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Bronx Park

The Daily Plant : Friday, December 29, 2000


Performers and proud parents sat at opposite sides of the room Friday night, December 15. On the gymnasium's stage were 6, 7, and 8 year olds costumed as strawberries and carrots, central characters in The Very Hungry Caterpillar. In the audience parents and friends were poised to enjoy the year's first showcase of the Jackie Robinson Recreation Center's Enhanced Afterschool Program, a model experiment, taking place with support from the Turn Two Foundation. In this context, enhanced means that Central Recreation has enlisted drama, dance, visual art, and education professionals to design and deliver arts curriculum to neighborhood kids. This model, in its second year, demands much from the kids, who have the opportunity to meet every weekday and holidays. Almost 200 kids are registered, and on any given day, between 80 and 100 attend. The program's intensity and the input of arts specialists make the Enhanced Afterschool Program a valuable supplement to the schoolday. With this program, children have the opportunity to participate in an ongoing arts project they can be proud of.

The evening of the 15th marked the end of phase one. This term, dance students improvised their walk home from school. Consultant Leah Squires pieced these into a dance, built from the kids' original compositions, unified by her birds' eye perspective on the work. The Delta Doves, guest performers at last year's State of the Parks energized the audience, and two kids conquered their nerves and read poetry to the crowd. Leading the 62 performers were Rosemarie Hochschild, Drama Consultant; Leah Squires, Dance Consultant; Jennifer Jarrell; Visual Art Consultant; and Larry Simmons, Education Consultant. The year will be divided into three terms, each punctuated by a presentation. For the 8-12 year olds, that means a new installment in their continuing work on the musical Serafina!

From the moment visitors entered the building at Bradhurst Avenue and 145th Street in Manhattan, they were met with the kids' art to date. A visual art display in the lobby showed the progression of their work from figure drawing to 3D drawings, to plaster sculpture. Center Manager and skilled emcee Jackie (Nightingale) Rowe-Adams welcomed everyone into the gymnasium, where under the shadows of basketball nets, stories unfolded: the stories of Serafina! and The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and the story of an afterschool program transformed. Among those cheering on the performers were staff and kids from recreation centers around the city. Their presence was a boost to spirits and a testament to the closeness that Recreations programs can foster. Dot Jeter and Lisa Shapiro of the Turn Two Foundation, Deputy Commissioner for Management and Recreation Robert (Iceman) Garafola, Chief of Manhattan Recreation Chris (Horizon) Clouden, Deputy Chief of Manhattan Recreation Chris (Robin Hood) Carapolo, Afterschool Coordinator for Manhattan Divina Moore and many friends settled into their seats and watched the evening unfold. At one point, emcee Rowe-Adams had the crowd singing Jingle Bells between acts. She and her staff, including Deputy Manager of the Center Shiela Legall, afterschool coordinators Wanda Mojica, Cici Pickney, Ellery Armstrong, and Shaun James, worked alongside Citywide Afterschool Coordinator Debbie (Polyester) Weiss and the consultants to create a beautiful presentation and a strong program.

(Thursday, December 31, 1987)


Boys and girls ages 7-13! Come in front the cold to Bronx Parks & Recreation's free Wonderful Winter Workshops on Sundays, January 3 and February 7. Arts and crafts, face painting, puppet making, magic shows and exhibits are guaranteed to help warm the bones.


"The thing about performance, even if it's only an illusion, is that it is a celebration
of the fact that we do contain within ourselves infinite possibilities."

Daniel Day-Lewis (b. 1957)

Directions to Bronx Park

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