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Elmhurst Park

The Daily Plant : Thursday, December 2, 2010

2010 Best Of Parks Awards: Capital Team Edition

Photo by Malcolm Pinckney

Parks & Recreation held the 9th annual Best of Parks (BOP) Awards on October 28th in the City’s newest waterfront park, Brooklyn Bridge Park. The Daily Plant recognizes the wonderful efforts of so many Parkies in the past year.

Capital Team Award: Elmhurst Park
Helen Ogrinz, Sr. Landscape Architect
Nancy Prince, Sr. Landscape Architect
Shani White, Assistant Landscape Architect
Imelda Bernstein, Landscape Architect Intern
Lee Ann Beauchamp, Landscape Architect
Zara Brown, Assistant Landscape Architect
Steve Whitesell, Designer
Paul Schubert, Deputy Director of Architecture
Harrison Chang, Architectural Intern
Yelena Lyubarskaya, Senior Environmental Engineer
Ben Mulchandani, Supervisor for Mechanical Engineering
Edward Vagner, Assistant Electrical Engineer
Magary Aime, Supervisor for Electrical Engineering
Rudrasen Persaud, Environmental Engineer
Rajanikant Patel, Electrical Engineer
Vincent Alfano, Director of Queens Construction
Robert Gantzer, Project Resident Engineer
Arthur Burgess, Construction Resident Engineer
Tyler McLeete, Construction Project Manager
Michele Greaves-White, Assistant Landscape Architect
Andrew Penzi, Team Leader
Kevin Quinn, Director of Architecture
Joelle Byrer, Deputy Team Leader
Golam Hossain, Structural Engineer
Muhammed Hussain, Mechanical Engineer
Juan Alban, Director of Contracts
Patricia Doyle, Procurement Analyst
Margarita Martinez, Budget Coordinator

Everyone is familiar with the saying that when confronted with lemons, the best option is to make lemonade. At Elmhurst Park in Queens, Parks did the equivalent with their facility by taking a debris-strewn brown-field site and making a great new park. An inter-disciplinary team at Capital took on complex design, permitting, and horticultural challenges to bring about a new green park from this abandoned site. The first phase of the park was completed in late 2008 and phase II will open near the end of the year.

The complexity of the Elmhurst project required an unusual number of approvals and permits from outside agencies. The team successfully built consensus among stakeholders and regulators including the Public Design Commission, two community boards, various public officials, DOB, DEC, DEP, and the Board of Health. The project won a ‘Big Apple Brownfield Open-space Award’ before its completion.

The site for Elmhurst Park was almost entirely devoid of trees and other vegetation. A solitary group of 16 trees, at the northeast corner of Grand Avenue, was all that remained. These trees were retained and protected during construction. Phase I of the park included a woodland garden within the existing grove of trees, with the addition of dogwoods, woodland shrubs, bluebells and ferns. Evergreens were used on the perimeter to screen off-site parking lots and warehouses. The Elmhurst community’s early history as a place of orchards and farms is recalled by a new orchard of crabapples on the hillside facing the Long Island Expressway. Close to Grand Avenue, new Zelkova trees were planted around a small oval green intended as a quiet sitting area for seniors. Phase I includes a total of almost 500 new trees. Phase II will add a little more than 150 more trees, as well as additional shrubs, ground covers and perennials to the restored space.


“Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.”
Bob Dylan
(1941- )

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