The Daily Plant : Tuesday, May 13, 2003
NEW YORKERS SHOWS THEY CARE ON NEW YORK CARES SPRING CLEAN-UP DAY
"Did I pass the audition? Did I get the part?" Supervisor of Parks Maintenance and Operations (SPMO) Joe Reyes joked during a site visit with New York Cares at Sara D. Roosevelt Park in March. He explained how community involvement, as well as private support, helped transform Riverside Park into the thriving green oasis it is today. He no longer has the same resources in his new district, but he recognized the opportunity to obtain a valuable resource for his park – people. Painting play equipment, fences and benches and spreading wood chips were just a few of the projects he suggested.
New York Cares could not resist his enthusiasm, so yes, SPMO Joe Reyes did "get the part." Sara D. Roosevelt was one of the 38 parks and gardens across the city where more than 3,000 New York Cares volunteers cleaned and greened on Saturday, May 3rd.
Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe spoke at Morningside Park, one of the sites for the 9th Annual New York Cares Spring Clean Up Day. He stated "New York Cares volunteers will use 392 gallons of paint, 1130 paintbrushes, 247 rakes, 379 trowels, 146 paint rollers, 28,000 square feet of drop cloths and thousands of pounds of soil, mulch and woodchips, as they work to clean and revitalize our city’s green spaces. Last year, New York Cares put more than 5,400 volunteers to work with $40,000 in donated supplies, in parks and community gardens across the city."
New York Cares’ mission is to unite and enable caring New Yorkers to help people in need and improve our city through volunteer service and creative giving. Teams on Spring Clean Up Day come from a variety of organizations – including alumni associations, foundations, corporations, environmental groups and individuals.
At Astoria Park in Queens, volunteers completed their projects so quickly, cleaning leaves and debris out of the pool and painting pipe railing along Shore Boulevard, that Parks & Recreation Manager (PRM) David Bentham had to quickly create new projects. Volunteers at Isham Park in Northern Manhattan would not even pause long enough to listen to Parkies thanking them for their hard work, as they were too busy raking and pruning trees.
But even the best volunteer projects can have their drawbacks for some. "There’s lines!" exclaimed a group of boys at Aqueduct Walk Park in the Bronx, seeing the newly painted game lines on the basketball courts. "Now we have to play by the rules!" The paint barely had enough time to dry, before the courts were filled with young children and teenagers playing basketball.
Happy with another successful Spring Clean Up Day, Peter Crumlish, Director of Partnerships for Parks, stated "New York Cares consistently recruits energetic, eager volunteers for this day every spring. Partnerships tries to direct them to parks in neighborhoods that could use their energy, and works with the borough operations to design extraordinary projects that might not otherwise get done. It’s great to drive around the city that day and see the hordes of volunteers at various sites toiling away and having fun. By the end of the day the volunteers have usually fallen in love with a park they never knew existed."
Please stay tuned, as the volunteer season has just begun. Close to 5,000 people will beautify and celebrate in over 200 parks across the city, on Saturday, May 17, for the annual "It’s My Park!" Day. Coordinated by Partnerships for Parks, Parkies from the Natural Resources Group to Maintenance and Operations, from Recreation to the Urban Park Rangers and more, all are doing their part to make this day a huge success. To learn about projects happening in your district or neighborhood park, visit the Partnerships for Parks website at www.itsmypark.org.
Written by Eileen S. Remor
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"A poet can survive everything but a misprint."