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Lost Battalion Hall Recreation Center

The Daily Plant : Thursday, February 8, 2001

CHESS NUTS JOIN BUGLERS AND BALLHANDLERS AT AL SMITH


Parks' 35 recreation centers make great sports arenas, but a few are fast becoming forums where athletes channel their discipline into new activities. Sunday, February 4, the activity of choice was chess. Parks and our nonprofit partner, Chess-in-the-Schools, collaborated to stage a high-stakes, high-spirited tournament. 120 City kids, aged 6-13 applied the sportsmanship of the basketball player and the strategizing of the math whiz to five hours of rounds. In this way, the sober game of chess came to the bustling Al Smith Recreation Center where variety in programming is the norm.

In her enthusiasm for the tournament, Al Smith Center Manager Rosemary (Chispa) Tavarez observed, "You don't have to have a physical activity to learn strategy and sportsmanship. Chess can strengthen individuality. Through this tournament, our kids get to meet kids from other schools." The benefits are numerous and across town in the Arsenal, Parkies agree. At least one Parkie there is a chess maven. Ed (Bullets) Feldman, Chief of Staff of Budget, who helped organize the tournament, has been playing since he was 7, and competing in tournaments since college. He worked with chief director and organizer of the tournament, Jay (Knight Pawn) Steenhuis to set up this year's event and a similar one last year at Lost Battalion Hall in Queens.

At the conclusion of the tournament, Commissioner Henry J. (StarQuest) Stern "knighted" the winners with awards. The winners were: Oscar Santana in the Championship section; Kevin Sukhoo, Erick Cruz, and Ashagre Minibiyew in the Junior High Novice; Jonathan Reyes, Erica Sanchez, and Kmioverny Fernandez in the Elementary Novice; and Jaime Rivera in the Non-Rated Beginner section. Congratulations to them. All the participants, having fused the attitude of an athlete with the mindset of a scholar, were deemed kings and queens of the game.

While chess nuts were staring down the pieces in silence, a marching band was bugling in the basement. The Cadets of New York have rehearsed every Sunday from 2-6 for the last two years, blowing on horns, drumming on tables, and choreographing on the dance floor. Thursday nights from 6:30 to 8:30 young women study cardio kickboxing, and Mondays from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. children study under NY1 New Yorker of the week, Karate teacher Nathan Ingram. Musicians bring their instruments to record on Al Smith's 8 track Friday nights and poets slam there each month.

THIRTEEN YEARS AGO IN THE PLANT
(Tuesday, February 16, 1988)

$2,000 REWARD OFFERED FOR STATEN ISLAND DUCK KILLER

The National non-profit organization United Action for Animals recently offered $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of the killer of 11 Staten Island ducks-doubling the total reward to $2,000. The Parks Department put up a $1,000 reward two weeks ago, shortly after PS Al Prado first reported the slaughter near Willowbrook Pond on Staten Island. "The slaughtered ducks, which were tame, probably expected to be fed," said Commissioner Stern.

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

"No human being is innocent, but there is a class of innocent human actions called Games."

W.H. Auden (1907-1973)

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