Flushing Meadows Corona Park
The Daily Plant : Thursday, April 25, 2002
THE ONCE-AND-FUTURE PLAYGROUND FOR ALL CHILDREN
Disabilities should never prevent a child from playing. And rain should never prevent the Parks Department from getting its work done. Both of these messages rang in unison on Monday as Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, fellow Parkies, elected officials, and community members braved dismal weather conditions to break ground at the Playground for All Children’s $4.15 million reconstruction.
The Playground for All Children in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park was the first playground built in the United States for both able-bodied and disabled children to enjoy. After holding a design competition in the late 1970s, Parks selected the winning design and transformed it into a real-working dreamland. Opening in 1984, the pioneering playground allowed children to share meaningful play experiences, and the park quickly became a model for other playgrounds around the country. Now, this visionary playground has been re-envisioned, thanks to $3.9 million from former Borough President Claire Shulman and $250,000 from State Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry.
In renovating this playground, Parks Landscape Architect Claire Dudley thoughtfully updated the site while still maintaining the park’s original look and feel. She kept the most loved and successful pieces of equipment and added new equipment that will certainly bring smiles to a whole new generation of children. Her plans, for example, call for the creation of a Boat-Glider Swing that will give wings to children in wheelchairs. The updated playground will also feature a Musical Walkway, with freestanding musical notes, and an Accessible Play Village, complete with a school, a fire station, houses, cars and real-working traffic lights.
Protected from the elements under a waterproof tent, Commissioner Benepe was joined by Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, former Queens Borough President Claire Shulman, Wanda Watson (on behalf of Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry), Parkies, and Community Board representatives. "We were ready to go rain or shine," said Queens Borough Commissioner Richard Murphy, whose borough was responsible for providing the indispensable tent. "I was really happy that so many people showed up."
Commissioner Benepe stressed the importance of playtime in every child’s life. "Soon, the sounds of construction vehicles and equipment will be replaced with laughs and noises of children," said Benepe, who added that, "there is no better sound in the world than a child’s laugh."
Construction, which began this past month, should be completed by May 2003. When it reopens, the Playground for All Children will once again serve as a model for playgrounds around the world, just as, over the years, the Parks Department has inspired park agencies around the country.
By Eric Adolfsen
Karen Chia (not Chiu) of E-Government can be reached at (212) 360-3317. Her information was incorrect in yesterday’s issue.
THIRTEEN YEARS AGO IN THE PLANT
(Thursday, May 2, 1989)
MUSHROOMS AND OIL PAINTINGS PAIRED
AT ARSENAL GALLERY
Sculptures and paintings by Parks Naturalist "Wildman" Steve Brill and nature-inspired artist Noah Baen are now on display at the Arsenal Gallery through April 14. The Arsenal Gallery is located at 64th Street and Fifth Avenue in Central Park and is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Noah Baen’s subject matter is nature in New York City. His work includes expressionist oil paintings on the natural sources of city life such as trees, food and water. The two-man show features a variety of works related to nature in New York City’s 26,000-acre parks system.
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"No man rises so high as he knows not whither he goes."
(April 25, 1599-1658)