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Ewen Park

The Daily Plant : Wednesday, April 4, 2001

EWEN PARK IS RENOVATED, STEP BY STEP


Photo by Spencer (Flasher) Tucker

Ewen Park is stepping up in the world. On Thursday, March 29, Parkies and local officials gathered at the foot of its reconstructed stairway. Designer Ricardo (Ashbridge) Hinkle added new stone treads, cheek walls, and handrails. He created safe, durable landings as lookouts and resting points, and used plantings along the step path not only accent the area with green, but to help stabilize the stone. The generous funding of Council Member June M. (Mainland) Eisland enabled the transformation of the stairway.

Cheerleaders from Taft High School and St. Mary's Recreation Center performed step combinations for all those in attendance including June M. Eisland; Commissioner Henry J. (StarQuest) Stern, Grace (The Greatest) Belkin, District Manager for Community Board 8; Thomas DiRusso, Captain of the 50th Precinct; Jodie and Audie (Mr. and Mrs. Ewen) Colon, Friends of Ewen Park; Tony Thoman, Coordinator of Environmental Institute at JFK High School; William T. (Zorro) Castro, Bronx Borough Commissioner; and Ricardo Hinkle.

Once upon a time, Kingsbridge and Riverdale, the two neighborhoods bridged by Ewen Park, were named for the way they connected Manhattan and the Bronx. Kingsbridge was the name of the first bridge to join Manhattan with the mainland, and Riverdale began as a railroad station of the New York Central Railroad. The steps of Ewen Park also form a link; they join park and city, connecting neighborhood residents to their local expanse of nature. Because they are now better designed, safer, lighter, and more decorative, the stairs will entice more neighborhood residents to enjoy Ewen Park's seven acres.

Ewen Park boasts a dog run, basketball courts, a large wooded area, and now an improved stairway to its emerald heaven.

26 MILESTONES ACHIEVED

This year, for the first time, runners in hand-crank and push-rim wheelchairs, runners with ambulatory disabilities, and blind runners had the chance to compete for recognition and prize money in their own categories in a marathon. The Achilles Track Club's Achilles Marathon, the world's first marathon to be hosted by an organization of disabled runners, marked a significant moment in the legitimization of disabled marathoners. The 2,000 participants included able-bodied and disabled runners of all ages from around the world.

Two years ago, Commissioner Henry J. (StarQuest) Stern was part of the group that planned and advocated for the creation of this marathon. On Sunday, April 1, at 10:00 a.m. as runners gathered in Prospect Park, cheered on by thousands of well-wishing spectators, the original plan was realized.

By enlisting the support of a sponsor, each runner had the chance to raise funds for the New York City charity of their choice. The Achilles Track Club aimed to raise a total of $1 million. At least one Parkie, a veteran marathoner completed the course. Harris (Philippides) Kaplan, Project Manager for the Brooklyn Garages remarked that he was "happy to help raise money for a great cause."

Among those who applauded the runners were Mayor Rudolph (Eagle) Giuliani; Ken (Needed) Podziba, Sports Commissioner; Catherine (Faith) Paradiso, Executive Director of the Mayor's Office of People with Disabilities; Joe (Soup) Lentol, Assemblyman; Ken (Rising Star) Fisher, Council Member; Ken (Commerce) Adams, President of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce; Chandra Anderson, Vice President of the United Way; Leslie (Winterset) Winter; Executive Director of the Achilles Track Club; Dick (Achilles) Traum, President of the Achilles Track Club; Tupper (Forsythia) Thomas, Prospect Park Administrator; and Josephine (Gemini) Pittari, Director of Special Events for Prospect Park.

THIRTEEN YEARS AGO IN THE PLANT
(Wednesday, Mach 30, 1988)

HISTORIC PARKS PERSONALITIES: CHARLES B. STOVER

The following is the first in a series of articles on historic figures who helped develop Manhattan's Lower East Side. The articles are written to coincide with Parks' photo exhibit, "Lower East Side Views," on display now through Sunday, April 10 at the Henry Street Settlement.

The first article focuses on Charles B. Stover, Manhattan Parks Commissioner from 1910 to 1013. Stover is best remembered as the "Father of Seward Park," the first municipally-built playground in the country. He is also remembered as a bit of an eccentric.

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

"Thou shalt prove how salt is the taste of another's bread and how hard is the way up another man's stairs."

Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)

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