Van Cortlandt Park

The Daily Plant : Tuesday, September 4, 2001


Peter M. (Puck) Motta is Bronx's Employee of the Month for August. Puck joined Parks on January 18, 1982 and was promoted to SPMO in November 1998 while working in Van Cortlandt Park. In February 2001 Puck moved to his current post in District 8 which includes Riverdale Park. Puck's hard work has helped the district achieve 100% cleanliness ratings and 94.7% overall condition ratings so far in 2001. Puck has made a special effort to quickly address constituent concerns and works closely with District 8's Partnerships groups. Attentive and professional, Puck has made a valuable contribution to the Bronx. He was nominated by Bill (Zorro) Castro.

Jean (Savy) Mercier is Brooklyn's Employee of the Month for August. Savy joined Parks on January 16, 1990 as a CPW. In 1999, he was promoted to WEP crew chief. He currently works in District 17, which includes Amersfort Park. Savy and his crew maintain 23 ratable sites, and their dedication has enabled the district to achieve 96.3% cleanliness and 92.6% overall ratings so far in 2001. Savy also takes on special projects like a recent clean-up effort at Wyckoff House, Parks' oldest Historic House, and he helped with ribbon cutting preparations at Paerdegat Park. Savy is also qualified to remove medical waste. Enthusiastic, friendly and capable, Savy was nominated by Art (Acer) DeCesario and John (The Barber) Fioravante.

Aleksandra (Olcha) Szefke is Capital Projects' Employee of the Month for August. Olcha joined Parks on June 22, 1998. She earned her Landscape Architecture License in 1999 and currently works as a Project Manager in Landscape Architecture. Olcha works on constructing and redesigning parks and playgrounds throughout the city, including William F. Moore Park in Queens and Pratt Playground in Brooklyn. Earlier this year, Olcha won a New York City Art Commission Award for Excellence in Design for her work on the $1.1 million reconstruction of McKibben Park in Brooklyn, which utilized laser-cut steel fence to depict city scenes. Imaginative and skilled, Olcha was nominated by David (Landscape) Carlson.

Victor M. (Laborer) Pena is Citywide Services' Employee of the Month for August. Laborer joined Parks on May 22, 1967 and is currently the only person in the Laborer civil service title at Parks. Laborer works out of 5-Boro shops where he operates Parks sewer trucks and performs heavy digging duties. Laborer was been instrumental in a recent Parks initiative to ensure that all water fountains are operational. He also performs catch basin and sewer cleaning citywide, vital components of our fight against the West Nile virus. While all other Laborers retired in 2000, Victor chose to continue his service to Parks. For his skill and dedication, Laborer was nominated by Artie (Stallion) Rollins and Bill (Shuttle) Shutte.

Yu-Lun (Formosa) Huang is Management's Employee of the Month for August. Formosa joined Parks on April 10, 2000 and currently works as a Database Analyst at MIS. Formosa is Parks Microsoft Access expert, and advises and assists various units at Parks with development and maintenance of Access databases. Formosa recently helped PACT update their database for tracking participants. She has also worked on projects for Revenue, Operations, Recreation, Budget and StarQuest's Office. Databases have now become a standard part of administrative life, joining e-mail, word-processing, and spreadsheets. Formosa is helping Parks make this transition. Skilled and customer oriented, she was nominated by Marty (Pass) Brenner and Andrew (Digital) Nicklin.

Christopher (Robin Hood) Caropolo is Manhattan's Employee of the Month for August. Robin Hood joined Parks on April 13, 1993. He has served many roles in Recreation, including Center Manager at East 54th St and Deputy Manager at Asser Levy. He currently works as Deputy Chief of Recreation for Manhattan. Recently Robin Hood instituted a new program to monitor time and leave usage and staff conduct at Manhattan Recreation Centers. He has also helped improve the facilities by creating a boro-wide dedicated mobile crew to address maintenance and repair needs at the centers. Robin Hood's initiatives have helped Manhattan Recreation Centers score a 3.95 "Good" in the last round of inspections, above the city average of "Satisfactory." Robin Hood was an early Manhattan Employee of the Month in September of 1994 [before the agency-wide program began in November, 1994]. He was nominated by Adrian (A-Train) Benepe and Chris (Horizon) Clouden.

Ismael (Free Flow) Collazo is Queens' Employee of the Month for August. Free Flow joined Parks with the PACT program, worked seasonally for many years, and became full time on March 22, 1999. He currently works as a CPW at Queens Shops where he assists tradesmen. This summer, Free Flow has worked closely with Queens plumbers to care for Liberty, Fisher and Astoria Pools. His knowledge of various tools allows him to support the trades staff ably and quickly, and he often goes above and beyond to help get jobs done. Free Flow demonstrates quick thinking and good judgement whether he is out on assignment, or ensuring the shop is clean and secure. For his service to Queens, Free Flow was nominated by Richard (Ricardo) Murphy and Greg (Castle Keeper) Monaghan.

Ismael (Dr. Fence) Campos is Staten Island's Employee of the Month for August. Dr. Fence joined Parks on April 16, 2000 and currently works as a CPW in District 2, which includes La Tourette and Willow Brook Parks. Dr. Fence performs park maintenance and cleaning. He also assists with the installation of chain link fencing. His hard work and attention to ratable features have helped District 2 achieve Overall Condition ratings of 90.1% and Cleanliness ratings of 91.2%. An effective new field worker in Staten Island, Dr. Fence was nominated by Geraldine (Outlaw) Lawless.

Sarah (Ground Zero) Kay is the Commissioner's Employee of the Month for August. Ground Zero joined Parks on June 5, 2000. She began as an assistant to Madeira, where she ably managed a small army of new Parks interns. In October 2000, Ground Zero was appointed our Director of Recruitment. Since then, she has successfully recruited more new Parkies to more divisions than in recent years. Under her leadership, more than 60 talented recruits have joined Parks this year through the Class of 2001. Ground Zero maintains close contact with staff and division heads to make sure that work assignments are successful. She also produces monthly events like intern and new employee receptions, and Beach Day which attracted a record number of Parkies this year. For her dedication and success in expanding the Parks family, Ground Zero was nominated by Bob (Mizzou) Lawson.

By Keith T. (Kermit) Kerman and Sarah (Cria) Coleman


(Monday, August 29, 1988)


As part of the Sister City Program, Capital Projects has designed a six-acre park for the International Garden in Cairo, Egypt which will open next year. The Central Park-like landscape will include World's Fair benches, standard Central Park lampposts, a kiosk, pipe-rail fence, and meandering paths shaded by New York City's most resilient street trees. The design was prepared by Landscape Architect Dorrie Rosen with the help of Landscape Architects Nancy Owens and George Vellonakis.


"The right people in the right jobs."

Otto von Bismarck

Directions to Van Cortlandt Park

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