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Sunset Park

The Daily Plant : Thursday, August 7, 2003

PARK DEDICATED IN HONOR OF PEÑA AND HERERRA FAMILIES


In a moving ceremony held a day after the two year anniversary of the deaths of four people in Brooklyn, P.S. 1 Playground was renamed Peña Herrera Park. The four people, Maria Herrera, her son Andy, her unborn son, and her sister Dilcia Peña were tragically killed by a former police officer who was driving drunk on August 4, 2001.

The park is located in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn, just one block from the site of the fatal crash. Prior to the ceremony, family members and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg lit candles in memory of the victims where people have been placing flowers and lighting candles since the accident. Family at the ceremony included Maria Herrera and Dilcia Peña’s mother, Maria Altagracia Peña, their brothers Elvin, Adalberto and Silvestre Peña, Maria Herrera’s husband Victor Herrera and Ramona Hernandez, an aunt.

At the rededication ceremony, held in front of the play equipment that young Andy Herrera once played on with his father, Mayor Bloomberg was joined at the renaming ceremony by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, City Council Speaker Gifford Miller, City Council Member Sara Gonzales, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, State Senator Serphin Maltese, and Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez.

"The deaths of the four members of the Peña and Herrera families by a drunk driver was a tragedy that sent waves of sorrow and outrage throughout Sunset Park and every neighborhood in our city," said Mayor Bloomberg. "This park, a joyful place where thousands of neighborhood children play each day, will now bear the name of the Peña and Herrera families and will be a place for loved ones, friends, and fellow New Yorkers to gather and reflect on those we lost and the potential each of their lives represented."

"The Peña Herrera name will, hereafter, be engraved indelibly in this neighborhood," said Commissioner Benepe. "By renaming this park after these families, we ensure that the Peña and Herrera names will be associated with beauty and joy."

Peña Herrera Park is located on Third Avenue, between 46th and 47th Streets. It was formerly known as P.S. 1 Playground and adjoins the Bergen School, also known as P.S. 1. At the ceremony, students from the school performed msuic from atop the play equipment. Parks & Recreation first received the land in 1958 and the park opened in 1968. In 2000, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani sponsored a $72,000 renovation that replaced the play equipment and safety surfacing. Other features of the park include basketball and handball courts, swings, a spray shower, and a comfort station.

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

"As a white candle

In a holy place,

So is the beauty

Of an aged face."

Joseph Campbell

(1881-1944)

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