The Daily Plant : Monday, April 15, 2002
A BRONX HISTORY LESSON, A BAND AND A BRAND NEW PLAYGROUND
Last year, it was the Razor scooter. This past winter, it was the release of Grand Theft Auto III for PlayStation II. And now, the newest thing to bring smiles to sixth graders’ faces is the reopening of Mott Playground in the Bronx. On Thursday, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe joined Council Member Helen Foster, Community Board 4 Chair Ade Rasul, Borough Commissioner Dottie Lewandowski, and dozens of sixth grade students from the adjacent J.H.S. 22 in the Bronx to celebrate the rebirth of this playground.
The playground’s reconstruction was funded by Council Member Foster’s father, former Council Member Rev. Wendell Foster. Structural improvements included the construction of a new retaining wall, stairway, and handicap accessible ramp. For athletes, Landscape Architect Kai-Tai Lin installed brand new basketball backstops. He also repositioned the park’s handball court wall to make it fully visible from the street and more safe for kids to play in. Children can also enjoy colorful new play equipment and a brand new spray shower.
During his remarks, Commissioner Benepe taught children about how the Bronx and Mott Playground got their names. The Bronx, Benepe explained, is named after a sea captain named Jonas Bronck who bought over 500 acres of land there in 1639. Parks named Mott Playground in honor of Jordan L. Mott, a Bronx inventor who moved to the area in 1841. Mott, whose inventions include the anthracite coal-burning stove and the cupola furnace (but not the applesauce), "purchased a lot of land here and created a town named after a very important person—himself," according to Commissioner Benepe.
"Among you, there may be a few inventors. Perhaps there’s a future Parks Commissioner here—or a Mayor-to-be," said Benepe "Whatever each of you becomes, please remember to take care of your parks and your community. Who knows, one day there might be a river or a town or a playground named after you." And the kids were all smiles when Commissioner Benepe asked them if they wanted a playground named after themselves.
Highlighting the event were performances by the J.H.S. 22 Marching Band, led by Norman Person. Echoing through the streets, attendees and neighbors enjoyed outstanding renditions of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "She Works Hard For Her Money."
This ribbon-cutting marked the first major Bronx Parks event for Commissioner Benepe and Borough Commissioner Lewandowski. Its success offered a bright glimpse into future Bronx special events. That’s something that should bring smiles to everyone’s faces.
By Eric Adolfsen
THIRTEEN YEARS AGO IN THE PLANT
(Monday, April 24, 1989)
NEW YORKERS ASKED TO COME OUT
IN FORCE FOR NINTH GREEN-UP DAY
Parks invites all New Yorkers to help clean and green the city’s parks on the ninth annual Green-Up Day which will be held on Saturday, April 29 in parks and playgrounds in the five boroughs. The raindate is the following day.
"Every year, thousands of volunteers from hundreds of volunteer groups in all five boroughs clean, paint, and plant their neighborhood park, and we are asking for the same enthusiasm this year," said Commissioner Stern. Parks will provide shovels, rakes, brooms, paint and brushes for the volunteers in their day-long spruce-up.
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"Life well spent is long."
Leonardo Da Vinci
April 15, 1452–1519)