. He was a founding member and a lifelong trustee of the Central Park Conservancy. But he did not transfer his allegiance entirely to that park in Manhattan. For his love of Prospect Park, the Henry and Lucy Moses Foundation has given $200,000 toward an endowment for the Parade Grounds in Mr. Schneider’s name. At a ceremony on Thursday, field #5 was officially renamed the Henry Schneider ballfield.

The dedication of the field was one element of a three-part, $15 million renovation of the Parade Grounds. In Phase Two of the work, which began Thursday, Parks will outfit Field #3 for Major League hopefuls of Brooklyn. As Brooklynites once gathered there to watch as-yet undiscovered prodigies like Sandy Koufax and Willie Randolph play ball there, so they will return to see quality players battle it out on a beautiful grass field. They may choose to watch from new spectator stands, and stay on for night games, illuminated by new lights. With a batter’s eye they’ll be able to clock the pitches and with a scoreboard track the home team’s progress. A foul pole, a step-down dug out as well as bat and hat racks will all be featured there. Borough President Golden is funding the work, which also includes bullpens, a warning track, and a homerun fence for Field # 7, and goal posts, benches, and permanent soccer stripes for Field # 8.

In Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux’s plan for Prospect Park, the parade grounds are tastefully set apart. Such was the nature of the military exercises for which the grounds were designed that they would disrupt more tranquil goings-on elsewhere in the park. The services of the green are no longer required for things military, but free for a variety of games and peaceful spectacles.

Howard (Brooklyn) Golden, Brooklyn Borough President; Commissioner Henry J. (StarQuest) Stern; and Tupper (Forsythia) Thomas, Prospect Park Administrator were among those who spoke at the dedication and groundbreaking.

THIRTEEN YEARS AGO IN THE PLANT

(Wednesday, September 14, 1988)

ULTIMATE THRILL FOR CHAMPION FRISBEE TEAM

Since ultimate frisbee is not yet an Olympic sport, there was no ticker tape parade to welcome back the New York Ultimate Team after it won the world championship in Leuven, Belgium. But yesterday afternoon Parks did its best, giving the conquering heroes a hearty welcome on the steps of the Arsenal with lively music, balloons and cheering fans.

The New York Ultimate Frisbee Team, representing the United States bested 19 teams from Europe, Africa, Australia and Asia at the World Ultimate Championship held during the week of August 28 in Leuven.

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

"It’s as large as life and twice as natural."

Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)

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