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Frontera Park

The Daily Plant : Friday, August 9, 2002


In the past year, we have seen a number of tributes to the men and women of the Fire Department – both those that gave their lives on September 11 and those that are still protecting the lives of New Yorkers everyday. Whether they are saving the lives of fellow citizens, or as a recent pet shop fire proved – their pets, firefighters serve with dedication and courage. Frank Frontera – namesake of a Queens park – did just that. On August 2, Parks honored his memory – and that of all firefighters – while celebrating the restoration of Frontera Park.

Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe joined Council Member Melinda Katz to cut the ribbon for the $750,000 reconstruction. Funded by former Council Member Karen Koslowitz, the project involved improving facilities while also integrating a new theme into the design. In 1958, City Council named this park for Maspeth community leader Frank Frontera (1858-1952), an Italian immigrant who settled in Maspeth with his wife and infant son in 1883. An active member of the community, he served in its Volunteer Fire Department until the age of 91. As the owner of a barbershop, he instilled a strong work ethic in his children, and his son Alexander later founded the Maspeth Federal Savings and Loan Association.

In honor of Mr. Frontera’s service with the Volunteer Fire Department, Parks designer Gabriella Keller renovated the playground with a firefighter theme. At the opening, children cooled off in the new "fireman’s hose" spray shower and played on an antique fire engine pulled by concrete horses. Old-fashioned storefronts of a barbershop and a bank now decorate the play area, which features new swings, slides, safety surfacing and other climbing equipment. New benches and plantings obviously appealed to weary parents in the crowd, eager to find a place to sit in the shade while the kids enjoyed the playground.

In addition to these improvements, City Council has allocated $250,000 for another project that will enable Parks to renovate the basketball and handball court walls. Work should begin this summer. Commissioner Benepe told the assembled guests, "The parks that thrive, rather than simply survive, are those that have strong communities behind them." Judging by their enthusiastic response, it seems certain that Frontera Park will continue to thrive throughout the next phase of restoration.

Written by Jennifer Keeney


Commissioner Adrian Benepe took a moment during the festivities in Frontera Park on August 2 to urge New Yorkers to care for trees in their neighborhood and on their property while New York City is in a Stage I Drought Emergency. "Only 1.05 inches of rain fell in July, making it the driest July in almost a century," said Commissioner Benepe. "The drought affects people and pets, and also trees." On New York City streets, there are 500,000 street trees that are thirsty, especially the 15 percent that are young trees. Commissioner Christopher O. Ward of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection concurred that it is permissible to water trees on the street, private property, in parks, and other public areas.

To care for trees, especially young ones that require special attention, first loosen the soil around a tree’s base to allow for water to be absorbed at a maximum. Ideally, about 15 gallons of water should be poured slowly onto the soil once a week. Under drought restrictions, watering can be done before 11 a.m. and after 7 p.m. It is important to be sure that no water overflows so that none is wasted. Finally, mulch should be added to soil around trees. This helps to keep soil temperature moderated, retains moisture, and provides essential nutrients to the soil.

Parks is calling on our thousands of volunteers to keep an eye out for New York City’s 500,000 street trees. If you would like to help your local trees by joining the Stewardship Program, you should call (212) 360-TREE. Parks will provide you with a tree "Gator," a plastic skirt, which is wrapped around a tree’s base and filled with 15-20 gallons that empties slowly.

Written by Jennifer Keeney


"The strength of a man’s virtue must not be measured by his efforts,
but by his ordinary life."

Blaise Pascal

Directions to Frontera Park



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