Colgate Close

The Daily Plant : Tuesday, September 18, 2001


A 25 by 12-foot American flag flies above the New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. In Williamsburg’s smallest green space a cluster of candles burns. The Greenbelt carousel ran continuously last week, providing its services on an emergency basis for Staten Island families seeking refuge into fantasy and play.

Across New York City people are gathering in parks to grieve and express their patriotism. In planned and spontaneous fashion, green spaces are playing a central role in the recovery of New Yorkers from Tuesday’s tragedy.

For Sunday, September 16, the Prospect Park Alliance organized a Day of Caring. Volunteers posted at every entrance to the park collected donations for three City-sponsored emergency funds. $5,000 in contributions were collected as guests streamed in from every neighborhood. Also at the park entrances, large rolls of butcher block paper were unfurled and pens and markers distributed among families wishing to articulate their thoughts in words and image. Their work was posted on French barricades in the Nethermead at the center of the park, and at 5:00 p.m., over 500 participants were summoned together by a school bell. The crowd observed ten minutes of silence and then broke into songs from Amazing Grace to This Land is Your Land. The Prospect Park Alliance planned the vigil in record time, having begun work Friday morning and papering the neighborhood with flyers that afternoon. Some of the group-made murals are still posted in the park, and select entrances have been adorned with flowers and candles.

On the other side of the county line, a crowd of 3,000 gathered in Queens’ Juniper Valley Park. They heard God Bless America, Born in the USA, and a reading of the Gettysburg Address. Individuals from the community spoke and candles were lit all across the ballfield. Then en masse, the group processed to a Maspeth firehouse to pay their respects to their friends and public servants there.

In every corner of public space, similar rituals are emerging. In Manhattan, vigil sites have included Central Park, Thomas Jefferson Park, Fort Tryon Park, Inwood Hill Park, and Union Square Park.



P.S. 152 has a new neighbor. Colgate Close Park, named for its placement between Colgate and Close Avenues in the Bronx, was an unused concrete lot not long ago. Today, it’s got a baseball field, which has already been permitted out to Colgate Yankees Little League and El Coqi Little League among others. The new park also has a garden and sitting area.

It’s about to have even more. The building of a new playground there began Monday, September 10. According to a design by Frank (Serpico) Strauch, Parks has added play equipment, spray showers, images of animals, fresh plants, and a drinking fountain. There are also plans for tennis and basketball courts in the more distant future. Parks’ job is to keep them in good condition, respond to concerns, and champion good ideas. The childrens’ job is to use the playground, stake it out as a place where kids make friends, and have a good time.

John Cloes, whose family name was later changed to Close, was an early pioneer in New York. James Colgate was a financier who regulated the use of gold and paper money during the Civil War and served as President of the New York Gold Exchange, which oversaw foreign trade in gold, and outlawed its use as a means of speculating on the war. The New York Gold Exchange was also briefly called Gilpin’s Gold Room.

Council Member Pedro G. (Sword) Espada; Bill (Zorro) Castro, Bronx Borough Commissioner; Dr. Betty Rosa, Superintendent of Community School District 8; Sheila Rubin, Principal P.S. 152; Francisco (Cochise) Gonzalez, District Manager for Community Board 9; Michael Phipps, Deputy Inspector for the 43rd Precinct; and Project Manager Frank Strauch were among those in attendance at the groundbreaking.


(Tuesday, September 20, 1988)



The Recreation Center at West 122nd Street and Mount Morris Park West in Harlem was renamed the Pelham Fritz Recreation Center at a ceremony this morning in recognition of 38 years of dedicated service to the City by Assistant Commissioner for Recreation Pelham Fritz.

"Pelham can be described as someone who is persistently good natured, optimistic and resolute," said Commissioner Stern to more than 300 friends and colleagues. "He’s a steady and dependable person who rose to lead our Recreation programs by hard work and good deeds.


"A 100 times I have thought NY is a catastrophe

and fifty times it is a beautiful catastrophe."

Le Courbusier

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