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Forest Park

The Daily Plant : Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Homerun And A Touchdown Too!

Photo by Daniel Avila

On April 10, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe joined Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, City Council Member Dennis Gallagher, City Council Member Joseph Addabbo, Community Development Officer Vincent Reina of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, and more than 100 little leaguers and youth football players for the first pitch and kick-off at the $3.65 million renovated track and synthetic turf field at Forest Park’s Victory Field. Then on Saturday, April 14, Victory Field was renamed in honor of the late Frederick Schmidt, former Assemblyman, judge and frequent park patron.

The newly renovated field features a reconstructed track and multi-sport synthetic turf field, as well as new bleachers, a state-of-the-art drainage system and new fitness equipment. The project was funded with $3.45 million from Borough President Marshall and an additional $200,000 grant from the New York Jets, the National Football League Players Association and the NFL’s Grassroots program.

Parks began installing synthetic turf ballfields in 1997. There are multiple benefits to this material. They are more environmentally friendly than grass fields that require constant maintenance through chemical and fossil fuel burning mechanisms and millions of gallons of potable water. The fields do not require weekly mowing, watering, fertilizing, seeding, or other time-intensive maintenance tasks. Additionally, they are useable year-round, and wear out much more slowly. These differences add up to savings of more than $25,000 per field each year.

Prior to 1895, the year Forest Park was created, the site was owned by Lalance and Grossjean and was used to manufacture pots and pans. Victory Field was dedicated on December 6, 1925 in memory of the “Unknown Soldier of the World War.” When the field opened, it boasted six baseball diamonds, basketball and handball courts, and a quarter-mile cinder track. Today, the sports complex boasts the new track and field, as well as handball courts and the only wheelchair football field in New York State.

The following letter was emailed to Commissioner Benepe on April 3, 2007

My 7-year-old daughter Lindsay attends the Tony Dapolito Afterschool program in Manhattan. I just wanted to send a note to commend the services at the center. You provide a safe place that allows the kids to enjoy themselves, relax and just be kids through the wide array of enriching activities and positive values. The children are building spirit, mind and body. This is all inspired by experienced and caring staff. They let the kids realize their potential, discover who they are and what they can become.

Thank you.

Sara Salerno


“Defining and analyzing humor is a pastime of humorless people.”

Robert Benchley
(1889 – 1945)

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