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Thomas Paine Park

The Daily Plant : Monday, November 8, 2010

Park In Tribeca Renamed In Memory Of Activist Albert Capsouto

Commissioner Benepe joined elected and community officials to rename a Tribeca Park in honor of local activist Albert Capsouto.
Malcolm Pinckney

Last month, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe joined State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, State Senator Daniel Squadron, State Assembly Member Deborah Glick, City Council Member Margaret Chin, Community Board 1 Chair Julie Menin, Executive VP of NYCEDC Madelyn Wils, Downtown Alliance President Liz Berger, and members of Albert Capsouto’s family including his brothers Jacques and Samuel, to rename the park at the intersection of Canal, Varick and Laight Streets in memory of the late Tribeca community activist, Albert Capsouto.

“Albert Capsouto was a devoted and beloved member of his community who worked relentlessly in a deeply personal way to ensure federal assistance for small businesses and retailers in the tragic wake of 9/11,” said Commissioner Benepe. “The creation of this park is part of efforts to create and refurbish green spaces in lower Manhattan, with the support of HUD and LMDC. With lush plantings, new benches and a centerpiece fountain, designed by local artist Elyn Zimmerman, the park is a welcome addition to the community and a fitting tribute to Mr. Capsouto’s commitment to his friends, neighbors and colleagues in lower Manhattan.”

Albert Capsouto, who passed away in January at the age of 53, was a pioneer in the post-9/11 revitalization of the Tribeca community. A co-owner of the Capsouto Freres Bistro on Washington Street, he advocated for small businesses and was a longtime member of Community Board 1. Capsouto’s work was instrumental in the neighborhood’s rezoning, which contributed to the community’s growth and revitalization.

The park opened in 2009 as CaVaLa Park – named for its location at the intersection of Canal, Varick and Laight Streets. The $3.4-million park was funded by a $2.4 million grant from HUD, allocated by the LMDC, in addition to $500,000 from the Paul and Irma Milstein Foundation, and $556,000 from the Office of the Mayor.

Parks Capital Designer Gail Wittwer-Laird and SoHo artist Elyn Zimmerman designed the park with contemporary art and detailing, while paying homage in its structure and layout to some of Manhattan’s oldest pocket parks. The design was given an award for Excellence in Design from the New York City Public Design Commission in 2007.

A 114-foot long sculptural fountain by Elyn Zimmerman bisects the interior space. Water spills from an 8-foot tower into a series of stepped “locks” evoking the canal that once flowed along the Canal Street. A sunning lawn rises up to meet the fountain from the south and granite seat walls adorn the fountain to the north.


COMMISSIONER BENEPE JOINS NEW YORKERS FOR PARKS’ DAFFODIL PROJECT TO PLANT BULBS IN MEMORY OF 9/11 VICTIMS

On October 26, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe joined New Yorkers for Parks’ Daffodil Project and employees from Zurich in North America to plant bulbs in Thomas Paine Park in memory of four Zurich employees who lost their lives in the tragic events of 9/11. Commissioner Benepe and New Yorkers for Parks’ (NY4P) board member Lynden B. Miller co-founded the Daffodil Project in the weeks following 9/11 to serve as a living memorial for the victims of 9/11 and to offer New Yorkers the chance to revitalize their communities.

The Zurich employees were all recipients of the company's annual KAMP Award, which the company created in 2002 to memorialize four Zurich colleagues who died on 9/11. KAMP, developed by a special employee committee, is a name derived from the colleagues’ last names. The company considers it representative of the spirit, courage, dedication, integrity and passion that were integral characteristics of their extraordinary friends and associates: John Keohane, Peggy Alario, Kathy Moran and Lud Picarro.

“We greatly appreciated the opportunity to work with EarthShare, New Yorkers for Parks and the New York Parks Department,” said Jillian Walsh, Director of Corporate Giving and Community Relations for Zurich in North America. “Planting daffodils as a living legacy to our four colleagues we lost on 9/11 was an especially meaningful way to remember them on this ninth anniversary. We all enjoyed getting dirty and planting the bulbs that will bring a little joy to New Yorkers lunching in Foley Square each spring.”

To date, NY4P has distributed four million bulbs free to New Yorkers across all five boroughs to plant in our parks and public spaces. The daffodil was chosen for this project because they are yellow, which is the color of remembrance; they come back every spring, as a sign of renewal; and they are hardy. The daffodil was named the official flower of the city by Mayor Bloomberg in 2007. To find out more about NY4P, visit http://www.ny4p.org/.

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
“The trouble with being punctual is that nobody’s there to appreciate it.”
Franklin P. Jones
(1908 - 1980)

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