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John V. Lindsay East River Park

The Daily Plant : Thursday, December 20, 2001

CHALLENGE NYC PARKS


Photos and Design by Spencer (Flasher) Tucker

Challenge America, ABC’s new pilot set to air tomorrow night at 10:00 p.m., tells the true story of a lightening-fast resurrection of the park’s amphitheater and soccer field.

To look at the amphitheater in East River Park last month visitors would never have guessed that Joe Papp, the father of Shakespeare in the Park, staged Julius Caesar there in 1956. Less than a week ago, entrances were locked and boarded over. The theater’s every surface was tattooed with spray paint. The entire structure was waiting to be saved. The stage floor was full of weeds and the actor’s "Green Room" was a hideout for drug users. Visitors would never know this to look at the amphitheater today where, in a very short time, New Yorkers have made lasting change.

Manhattan Borough Commissioner Adrian (A-Train) Benepe, Chief of the Urban Park Service, Alex (Oiseau) Brash, Chief Engineer, John (Wildcat) Natoli, and Chief of Design, Paul (Polecat) Ersboll dedicated energy and focus to this demanding task and inspired dozens of Parkies to work their hardest. The Manhattan Borough Office and the district crew led by Liam (Borokeete) Kavanagh and Margaret (Tabla) Asaro-Peeler completed excellent work. Parks’ Special Events team led by Terry (Calla Lily) Jackson likewise committed themselves unstintingly. Parkies from all ranks and divisions threw themselves into the work. Erin (Bluenose) Brockovich, star of the show, and designers and contractors from all over the city gave time, supplies, and labor to the effort.

On weekends, the regulation soccer field in East River Park is packed with players. Not only did the Challenge America team transform the amphitheater, they resurfaced the neighborhood’s only regulation soccer field with artificial turf fit for year-round use. Parks has wanted to complete this work for years. The cost was estimated at a high $1.2 million. That work is now finished. Combined with improvements funded by Mayor Rudolph (Eagle) Giuliani, the work in East River Park stretches more than a mile.

THIRTEEN YEARS AGO IN THE PLANT

(Thursday, December 29, 1988)

STATEN ISLAND PARKS APPOINTS

ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS CREW

Of the 5,712 acres of parkland on Staten Island, nearly half are undeveloped meadows, forests, and marshes. In order to nurture and protect these invaluable lands, which are increasingly threatened by illegal dumping, erosion and pollution, Staten Island Parks Commissioner Joseph M. Curran recently established the Environmental Concerns crew, the first borough-wide natural areas maintenance and restoration force in the city.

"In the past, district crews cared for the borough’s vast natural areas, in addition to maintaining developed parks and playgrounds," said Staten Island Chief of Operations Vincent Fennell. "But with the new Environmental Concerns Crew, we plan to give undeveloped parklands our undivided attention by restoring and maintaining them on a full-time basis."

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

"These are times in which a genius would wish to live.
It is not in the still calm of life, or in the repose of pacific station,
that great challenges are formed....
Great necessities call out great virtues."

Abigail Adams (1744-1818)

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John V. Lindsay East River Park Weather

  • Sun
    Slight Chc Rain
    55°F
  • Mon
    Mostly Sunny
    47°F
  • Tue
    Partly Sunny
    34°F
  • Wed
    Mostly Sunny
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