THIS SEASON, FREE COATS FOR KIDS IN PARKS’ RECREATION CENTERS
Every year, more people visit New York City’s recreation centers. They come to shoot hoops, view performances, research on the internet, and meet friends. Since 1994, recreation center attendance has leapt from 1.6 million to 3.1 million. Better facilities and new programs attract kids and adults with a wide range of interests. Their presence ensures that the centers are lively, diverse places to spend time. At their best, Parks’ 36 recreation centers are magnets for community activity. Carmine, for example, has the highest attendance of any center and its pool was rated one of the best in the city by New York Magazine. Sports, arts, and education programs, as well as summer and winter festivals there keep kids active, learning and making friends.
This year, Neighborhood Cleaners Association proposed a collaboration that is a natural extension of Parks’ mission to provide safe places for kids. The organization is distributing free coats to children in need of warm clothes for the winter. The program, kicked off at J. J. Walker Park, home of Carmine Recreation Center on Thursday, October 18, will take place at several centers. The Neighborhood Cleaners Association, formed more than 50 years ago, has been organizing this giveaway, called Coats for Kids, for 16 years. In that time, they’ve distributed more than one million coats. They expect to donate almost 40,000 coats this year.
Commissioner Henry J. (StarQuest) Stern; Deputy Commissioner Robert (Iceman) Garafola, Nora Nealis, Executive Director of the Neighborhood Cleaners Association, and Jeffrey Sussman, President of Jeffrey Sussman Inc. spoke to a small group of students on the J. J. Walker ballfield to officially announce the partnership between Parks and the Neighborhood Cleaners Association.
PARKS CLEANS A MONUMENT TO FIREFIGHTERS PAST AND FUTURE
One of Manhattan’s monuments is of added significance today. The Firemen’s Memorial in Riverside Park was dedicated in 1913 "to our brave citizens who have lost or will sacrifice their lives in a war that never ends." Therefore, included among the honorees are the firefighters who died on September 11, 2001. Even six weeks later, the monument is the site of a makeshift shrine to those men. Between September 26 and September 28, nine conservators—Parks, City Parks Foundation, and Central Park Conservancy staff—performed extensive maintenance at the memorial. Ben Marcus, Martha (Spirit Hill) Seelenberger, John Cole, John Zimny, Victor Riddick, Sotha Kang, Yean "Jack" Khiev and volunteers Gawain Weaver and Carolina Rozenstroch performed the work, which included finishing and coating the massive bronze relief sculpture. They raked out old joints, and repointed more than 100 feet of masonry joints with a specially prepared mix of rose-colored mortar to match the pink marble. They removed algae growth and soil from the sculptures, cleaned the cornices, and removed large amounts of candle wax from the brick terrace. Head Consulting Conservator Mark (Lacuna) Rabinowitz donated his services for the three days of work.
The memorial, designed by H. Van Buren Magonigle, and sculpted by Attilio Piccirilli, faces the Hudson River at 100th Street. The memorial includes a staircase, a plaza, a fountain basin, and a central monument that shows horses drawing an engine to fire. Allegorical sculpture groups represent Duty and Sacrifice. Every fall, the Mayor, the Fire Commissioner, and his firefighters gather at the memorial to honor the men and women to whom it is dedicated. This event was scheduled for October 10, but was cancelled as the Fire Department has been overwhelmed with work and ceremonies since September 11.
THIRTEEN YEARS AGO IN THE PLANT
(Monday, October 24, 1988)
DESCENDENT OF NEWTON’S APPLE TREE PLANTED AT STUYVESANT SQUARE PARK
What goes up must come down, we all know, but why? Over 300 years after an apple fell off a tree and inspired Sir Isaac Newton to formulate the theory of universal gravitation, about 100 students from Stuyvesant High School and the Bronx High School of Science, educators and public officials gathered Friday morning at Stuyvesant Square Park in Manhattan to plant a sapling descended from the original Newton apple tree.
"A few weeks ago I received a call from Harry Thomas of Lincolnshire, England offering to plant a descendent of the original Newton apple tree in a New York City park," Commissioner Stern said, first donning a Bronx Science varsity swim team jacket, and then a Stuyvesant wrestling team jacket. "My first question was: ‘Are there really trees that are descendents of the original?’"
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"It’s a warm wind, the west wind, full of birds’ cries."
John Masefield (1878-1967)