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Rev Lena Irons Unity Park

The Daily Plant : Tuesday, November 19, 2002

BRONX COMES TOGETHER IN UNITY PARK: RENOVATION IMPROVES THE PARK


Community leaders, Parks officials, and neighborhood residents gathered together to celebrate the reopening of Reverend Lena Irons Unity Park in Queens on Friday, November 15. This small park, just .342 acres, was once a spot full of garbage. Thanks to Parks Designer Dorothy Bothwell and other Parkies involved in the project, it is now a quiet park full of shaded benches and soft grass.

There were so many in attendance at the ribbon cutting ceremony that they spilled out of the chairs and onto the grassy areas of the park, demonstrating the solid community support for the park. Those who joined Commissioner Adrian Benepe were Assembly Member Gloria Davis, Council Member Helen Diane Foster, former Council Member Wendell Foster, Jonathan Irons (son of Reverend Lena Irons), Parks Chair of Community Board 3 Leroy Archible, and Bronx Borough Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski.

Most of the park renovation, totaling $989,000, was funded by former Council Member Foster and additional $91,000 was provided by the Mayor’s Office. His daughter, Helen Diane Foster, is the current Council Member in her father’s former district and continued to support the project.

Reverend Lena Irons Unity Park has been renovated to include a grass stage area and seating. There is a water runnel feature that includes engraved artistic fish renderings and a small map identifying Bronx rivers. Neighbors can enjoy a variety of performances under a beautiful cottonwood tree. Two seating terraces will allow local residents to enjoy the new plantings designed to be a study area for plants. There are checker tables to entertain parkgoers and a drinking fountain and new benches to refresh them.

On December 17, 2001, Unity Park was renamed Reverend Lena Irons Unity Park. Reverend Lena Irons (1968-2000) devoted her life to the preservation, development, and realization of Unity Park.

She was the pastor of the Evangelical Church, the organization that owned most of the parcels that make up the park.

"Irons’ advocacy began with weekend clean-up efforts but expanded to include a huge group of community leaders and volunteers who dedicated themselves to the maintenance and beautification of Unity Park," said Commissioner Benepe.

The ceremony at Unity Park united people from across the Bronx and New York City. Students from P.S. 42 and P.S. 132 entertained the audience with musical performances and tribute was paid to the late Reverend Irons, who worked so tirelessly to turn Unity Park into the gem it is today.

WELCOME, MEGAN SHEEKEY

Parks has a new Director of Public Information. Megan Sheekey joins us from Mayor Bloomberg’s Press Office in City Hall. If you have any questions regarding press-related issues please contact Megan at (212) 360-1311. Welcome, Megan!

THIRTEEN YEARS AGO IN THE PARK

(Tuesday, November 28, 1989)

NATURE TAKES REVENGE IN BATTERY PARK

People passing Battery Park lately have had the rare opportunity of watching public art in the making. It began in the middle of October with a rusting, green Volkswagon Beetle sitting on the grass. As the weeks passed the decrepit car slowly sprouted twigs and branches. And now, the composition of machinery and greenery is about to be unveiled as the latest outdoor exhibit in Parks’ temporary public art program.

The sculpture, entitled Excess Volatility, was created by artist Jerilea Zemple. The project represents nature overtaking man-made culture, a process the artist calls "rustication." The exhibition is co-sponsored by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, a non-profit organization founded in 1973 to present performances and public art in lower Manhattan.

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

"In war, you can only be killed once, but in politics, many times."

Winston Churchill

(1874-1965)

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