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Conference House Park

The Daily Plant : Friday, October 25, 2002


What do you see when you look at a blank canvas or piece of paper? Perhaps you see a picture of an octopus playing an accordion. Or a crisp color-drenched sky on an Autumn morning. Or maybe a bunch of words telling the story of a peregrine falcon on its first day of school? Or quite possibly, you see a different image or story altogether.

In many ways, the brilliant white brand-new pavilion at Staten Island’s historic Conference House Park is also an empty canvas. This 3,000 square-foot pavilion can certainly serve as a relaxing spot to read a book or write a masterpiece. Or maybe the pavilion will become the hottest destination for Summer music performances in Staten Island. Or perhaps schoolchildren will visit take field trips there with Parks’ Urban Park Rangers. And of course, it would make an ideal observation deck for enjoying the views and sounds of Raritan Bay.

On Tuesday, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe welcomed Borough President James Molinaro, Council Member Andrew Lanza, former Borough President Guy V. Molinari, and Community Board 3 representatives to dedicate the freshly-completed pavilion. The pavilion was dedicated in honor of Almer G. Russell, a local resident who died in France during the first World War.

Funded with $1.186 million from former Borough President Molinari, Parks modeled the pavilion after one that existed on the very-same spot but which had burned down in the early 1960s. Parks broke ground on this latest Capital Project last May and completed the work late August 2002.

The Conference House and the surrounding 265-acre park have played a significant role in shaping the history of America. It was at Conference House in 1776 that Admiral Lord Howe met with representatives from the colonies including Benjamin Franklin and John Adams in an attempt to broker a peace agreement and prevent the colonies from revolting. The meeting failed, and the war for Independence began.

Within walking distance from the South Pole—the southernmost tip of Staten Island—its stunning views are sure to spark the creative channels of any visitor.

Written by Eric Adolfsen

Barney Webster

Barney Webster, an experienced dancer of seven years, started working for Parks in the summer of 1985 as a Playground Associate in Flushing Meadows, Queens. He was later transferred to Pelham Fritz, where he currently works. Dance and drama are his main teachings at Pelham Fritz as an Arts Specialist for one of our 33 After-School Programs. Barney not only works with the young groups of children, he also teaches dance and drama to the Teens at Parks (TAP) teenagers on Fridays.

Barney Webster is currently working on a play he wrote called " The Christmas Dance Celebration", that will be featured in the December Showcase for the After School Program. You can also catch him on Broadway working with a dance company called " The Jette Performance Corporation," which is now traveling the Eastern United States. Barney Webster has been with parks for a very long time and is a great asset to our agency. He is very experienced with children and knows exactly how to keep them interested by keeping things fun and new. So, everyone, be on the look out for Barney Webster, a great Parks employee and a star on the rise.

Written by April Rodriguez


"Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow.
It's what sunflowers do."

Helen Keller

Directions to Conference House Park

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