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East River Park

The Daily Plant : Monday, August 25, 2003

THE GRASS IS GREENER IN JUNIPER VALLEY PARK


Who said you can’t beat the real thing? Certainly, a fake Rolex is no match to an authentic timepiece, and a plastic tree can never replace a real pine. But when it comes to artificial turf, the newest synthetics are giving old grass fields a run for their money. On Wednesday, August 20, 2003, Council Member Dennis Gallagher, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe and Queens Borough Commissioner Richard Murphy welcomed soccer and football teams to Juniper Valley Park’s brand-new Brennan Field. The newly completed state-of-the-art synthetic turf was completed in three months with $1.4 million in funds allocated by the City Council, and the field lies at the center of a track finished last year.

"This is just one of dozens of field makeovers the Mayor and City Council have funded in the past year all over the city," said Commissioner Benepe. "We’ve been busy transforming windy dustbowls into green, lush, state-of-the art fields for young athletes to play on year-round. We owe it to our youth to give them a place to get in shape."

Artificial turf fields are now being used increasingly in parks thanks to the revolutionary technological advances made in the material. In addition to being softer and gentler on players’ knees and ankles, they also allow for year-round play (as opposed to grass fields, which need to be off-limits to protect the grass). Additionally, while initial cost of installing an artificial turf field is more than installing a grass one, the annual maintenance costs of the artificial turf is virtually nothing. The first artificial turf field used by Parks & Recreation was a carpet-style field in Manhattan’s Chelsea Park and the second was in Riverside Park. Recent parks to receive similar artificial turf fields include Dyker Beach Park in Brooklyn and East River Park in Manhattan. And considering that these new fields have a guaranteed life span of at least 10 years, it’s not surprising to hear that more are on the way.

This latest project also reflected the efficiency of Parks & Recreation’s Capital Projects division. Originally scheduled for a much longer work schedule, the work began in March of this year and was finished in July—a mere three months later. All of the work—which included the creation of new drainage, the installation of the base and field turf, the creation of a long jump area, and the addition of painted lines, new goal posts, and fencing—now makes Brennan Field a shining example for future fields. "This is one of the most beautiful and best-equipped parks in the city" said Benepe.

One football coach from the Christ the King school remarked that the fields are amazing for playing. Starting next year, Brennan field will become the home turf for its players. And during the festivities, kids of all ages—including Commissioner Benepe and Council Member Gallagher— tossed footballs and kicked soccer balls to demonstrate the field’s playability.

In the early 1930s the City of New York acquired the area that is now Juniper Valley Park to settle a $225,000 claim in back taxes against the estate of the infamous Arnold Rothstein (1882-1928), who had been accused of fixing the 1919 World Series. The bog was mined to provide landscaping material for parks and parkways. From 1941 to 1942, squads of Works Progress Administration workers transformed the barren land into one of Queens’ most beloved parks.

Written by Eric Adolfsen

PARKS MOURNS THE DEATH OF HAROLD TIER

We mourn the passing of Harold Tier on August 7, 2003. Harold was assigned as a Supervisor for Parks Management and Operations for the Staten Island Greenbelt. This position matched his interest in nature with his background as a former high school science teacher. He was very dedicated to his work. He is survived by a son and a daughter. For those that worked with Harold, we all are saddened by his loss.

PARKS MOURNS THE DEATH OF MORRIS L. WEISSBROT

A former Parks & Recreation employee, Morris L. Weissbrot, recently passed away on July 5, 2003. He worked with Parks & Recreation from 1961 to 1986, when he retired. He began his career as a Recreation Director at Vleigh Playground in Queens and eventually became Queens Chief of Recreation. On his free time, Weissbrot was the "voice of weightlifting," serving as the announcer for competitions up and down the East Coast. He is survived by his wife, Gail Gagne, sons Eric and Laurence, daughter Binnie, and four grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at Lost Battalion Hall on Monday, August 25 at 8 p.m.

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

"A stone, a leaf, an unfound door."

Thomas Wolfe

(1900-1938)

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