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Van Cortlandt Park

The Daily Plant : Thursday, May 10, 2001

114 PARKIES TRAINED IN SECURITY


Photo by Glenn (Pactman) Rowan

In order to become a security officer in New York, applicants need to complete an eight-hour certification process that culminates in a written exam. On Thursday, May 3, the auditorium of the Museo Del Barrio, a neighbor of Arsenal North, hosted 114 prospective security officers. They are participants in the Parks Opportunity Program, which is placing New Yorkers who've reached the five year time limit on public assistance in six month positions as City Seasonal Aides. To prepare them for private employment Parks is offering on the job training and employment service counseling through the PACT and JAC programs.

Congratulations to all 114 POP participants who passed their exam and received certification. The security consultants who presented the program, focused on mediation and conflict resolution, crowd control, park rules and regulations, and jurisdiction. They presented on Parks history, and explained the working of Central Communications. They discussed military time, report writing, the chain of command, and radio usage.

To prepare for the training, Glenn (Pactman) Rowan, Citywide Security Coordinator for PACT and POP held one week academy training sessions every week since the middle of March. The 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. program was the culmination of those sessions. The day included presentations by Jill (Deadhead) Weber, Director of PACT and Raymond (The Batman) Brown, Deputy Director of PEP. They seized the momentum of the training, offering job search information and support. An employer with job openings was on site to receive applications.

GREENSTREETS ARE BLOOMING IN ALL FIVE BOROUGHS

According to the latest accounts to come out of Central Forestry, 2,806 potential greenstreets have been identified. Once they are surveyed, designed, excavated, and planted, they will join the ranks of Parks' greenstreets, ambassadors of the urban forest. Recently, two new greenstreets opened.

Visitors to the Croton Aqueduct Greenstreet may not know it, but they're standing on a trail that reaches from Van Cortlandt Park to the Bronx-Manhattan Highbridge. Below ground runs the old Croton Aqueduct, a relic of plumbing eras past. The greenstreet is a marker along the sometimes invisible pedestrian trail that runs above it. Someday, when a greenway snakes through, the greenstreet will settle into context. Today, there are clues. Inside the neighboring Jerome Park is the reservoir into which the once aqueduct fed. In Gail (Edelweiss) Wittwer Laird's design is a to-scale mirror of the aqueduct, out of which sprout blue flowers. Thus on the ground, visitors can read an underground story.

Walton High School and Kingsbridge Heights Neighborhood Association have adopted the greenstreet. Every week they will water, weed, and remove litter. They will perform the essential function of hands on parents, securing life insurance for this pocket of trees. In the process, they'll receive training as urban gardeners.

The New York City Department of Transportation provided the foundation for the plantings. The greenstreet was a painted triangle before they built a concrete foundation there, enabling Parks to plant the area with River Birch trees, ink berry bushes, roses, virginia sweet spire, choke cherry, and the famously hardy ginko trees. We expect that they'll live long and, under the stewardship of their neighbors, prosper.

Commissioner Henry J. (StarQuest) Stern; William (Zorro) Castro, Bronx Borough Commissioner; Gail (Edelweiss) Wittwer Laird, Designer and Supervisor of the Greenstreets Program; Rita (Lipps) Kessler, District Manager for Community Board 7; Ricardo (Fern) Fernandez, President of Lehman College; Bernardo Sheldon, Principal of PS 86; Mark Stern, teacher at Walton High School; Captain Thomas DiRusso of the 50th Precinct, and active community members Karen Argenti and Dart Westphal all participated in the opening ceremony on Tuesday, May 8, 2001.

Parks' newest greenstreet is a pocket of woodland amid the open spaces of Coney Island. In a ceremony held Tuesday, May 9 Parkies and community members offered the first sips of water to the Bradford pears, the Aristocrat pears, the Tulip trees, and the Japanese dogwoods that make up the site. The Sargent junipers and the Nikko Blue hydrangeas also drank from the first drops poured from golden watering cans. With this, Parks welcomed greenstreet number 1,543 into the fold. $72,000 in requirements contracts enabled a speedy construction; in October 2000 construction began on Brad Romaker's design, and the plantings were completed this month.

In its former life, the greenstreet was a traffic island. Today, it's a hint of good greening to come in Coney Island. In combination with the construction of Keyspan Park, and renovations to Asser Levy Park, the beaches, and the Riegelmann Boardwalk, the birth of this greenstreet will refresh the parkland in Coney Island in time for summer 2001. The greenstreet is bounded by Neptune, Sheepshead Bay, and West 8th Street or Shell Roads, names that reflect its proximity to the water. The design, however, with over and understory plantings, provides wooded contrast to the neighboring parklands.

THIRTEEN YEARS AGO IN THE PLANT
(Thursday, May 12, 1988)

"A CHORUS LINE" CELEBRATES 100TH BRITHDAY OF IRVING BERLIN

Broadway's longest-running musical paid tribute to American's longest-running composer at the Arsenal in Central Park yesterday as the cast of "A Chorus Line" celebrated the 100th birthday of the great Irving Berlin.

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

"Let us run into a safe harbor."

Alcaeus (c. 625-c. 575 B.C.)

Gathering around a Baldwin Grand Piano in the Arsenal lobby while a light rain fell outside. 14 cast members came equipped with a 25-minute medley of Berlin tunes which included "Isn't It A Lovely Day To Be Caught In The Rain?" and "Fella With An Umbrella."

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