FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
NYC PARKS DEDICATES NEW PROPERTY IN SUNNYSIDE, QUEENS TO FALLEN FIREFIGHTER AND LOCAL HERO MICHAEL DAVIDSON
NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, and Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer today joined New York City Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro; New York State Assembly Member Brian Barnwell; New York State Assembly Member Edward Braunstein; New York State Assembly Member Catherine Nolan; Queens Community Board 2 District Manager Debra Markell-Kleinert; and the Davidson Family to dedicate the newly acquired property to FDNY Lieutenant Michael Davidson.
The purchase price of $2 million was provided through a $5.5 million allocation from City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer. The remaining $3.5 million has been set aside for park development. The acquisition adds a quarter acre of accessible parkland to the community and furthers Mayor de Blasio’s goal to bring 85 percent of New Yorkers within a walk to a park by 2030.
“We are pleased to welcome this property into NYC Parks’ community of public spaces,” said Commissioner Silver. “The newly renamed Michael Davidson Playground will serve as a place of remembrance of his bravery and contributions to this community. Michael Davidson’s legacy will continue to live on in the neighborhood and city that he so selflessly served.”
“Children need strong role models; people they can look up to and aspire to be like when they grow up. Lieutenant Michael Davidson was always that kind of role model,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro. “Thank you to Council Member Van Bramer, the Parks Department, and the residents of Sunnyside for their efforts to create this lasting tribute to Michael’s bravery. He served our city with pride and distinction, and we will never forget him.”
“Lt. Davidson was a hero,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer. “While I’m proud to have worked to bring funding to the Sunnyside and Woodside communities, I’m so deeply pleased that this park will forever bear the name of a fallen hero, one of our bravest, Lt. Michael Davidson. This acquisition will also activate a long dormant corner of Sunnyside and Woodside. There was a real and credible proposal to create an out of context development in the heart of Sunnyside Gardens at this location. I’m proud to have allocated the funding to acquire and renovate this land and thrilled it will be named after a local hero.”
Born in Queens, Michael Davidson was a proud New Yorker. The second-generation FDNY firefighter spent his entire 15-year career at Engine Company 69, Ladder 28; the same place his father spent his 26-year career. Davidson’s brother, Eric, also serves the city as a firefighter in the Bronx. Davidson’s childhood home is located across the street from the former Phipps Playground.
Located in Sunnyside, Queens, the former Phipps Playground served the residents of Phipps Houses complex until the 1990s. Phipps Houses sold the land to its former owner, DBH Associated LLC, in 2007 for $1.45 million, and it has sat vacant since the sale. NYC Parks acquired the property in September 2019 and will host a public scoping meeting in late winter 2020 to kick off the design phase and receive community feedback. Over the next three years, Lt. Michael A. Davidson Playground will be developed into a new recreational space for the Sunnyside community.