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Haffen Park

The Daily Plant : Thursday, January 3, 2002

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE FIVE RECIPIENTS OF PARKS' TWELFTH ANNUAL AWARDS

Congratulations to the five recipients of Parks’ Twelfth Annual Awards that were held on Thursday, December 20. They are Amy L. (Friday) Freitag, J. Elizabeth (Nine Plus) Perez, Geoffrey A. (Silk) Huston, William T. (Zorro) Castro, Alan M. (Northside) Moss. In the next issues of The Daily Plant, their achievements will be described. Today and tomorrow, The Daily Plant will describe some of their achievements.

Amy L. (Friday) Freitag was named Rookie of the Year. Friday Grew up in Akron, Ohio and received a BA from Smith College in Theatre and American Studies in 1985. By 1994, she had also earned two Masters degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in Landscape Architecture and Historic Preservation. For six years, Friday worked for the Fairmount Park Commission in Philadelphia where she served as Historic Preservation Officer and Planning Administrator. After an extensive search, Parks selected Friday as its new Executive Director of the Historic House Trust in March 2000. Friday has assumed responsibility for 20 historic houses and a staff of curators, architectural conservators, and historic property managers. She manages capital projects, fund-raising, conservation, and maintenance operations for these historic sites, and has quickly emerged as a leader at Parks. Friday played a key role in developing the Landmarks Preservation Fund, which has raised nearly $1 million for restoration projects. Thanks to Friday, we are now using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to improve planning, education and outreach. Friday has also helped Parks acquire additional historic sites including the Hendrick I. Lott House in Brooklyn and the Swedish Cottage in Central Park. An outstanding administrator and role model, Friday is modernizing our preservation efforts while keeping our historic sites intact. An animal lover, gardener, and chef, Friday is a rising star in the Parks world.

J. Elizabeth (Nine Plus) Perez has earned the title of Employee of the Year. Nine Plus grew up in Brooklyn. She graduated from Binghamton University in 1994 with a BA in Economics and Sociology, and earned an MBA in Human Resources in 1996 from Baruch College. Nine Plus started in public service in the summers of 1995 and 1996 as a Community Liaison for the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). Her Parks career began on October 6, 1997 as an analyst with Personnel where she helped implement new automated Employee ID Cards. Nine Plus quickly distinguished herself and was appointed Supervisor of Contracts in January 1999. As such, Nine Plus administered $26 million in service contracts in diverse areas including forestry, fleet repair, and stadium maintenance. She trained a new staff, implemented the revamped Fiscal Management System (FMS), and supervised contracts with over 115 vendors. In June 2001, Nine Plus took another big step in administration, becoming Director of Payroll, Timekeeping and Benefits. Nine Plus has quickly adapted to this new and complex role. This year, she has helped process over 3,600 Parks Opportunity Program (POP) staff. She also implemented the Automated Benefits Hot-line. Overall, Nine Plus is responsible for timecards, pension and benefits for nearly 8,000 full time and seasonal Parkies. Smart, sensible, and hardworking, Nine Plus has emerged as a major force at Arsenal West. One of nine children to Victor and Jeanne Perez, she currently lives in Brooklyn.

The Davis Award, given this year for the 19th time, will be formally presented to Geoffrey A. (Silk) Huston, this year’s winner, at the Annual Meeting of the Municipal Arts Society. Silk was born in Manhattan and grew up in Brooklyn. Silk attended Texas Tech University where he participated in the basketball program. Upon graduating in 1979, Silk was chosen 50th in the National Basketball Association (NBA) draft. Between 1979 and 1986, Silk lived the dream of many New York youth, playing professional basketball for the New York Knicks, as well as in Dallas, Cleveland and Oakland. When his pro career and travelling life were behind him, Silk returned home. He served as a playground associate in 1993 and joined Parks full time on November 9, 1994 as a Recreation Specialist at St. Mary’s Recreation Center in the Bronx. At St. Mary’s, Silk coordinated the Basketball League and held basketball camps at Haffen Park. By sharing his skills and experiences, he provided popular and rigorous outlets for hundreds of city youth. Silk quickly broadened his scope, becoming Deputy Center Manager at St. Mary’s in 1999 and then Center Manager in 2001. With Silk holding court, St. Mary’s has become one of only eight Parks facilities rated as Model Centers in OMP inspections. St. Mary’s is heavily used with attendance of over 150,000 per year. It boasts more than 5,000 members. Silk has expanded programming in boxing and flag football, increased community and non-profit involvement, and helped improve center maintenance and repair. A true asset to Parks and New York, Silk is a basketball star who has returned to the neighborhood to inspire others. He lives in the Bronx with his wife Lucy and granddaughter Liana Pachot.

By Keith T. (Kermit) Kerman and Sarah (Cria) Coleman

THIRTEEN YEARS AGO IN THE PLANT

(Thursday, January 12, 1989)

"STATE OF THE CITY" CONFERENCE

HELD AT CENTRAL PARK ZOO

Environmentalists from 35 local and national organizations jammed into the new Central Park Zoo School Theater yesterday to discuss the problems facing the city’s natural areas and build a network of advocacy groups to protect them.

A highlight of the conference, "The State of the City’s Environment, Part II," was the announcement by Parks and the Nature Conservancy, an international non-profit conservation group, of an agreement to monitor the city’s rare plant species under the Conservancy’s Natural Area Registry Program.

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

No house should ever be on any hill or on anything.
It should be of the hill, belonging to it, so hill and house could live

together each the happier for the other.

Frank Lloyd Wright
(1869-1959)

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