Idlewild Park

The Daily Plant : Thursday, May 3, 2001


If Rich (Ricardo) Murphy has his way, when you drive into Queens, you'll notice a difference. The parks, playgrounds, and Greenstreets that border the borough will signal a clean, green welcome to all who pass by. Though you shouldn't judge a borough by its borders, drivers often do. In light of this, Queens Operations staff are now concentrating their energy to improve visitors' first impression of the borough.

Snake Road was the first target in the Frontier campaign, begun April 13. Crews from Districts 11, 13, and 14 cleaned a mile of the roadside from Brookville Boulevard to Idlewild Park. The Department of Sanitation bolstered the efforts, supplying a packer and sweeper to help out Parks' mini packer, super packer, and sweeper. Next time you drive through, check out its frontiers. There should be at least 20 fewer cubic yards of debris, and a significant number of tires gone.


On April 24, Parks broke ground on one project and celebrated the completion of a corresponding one. Like the trees and shrubs planted in them, parks are in constant motion. The groundbreaking at Harry Chapin Playground and the completion of a neighboring Greenstreet are recent examples of the moving and growing taking place in the parks.

In Brooklyn Heights, a neighborhood where community activists are many and vocal, one playground honors activist and vocalist, Harry Chapin, whose family was present at the groundbreaking. In the creativity of the playground's design, Parks toast his musical career. One special feature of the Harry Chapin Playground is its dance chimes. When stamped, they sound a musical note. Stop by to hear kids should be composing hits like Cats in the Cradle.

To further promote creative play, the playground reconstruction includes new play equipment with safety surfacing, swings, game tables, and basketball backstops. Kids will enjoy a sandbox and the shade of the trees. Curbs, benches, and new fencing have been added as well as a new water service, spray showers, and a drinking fountain to keep kids cool. $533,000 in funds from Council Member Ken (Rising Star) Fisher makes these renovations possible.

The adjacent Greenstreet stands in tribute to Harry Chapin's environmentalism. With $37,000 in requirements contracts, Parks created a brand new Greenstreet, number 1,419 in the march to reach 2001 Greenstreets by December 31, 2001. New sidewalks were created to link the Greenstreet to the playground in a unified plaza. A planter was lined with filter fabric, and filled with 1,575 square feet of plantings. In keeping with the Brooklyn Heights vernacular, the designers planted ivy, which will shortly crawl over the planters' walls.

Congratulations to all those Parkies who worked on these two projects


April 23 marked a fresh start for Parker Playground. In the first phase of a reconstruction there, Parks will add new plantings, play equipment, art, a spray shower, and make improvements to the handball area and the overall safety of the park. Then, in the second phase, the asphalt paving will be fixed and the basketball courts reconstructed. When the work is finished, the athletes at the local Junior High School 127 will have an updated, safe, and fun place to play. Parker Playground provides a neighborhood hangout for students, Parkchester residents, and visitors as well as neighborhood groups like the Champion's Club and the Big Apple Games. The reconstruction of Parker Playground is expected to be completed in time for the reopening of the Castle Hill Middle School next fall.

Parker Playground is named for Parker Street, which in turn is named for James Parker, an influential justice of the peace in Westchester Village in the 1850s. Visitors to this playground are encouraged to engage in fair play, treat each other justly, and keep their activities legal.

(Thursday, May 5, 1988)


The Bronx is often regarded as "the borough with spirit," but "poetic" spirit was never mentioned. Until recently, that is. Rising up at the borough's Fifth Annual Arbor Day ceremony in St. James Park last Friday was the sound of children's voices reading-you guessed it-tree poetry.

"There are an estimated one million trees in Bronx parks, making it one of the most heavily forested boroughs in the city," said Acting Bronx Parks Commissioner James R. Ryan. "And apparently, our trees inspire people to poetry. With us here today are members of the St. James Golden Age Center, tots from the St. James Preschool and third graders from P.S. 33. But these aren't just any third graders-they're poets one and all."


"In Rome you long for the country;
in the country-oh inconstant!-
you praise the city to the stars."

Horace (65-8 B. C.)

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