The Daily Plant : Thursday, June 6, 2002
PARKS TOASTS COMPLETION OF "WINE MOUNTAIN"
As any kid will tell you these days, it is important to balance work and play. To demonstrate that equilibrium, Parks invited fourth graders from P.S. 81 in the Bronx to take a break from their busy school day and celebrate the reopening of Vinmont Veteran Park which is located near the school. Emceeing the event, however, Bronx Parks Commissioner Dotty Lewandowski made sure to throw in a few lessons about history, music, literature, and foreign language.
"This park was born on September 26, 1951, making it a half of a century old," said Lewandowski. "It shares its birthday with T.S. Eliot (1888) and George Gershwin (1898) who were both great writers, one of poems and one of music." The Commissioner, however, refrained from reciting The Waste Land or singing Porgy and Bess tunes. Rather, she let the kids demonstrate their own musical abilities. In addition to reciting the National Anthem, the children performed "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing" and "God Bless America."
"This park is in great condition for a 50-year-old," remarked Lewandowski. "Of course, it’s had some help from former Council Member June Eisland." Eisland, a long-time dedicated advocate for parks and playgrounds, funded the park’s $225,000 in improvements before leaving office this past year. The renovations—imagined by Parks Designer Paul Rube—included the rebuilding of several benches, the installation of fencing, the construction of colorful play units and swing areas for both small and large kids, the addition of beautiful bronze north arrow paver, the reconstruction of the spray shower area, and the planting of seven Japanese zelkovas. Resident Engineer Javier Torres of Abel, Bainsonn, & Butz ensured that all of Rube’s designs went as planned.
The Bronx Commissioner also taught the kids about the origin of the park’s name. In particular, she told them about Robert Weinberg, a man whose career exemplified the balance of work and play. Weinberg, who worked at the Parks Department during the 1930s as an architect and city planner, spent his working hours looking for places to build playgrounds. In 1987, the park received its current name as a tribute to Weinberg. "You might ask, ‘Why did we name it Vinmont if his name was Weinberg?’" said Lewandowski. She then taught the kids that "Weinberg" means "wine mountain" in German and that "Vinmont" means the same thing in French. In fact, many places in the neighborhood are named Vinmont, also after the Weinberg family.
Lewandowski elaborated on the theme of business and pleasure, promising that the park would always be staffed with Parks maintenance workers whose job would be to making sure the kids have fun in a safe and clean surrounding. Eisland, who spoke at the event in addition to Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and other Riverdale community members and City Officials, explained that she used to bring her own children to the playground. She also thanked the Parks Department for its commitment to keeping the playground staffed and for always fighting for children and green spaces in the Bronx.
After the ribbon cutting, students were eager to try out the playground’s new equipment. Before returning to class, the kids hit the new slides, swings, and play equipment. Their laughs signaled that Parks had done its homework.
Written by Eric Adolfsen
THIRTEEN YEARS AGO IN THE PLANT
(Thursday, June 15, 1989)
BETHESDA MUSICAL FEAST ON FATHER’S DAY
If you are thinking of celebrating Father’s Day with a walk in Central Park, stroll over to Bethesda Terrace, midpark at 72nd Street, where the Central Park Conservancy and the Sweet Feast Café are sponsoring a summer-long free music series beginning this Sunday at 10:30 a.m. Bring Dad and the whole family to relax and enjoy the green heart of Central Park with free juice, coffee and bagels and jazz and classical music.
Dan Levinson on saxophone will perform from 10:30 a.m. to noon and Joe Hrbeck and his Magical Jazz Quartet from noon to 2:00 p.m. You can enjoy a mix of jazz and classical selections by the Brass Extravaganza from 2 to 4:00 p.m.. Gordon Radford’s Fusion will entertain park goers from 4 to 6:00 p.m.
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"Sleep is the best meditation."
(b, June 6, 1935)