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Astoria Park

The Daily Plant : Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Parks Celebrates Ollies, Grinds And Fakies At The New Astoria Skate Park

A skater tests out the new Astoria Skate Park on Monday.
Daniel Avila

On Monday, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe and Council Member Peter Vallone, Jr. cut the ribbon on the new $1.6-million skate park in Astoria Park in Queens. Thanks to $950,000 allocated by Council Member Vallone and $619,000 allotted by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Astoria Park now features a 21,500-square-foot skate park with multiple levels, stairs with rails, banks, obstacles and ledges. The skate park accommodates all levels of skating. The open design and radiating paths allow other park users to enjoy the views of the water and watch the skate park users.

“It is the Parks Department’s goal to upgrade parks to meet the needs of 21st century users and thanks to allocations by Council Member Vallone, Jr., and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, we were able to build this $1.6 million skate park in Astoria,” said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “Astoria Park is already widely known for its gorgeous panoramic view of the skyscrapers in midtown Manhattan, in addition to being home to the largest outdoor pool in the city, we can add skateboarding to its numerous recreational opportunities that include tennis playing, running and picnicking.”

Skateboarding is extremely popular and it is estimated that there are approximately one million skateboarders in New York City alone. The city is currently home to 13 city skate parks. Astoria Park also features outdoor tennis courts, running tracks, a bandstand, multiple trails and playgrounds, all of which lure visitors from the five boroughs and beyond. Other new facilities and activities that have been added to parks citywide include more than six miles of mountain bikes trails, more than 40 kayak launches and numerous cricket fields.

Throughout the centuries, the stunning natural beauty of the location of Astoria Park has attracted visitors and settlers. With strong public sentiment for public access to the East River, the City of New York acquired more than 56 acres of land along the river for a park in October 1913. It was originally called William J. Gaynor Park after the mayor (1910-1913) and later known as East River Park, but the Board of Aldermen officially named it Astoria Park in December 1913. Stephen Halsey, who founded the village of Astoria in 1839, named the area for his friend, fur merchant John Jacob Astor (1763-1848).

The 56-acre park was expanded twice. Parks acquired a 4.5-acre parcel beneath the Triborough Bridge in 1937 and a 5-acre strip (known as Ralph DeMarco Park) along the East River in 1969. A three-part project renovated the park in the 1980s, which includes rehabilitating the park fields, and the drainage system, restoring the comfort station and installing new play equipment, and repaving all the roads and walkways, planting trees, shrubs, and groundcover. The inviting setting of Astoria Park remains rich in history and symbolic of an ever-changing New York City.

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
“Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than magician ever spoke, or spirit ever answered to, in the strongest conjuration.”
Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

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