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Fox Playground

The Daily Plant : Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Renovated Fox Playground and New Dog Run Debut in Longwood Community

Cutting the ribbon with students from St. Athanasius School at Fox Playground.
Malcolm Pinckney

On October 8, Commissioner Adrian Benepe joined Congressman José E. Serrano, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr., Assembly Member Marcos Crespo and Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo and Amy Sugimori, Executive Director of La Fuente, an umbrella organization of the New York Civic Participation Project, to unveil over $2.5 million in improvements to Fox Playground. Third grade students from St. Athanasius School gave a choral performance. The park is located at Fox Street and East 156th Street in the Bronx.

“Play hoops or handball, sit under a shade tree, run through the spray shower or bring your dog to the nearby dog run at the new and improved Fox Playground,” said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “Thanks to $2.5 million allocated by Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo and the Borough President, Parks was able to renovate the existing playground and add more amenities for the Longwood community – and their canines – to enjoy.”

Largely well-worn for decades, the existing site was transformed into a modern, accessible, safe and fun recreational area for the community. The play equipment was replaced, and the existing basketball and handball courts were upgraded with new painted lines and fencing. New amenities include a spray shower, swings, drinking fountains, ADA-accessible circulation path, benches and fencing. A dog run enclosed with a steel picket fence was built adjacent to the playground. The run features two sections for small and large dogs, and is gated to allow unleashed dogs to frolic. A small arboretum was planted, which includes red maple, honey locust, eastern redbud, dawn sequoia, scarlet oak and Japanese zelkova trees.

The project was funded by $1.5 million from Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo and $1 million allocated by the Office of the Bronx Borough President.

Parks’ in-house Capital team designed the playground and oversaw construction. The Parks team included Borough Team Leader: Raymundo Gomez, RL; Design Supervisor: Jim Mituzas, RLA; Assistant Landscape Architect: Michael Michalek; Civil Engineer: Ray Palmares; Resident Engineer: Andrew Newsom & Lawrence Daudu; Landscape Construction; Resident: Mark McGlynn; Senior Construction Project Manager: Miles Eng; Borough Construction Director: Eliecer Pertuz and Deputy Borough Construction Director: Fred Hammerling. The renovations were constructed by Contractor Doyle-Baldante Inc.

Fox Playground, located at the intersection of East 156th and Fox Streets, on the border between the Bronx neighborhoods of Longwood and Morrisania, honors a wealthy 19th century Bronx resident, William F. Fox. Raised as a member of the Society of Friends (Quakers), William Fox may have been related to George Fox, the founder of the Quakers. In the 1850s, Fox inherited a large estate in the South Bronx. On July 17, 1979 the Department of General Services granted the land to Parks, which developed the site as a playground. In 1987, the site was named Fox Playground.

The entrance to the park features a notable permanent public sculpture: the 25-foot high Puerto Rican Sun Sculpture by Rafael Ferrer (b. 1933), representing the sun setting between two trees. The sculpture has been conserved by Parks’ citywide monuments conservation project. A separate artwork on the wall of the building at 737 Southern Boulevard, a series of cast fiberglass sculptures called We Are Family by John Ahearn (b. 1951) & Rigoberto Torres (b. 1960), faces a newly-designed sitting area in the park.

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for."
William Shedd
(1820-1894)

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