The Daily Plant : Wednesday, July 25, 2001
HIGHBRIDGE PARK SPORTS MORE COURTS THAN EVER
Highbridge Park just scored new basketball and volleyball courts and all New Yorkers, especially residents of upper Manhattan, are going to benefit from the addition. These courts complete Parks' renovations to all of the playgrounds that line Highbridge Park.
Perched atop the rocky outcroppings of Highbridge Park are two-and-a-half renovated basketball courts and three completely new volleyball courts. With a view west to the George Washington Bridge and a view southeast to the historic Highbridge Tower, the courts claim the best seats in the house for two quintessential Manhattan vistas. But players may be too busy keeping their eye on the ball to notice bridges or towers.
Before Parks ever constructed volleyball courts, New Yorkers were making their own, bringing poles, nets, and balls up the hill for games. They gave Parks the idea, and on Tuesday, July 17, Commissioner Henry J. (StarQuest) Stern offered servers, setters, and spikers a true court for their games. With double and a half the number of basketball courts, the area is also more suited than ever for pick up games and tournaments. Players will enjoy new backboards, hoops, and color seal coating as well as more space, more views, and visual links to neighboring courts. Framing the courts are eight newly planted ginko trees and three Pin oaks. Benchwarmers will appreciate 13 new benches, and everyone can refresh themselves at one of two new drinking fountains. The renovation also leaves room for rollerblading.
In contrast to the urban spectacle of cliff-side volleyball and basketball, the remarkable rock, Manhattan schist, creates a spectacle of its own. Schist is the second oldest of New York City's bedrocks. It was formed 450 million years ago when the ocean pushed a layer of shale on the ocean floor roughly nine miles into the molten core of the earth. There, the intense heat and pressure transformed the shale into a mix of minerals that is schist. It can be recognized from afar by its glittering surface, caused by flecks of white mica. Schist is incredibly strong and will support even the roughest of play. It is the substance that underlies the skyscrapers for which our city is so famous.
New York City is also famous for its outdoor attractions. At the ribbon cutting, Commissioner Stern remarked, "it is with pride that I welcome you into this vastly improved park, and it is with gratitude that I acknowledge Council Members Guillermo (Enriquillo) Linares and Stanley (Falcon) Michels who provided $700,000 and Borough President C. Virginia (Sparrow) Fields who provided $250,000 for this most thorough reconstruction." He also commented that police officers of the 33 Precinct lobbied for the funding. Like Parks, they understand the power that recreational spaces exert to keep kids occupied and happy. He ended by urging guests to join the Friends of Highbridge Park, to use the courts often, and to a keep a lookout for its cleanliness and safety.
Congratulations to consultant Landscape Architects Laura Starr, Steven Whitehouse, and Mike Mainland, and Walter G. Delgado, Chair of Community Board 12; Adrian (A-Train) Benepe, Manhattan Borough Commissioner; Jane (Heather) Schachat, Director of North Manhattan Parks; Danny (Comrade) Mercado, Park Manager; and Eileen (Funny Girl) Remor, Outreach Coordinator for Partnerships for Parks all of whom were present at the reopening and help make Highbridge Park a great one.
THIRTEEN YEARS AGO IN THE PLANT
(Wednesday, July 27, 1988)
SIMON BOLIVAR MONUMENT DEDICATED
BY SIX LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRIES
Yesterday an international group gathered to celebrate the Simon Bolivar Monument's new lease on life. The statue of the great South American "Liberator" was dedicated by Parks and the Venezuelan Consulate at Central Park South and the Avenue of the Americas after a $24,000 restoration.
The restoration of the bronze equestrian statue, created in 1919 by Sally James Farnham (1876-1943), was funded by the Venezuelan firm CVG International through the Adopt-a-Monument program, a joint effort of Parks, the Municipal Art Society and the New York City Art Commission. The statue is the seventh monument to be restored through the program.
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"My body could stand the crutches, but my mind couldn't stand the sideline."