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Raymond Bush Playground

Park of the Month - October 2005

Raymond Bush Playground

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Raymond Bush Playground in Bushwick, Brooklyn is October’s Park of the Month. After decades of neglect, this formerly derelict, concrete site was transformed into a 1.8-acre athletic sanctuary in Bushwick, the heart of Brooklyn.

"Before this recent overhaul, Raymond Bush Playground was a desolate, crime-ridden concrete lot," said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. "It had little play equipment and was surrounded by concrete walls, allowing all sorts of illicit activity to take place. With $1.45 million, we transformed a run-down playground into one of Brooklyn’s finest, with rock-climbing walls for younger and older kids, built-in pogo sticks, and new trees and flowers. "

"Brooklyn kids only deserve the best," said Parks Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Julius Spiegel. "With this playground they finally got it. I may be biased, but I think this is the best playground in New York City."

On Monday, August 22, Commissioner Benepe joined Council Member Vann and Borough President Marty Markowitz, who funded the project, to cut the ribbon on the site. Formerly Putnam Playground, Raymond Bush now boasts totally new play equipment, a spray shower, safety surfacing, fences, and a synthetic turf sitting area. At the urging of Council Member Vann and the community, this playground today honors the memory of Raymond Bush (1924-2002), a veteran, local business owner, basketball coach, and community activist.

At neighborhood volunteer organization Soul in the Hole, Mr. Bush’s optimistic, warmhearted spirit drove him to take many neighborhood boys under his wing and treat them like they were his own sons. The youngsters who came to "Ray-B" hoping to become better basketball players walked away years later to discover they had become better people. He taught them self-respect, responsibility, and honesty. Many of the players Mr. Bush coached as children rose to become outstanding college players and some even starred in the NBA. Over the years, he helped countless young adults receive both academic and athletic scholarships.