Carl Schurz Park
The Daily Plant : Wednesday, July 3, 2002
A PLAYGROUND FOR ALL CHILDREN, BY ALL CHILDREN
If you’re a fan of the new designs for Playground Seventy in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, you have more people to thank than Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe or Parks’ playground designers. The playground, which is about to undergo a $1.1 million reconstruction, took many of its design cues from students, teachers, and parents from the adjacent P.S. 199. Last Tuesday, Commissioner Benepe joined Council Member Gail Brewer, Amy Barzac of Boundless Playgrounds, and about 1,000 kids from the school to celebrate the once-and-future Playground Seventy. The playground, a long-time retreat for both schoolchildren and other kids in the neighborhood, will now serve as a Playground For All Children with equipment that every child can enjoy regardless of their abilities.
"No one was short of ideas for this playground," said Commissioner Benepe. In reinventing this playground, Parks Landscape Architect Claire Dudley (who is responsible for accessible playgrounds in every borough) worked closely with parents, students, and faculty to dream up a park that would be both educational and accessible. Teachers asked that the spray shower have a map of the United States painted on its concrete so that kids can learn geography while they cool off. The community wanted the comfort station to be revamped and its entrances made handicap-accessible. And parents hoped that the basketball courts be outfitted with adjustable basketball backstops so that every child (even those in wheelchairs) might have a shot at making a three-pointer. Addressing the possibility of all these requests, Commissioner Benepe claimed, "Consider it done."
Other planned improvements include the creation of a Children’s Garden with several accessible bridges running across it, the installation of accessible picnic tables, the construction of a street-side garden facing 70th Street, and the repaving and colorseal-coating of the asphalt baseball area. Parks will also add several swings with a variety of accessible seats, including a swing seat and a molded plastic seat with both head and leg supports.
"The school year may have ended, but our work here has just begun," said Commissioner Benepe. "And when this playground is finished, there will be work for you kids, too." After a pause Benepe finished, "Each of you will be required to have fun."
Of the project’s total funding, $800,000 came from the City Council and $300,000 came from Borough President C. Virginia Fields. And when work is completed next spring, kids will have a unique chance to play in a transformed playground that they helped rebuild.
Written by Eric Adolfsen
THEY’VE GOT GAME
It’s "Nothing But Net" this summer at 10 playgrounds around the five boroughs. Organized by Parks’ Hansborough Recreation Center and sponsored by Coca Cola, JPMorgan Chase, White Castle, Crown Trophy, and Duane Reed, Citywide Hoops 4 Kids provides boys and girls ages 7 to 12 both basketball instruction and real-world guidance. "480 children will have the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of basketball from qualified Parks coaches," said program director Al Peterson. In addition to basketball lessons, representatives from the NYPD, the FDNY, and the Urban Park Rangers will teach children about drug prevention, fire safety, ecology, and nature. According to co-director Marc Rogers, "many of the children are already looking forward to being chosen for the All-Star games scheduled for August 9." Anyone interested in registering their child can contact the program’s hotline at (212) 234-9600.
THIRTEEN YEARS AGO IN THE PLANT
(Wednesday, July 12, 1989)
HOLY HOPPING HOMO SAPIENS!
Some leaders tell you to "Read my lips." Others say, "Watch my hips." Aerobics guru Jorge Alzerreca gave that very command at his sunrise exercise class, held early yesterday in Carl Schurz Park on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
Clad in red running shorts and a T-shirt, Alzerreca, a former gymnast, led to his disciples through a 45-minute routine more familiar to the Central Park Zoo than to Carl Schurz Park. Students hopped around and swung their arms in the air, while Alzerreca encouraged his sweaty flock and adjusted foot placements and postures. No matter that the huffing and puffing nearly drowned the strains of "Feel the Energy," "Let Me Take You Dancing," "So Many Men…So Little Time," and other aerobics hits that blasted on Alzerreca’s boom box.
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"Age is a very high price to pay for maturity."
(b. July 3, 1937)