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Poe Park

The Daily Plant : Thursday, May 16, 2002

POE PARK REOPENS AFTER $1.2 MILLION RECONSTRUCTION


Latin Jazz music filled the windy air in the Fordham neighborhood of the Bronx at the ribbon cutting ceremony for Poe Park on Tuesday, May 14. This 2.3-acre park received a makeover totaling $1.2 million. Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe enjoyed the new park with Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr., City Council Majority Leader Joel Rivera, and Bronx Parks Commissioner Dotty Lewandowski.

Poe Park, named after esteemed American poet and author, has been recently updated with new play equipment and safety surfacing, asphalt pavements, steel bar fencing, drainage, park benches, and trees and shrubs. A majority of the project ($1.034 million) was funded by former Council Member Jose Rivera. $80,000 was funded by former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer.

The current Bronx Borough President, Adolfo Carrion Jr., was on hand to celebrate this neighborhood park. He spoke of the Bronx as a great borough that needs to see more attention and funding being given to it in ways like this project at Poe Park. Joel Rivera, Jose Rivera’s son, also spoke. Jose Rivera is now a State Assemblyman and Joel has followed in his father’s footsteps, becoming a council member himself. It was clear on Tuesday that Joel Rivera felt a strong connection to the Fordham neighborhood and the Bronx in general.

Poe Park is the grounds for the historic Edgar Allan Poe Cottage. Built in 1812, Poe lived in the cottage in 1846 with his wife, Virginia. The Poe’s were escaping to the countryside of the Bronx in an attempt to cure Virginia’s tuberculosis. They rented the little house for just $100 a year.

Edgar Allan Poe was a poet and also the creator of the American Gothic tale. He is most famous for his works entitled "The Raven," "Berenice," and "The Fall of the House of Usher." During his remarks, Commissioner Benepe read an excerpt from "The Raven," entertaining the school children with his interpretation.

The Poe Cottage actually stands 450 feet north of its original location. In 1913 it was moved upon the widening of Kingsbridge Road. The park opened to the public in 1902, making this year its 100th birthday. Many outdoor music concerts were held in the park in its early years, especially after the bandstand was constructed in 1925. On Tuesday, Andy Gonzalez and the Latin Jazz Lab entertained guests from the bandstand. The school band from P.S. 246 played a rendition of "When the Saints Go Marching In" and "The National Anthem."

Commissioner Benepe said of the newly reconstructed Poe Park, "this park can now serve as an outdoor classroom for children. A place where they can learn of the history of this esteemed American poet and of this great borough." This history lesson is taught with the help of the Historic House Trust, a nonprofit group working in partnership with Parks to preserve and promote historic house museums located on Parks property. There are 20 such houses, including Poe Cottage, that are open to the public. Poe Cottage offers visitors a glimpse of this literary figure’s life in the rural Bronx of the 19th century.

SUCCESSFUL BLOOD DRIVE IN ARSENAL GALLERY

On May 7 and 8, 172 prospective donors presented themselves for the biannual Blood Drive for Manhattan, the three Arsenals, and Central Park Conservancy. A total of 143 donations were recorded. 29 Parkies were turned away for one reason or another—lack of identification, low hemoglobin, the sniffles. The target of 150 donations was almost met, thanks to the coordinators’ impressive efforts. The following is a break-down of donations:

Manhattan: 54
Arsenal: 25
Central Park Conservancy: 25
Arsenal West: 23
Arsenal North: 6
5-Boro: 5
Undocumented: 5

Many thanks to Veronica Llanos (Manhattan), Tarice Harris (Arsenal West), and Nadieje (Central Park Conservancy). Veronica, Tarice, and her Benefits staff volunteered during both days to ensure a smooth operation at the sign-in table and at the canteen.

Written by Hedi Piel, Blood Drive Chairman

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

"You know that bank I used to cry all the way to? I bought it."

Liberace
(May 16, 1919-1987)

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