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St. John's Recreation Center

The Daily Plant : Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Buddy Keaton Honored With New Field At St. John’s

Photo by Malcolm Pinckney

On Tuesday, August 9, Commissioner Adrian Benepe joined Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, City Council Member Al Vann, family members of James “Buddy” Keaton, members of Brooklyn Community Board 8 and kids from Brooklyn Recreation Centers to cut the ribbon on the new $2.8 million Buddy Keaton Field at St. John’s Park and dedicate the field to beloved Brooklyn figure and Parks employee James “Buddy” Keaton.

Before the event, attendees joined Commissioner Benepe to form a tree watering "bucket brigade" and give their neighborhood trees some much-needed water.

Thanks to funding from Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC asphalt to turf initiative, this once cracked and rutted asphalt space is now a state-of-the-art, approximately 2-acre, synthetic turf multipurpose field. In addition to the field, the project also included new baseball backstops, a portable pitchers mound, portable soccer goals, seating and fencing. The field was designed by consultant designer Abel, Bainnson and Butz. The resident engineer was Rohan Mendis and the project manager was Shirley Kindler-Penzi. The contractor was William A. Gross Construction.

It is dedicated to Buddy Keaton, the former Director of Sports Programs for Brooklyn Recreation, who passed away in July 2010 after 24 years of service at Parks. Buddy started his Parks career working at the adjacent St. John’s Recreation Center where he was widely known as a coach, mentor and community leader. After the ribbon cutting, attendees were treated to a song honoring Buddy sung by children from the Herbert Von King Cultural Arts Center, and food prepared by children and volunteers from Von King’s culinary program.

Song Sung by Children from the Von King Cultural Arts Center,
to the tune of “Yesterday.”

Lyrics by Deborah Britt, Von King Community Coordinator

Yesterday in our hearts you have a special place.
That is why we are here today, oh, oh
We believe in yesterday.
Buddy, we wish you didn’t have to go
There are those of us who love you so, oh, oh
We believe in yesterday.
Yesterday in our hearts you have a special place.
That is why we are here today, oh, oh
We believe in yesterday.
It’s gonna be a brand new day,
It’s gonna be a brand new time.
We got to get it together
Everything is gonna be alright.
(sing verse twice)
Lead: Buddy we miss your smiling face
There’s nobody who can take your place.
You touched so many people
And helped to pave the way,
That’s why they’re naming
The field after you today.
Background: It’s gonna be a brand new day. It’s gonna be a brand new time.
We got to get it together.
Everything is gonna be alright.
(sing verse twice)
We believe in yesterday.


“I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas.
I’m frightened of the old ones.”

John Cage
(1912 – 1992)

Directions to St. John's Recreation Center

Know Before You Go

ParkSt. John's Recreation Center

The seating area in the playground behind St. John's Recreation Center will be renovated and the seats have been removed. This project will reconstruct the outdoor sitting area adjacent to the recreation center in St. John’s Park. The sitting area will act as the central hub for the many recreational activities the park offers, as well as a place for rest and passive recreation. In addition to views of the colorful mural on the center’s wall, park goers will enjoy new benches, fencing, picnic tables, game tables and chairs, a drinking fountain, flowering trees and various ornamental plantings.
Anticipated Completion: Summer 2015

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