Highland Park

The Daily Plant : Friday, October 21, 2005


After eight straight days of rain, Highland Park celebrated the season by holding its first ever Jack-o-Lantern Jamboree on Saturday, October 15. Hundreds of children emerged from their homes to enjoy the 70-degree weather and countless free activities, including games, face painting, arts & crafts, a DJ, a pumpkin patch, and a balloon show performed by Goowins Ballowins. McGruff the Crime Dog offered crime prevention information and posed for pictures. Inquisitive youngsters dissected owl pellets under the guidance of the Queens Urban Park Rangers.

The children also helped plant 1,400 daffodil bulbs along the park’s perimeter fence line on Jamaica Avenue. The administrative staff of Forest and Highland Parks organized the event, with Volunteer Coordinator Margaret Rosas spearheading the festivities. The event wouldn’t have been possible without volunteers from the Schwartz Police Athletic League, Twelve Towns YMCA, William H. Maxwell, John Jay College’s Lambda Theta Phi Fraternity, and the IS 347/349 Beacon Program.



On that same beautiful day, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe joined Council Member Robert Jackson, City Parks Foundation (CPF) Executive Director David Rivel, Partnerships for Parks Director Jason Schwartz, Starbucks New York Metro Marketing Manager Sherry Thurmon, and more than 70 volunteers at Jackie Robinson Park to lend a hand in cleaning and planting projects during "It’s My Park!" Day. Participants enjoyed free coffee from corporate sponsor Starbucks and uplifting tunes from radio sponsor WBLS.

More than 5,000 volunteers came out to more than 200 projects in all five boroughs for "It’s My Park!" Day, including 39 in the Bronx, 31 in Brooklyn, 57 in Manhattan, 77 in Queens, and 17 in Staten Island. These sites were alive with volunteers participating in cleaning and restoration projects organized by local community groups, corporate partners, Parks & Recreation, and City Parks Foundation staff.

According to reports from Partnerships staff, communities bonded at several sites. In Highbridge Park in Upper Manhattan, community members and children raised about $400 for Hurricane Katrina victims. At Breininger Park in Queens, a tree was planted for a recently deceased community member. His family, who now lives in New Jersey, told other volunteers that they still consider Breininger to be "their" park.

Back at Jackie Robinson Park, Partnerships’ Volunteer Events Manager Eileen Remor helped a group of young children how to plant mums.

"While digging in the dirt, one little boy said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we found treasure?’" Remor recalled. "I love that kids who grow up in the city get to have those experiences on ‘It’s My Park!’ Day."


"To find joy in work is to discover the fountain of youth."

Pearl S. Buck


Directions to Highland Park

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