Jackie Robinson Park Playground

The Daily Plant : Wednesday, May 5, 2004


On Monday, May 3, Parks & Recreation singled out six employees for their remarkable work during the month of April. The honorees were as follows:

Christopher Clouden is the Commissioner’s Employee of the Month. Chris is the Manhattan Chief of Recreation and has been with Parks & Recreation since August 5, 1996. For many years, Chris has led the largest borough’s recreation program. Now, he also spearheads some of our most exciting and important projects. Chris has overseen opening preparations for the $20 million renovation of the Chelsea Recreation Center, which is now ready to burst with activity. The depth and quality of the center’s amenities, including state-of-the-art exercise equipment, six floors of activity space, and a new indoor swimming pool, will make it one of Parks & Recreation’s premier recreation centers. Chris was also instrumental in organizing the successful Mayor’s Cup Track & Field Championship Meet on April 16 and 17, which brought together over 2,100 young athletes from each of the five boroughs. This historic event in Astoria Park was the first time that New York City’s public, parochial, and independent schools competed with each other in one contest. It will serve as a model for programs to come. One of Parks & Recreation’s most capable and effective managers, Chris continues to deliver at the highest level for the agency and, most importantly, for the youth of New York City. He was nominated by Deputy Commissioner for Public Programs Kevin Jeffrey.

Renata A. Sokolowski is the Capital Projects Employee of the Month. Renata A. Sokolowski is a Landscape Architect on the Staten Island Team and has been with Parks & Recreation since July 18, 1994. Renata joined Parks from the private firm Thomas Balsley Associates, where she worked on residential design. She quickly made an impact here with her talents for elegant designs, advanced computer programs, and 3D models constructed with wood, cardboard, clay, steel wire, and fabric. Renata’s outstanding designs include the $8.5 million Union Square Park project, the $2 million Canal Park project, and the $7.4 million project at Fairview Park. Renata brings a calm and positive demeanor to her projects and helps keep her team focused and productive. For her nearly ten years of skilled service to Parks & Recreation, Renata was nominated by Team Leader Michael Browne and Assistant Commissioner for Capital Projects Nancy Barthold.

Spencer T Tucker is the Management Employee of the Month. Spencer is a Photographer for Parks & Recreation and has been with the department since January 22, 2001. Spencer is a ubiquitous presence at Parks events, helping to capture them for eternity with his keen eye, insight, and sense of humor. His pictures of park scenes are prominent in The Daily Plant, Parks & Recreation’s Biennial Report, and in all our distributions. Last year, Spencer’s unique vision of parks was unveiled in a popular Arsenal Gallery exhibit showing the many faces of life and youth in City parks. Hard working, intelligent, and gifted, Spencer was nominated by Director of Public Information Megan Sheekey.

Milton Turner is an Operations Employee of the Month. Milton is an Associate Park Service Worker Crew Chief in Wolfe’s Pond Park, in Staten Island’s District 3. Milton began with Parks & Recreation seasonally in the 1960s and returned full-time on November 3, 1986. Milton began his career with Shops in Brooklyn’s District 12. He has since transferred to Wolfe’s Pond Park as Crew Chief, earning responsibility for all of its properties, developed and undeveloped. Thanks to his efforts and the work of his Parks Opportunity Program crews, District 3 achieved 94% overall and 95% cleanliness ratings in 2003. He has also recently taken on major clean-up efforts of undeveloped or neglected park areas. Experienced and dedicated, Milton works hard to impart his work ethic and professionalism to his staff. A stalwart of Parks operations, Milton was nominated by Supervisor of Parks Maintenance and Operations Robert Parella.

Timothy A. Brown is an Operations Employee of the Month. Tim is an Assistant Gardener in Fort Tryon Park in Manhattan and has been with Parks & Recreation since April 23, 2001. Tim works primarily at the Heather Garden, as well as in other parts of Fort Tryon Park and District 12. For the past two years, Tim has been responsible for the planting and care of the woodlands adjacent to the Heather Garden. Tim hauls 400 feet of hose back and forth to ensure the plants are watered in the hot summers. He has pounded hundreds of posts and installed thousands of feet of fencing to protect the annuals, bulbs, trees, and shrubs he has planted throughout Northern Manhattan. He has scaled walls and rockfaces to remove poison ivy and other invasive plants. Tim also mows, weedwacks, and sprays herbicides throughout the sector, while leading countless volunteer groups at Inwood, Isham, Highbridge, and Gorman Parks with his inspiring energy. When not leading our greening efforts, Tim hits the books and is working on a dissertation in comparative religion at Syracuse University. A key part of our horticultural renaissance, Tim was nominated by Director of North Manhattan Parks Jane Schachat.

Christopher M. Davis is Public Programs’ Employee of the Month. Chris is a Special Projects Coordinator for Manhattan Recreation and has been with Parks & Recreation since November 28, 2000. Chris sports many hats for Recreation. He compiles each year’s annual report, secures staff for citywide special events, including Experience Spring, and helps coordinate the staffing, schedules, and budget for summer day camps. Chris is the Playground Associate Coordinator for the borough and has also served as a Pool Supervisor, helping Jackie Robinson Pool sail through a busy and safe 2003 season. Chris shows off his sporting knowledge by spearheading a baseball program in Manhattan, coaching a team of 13- and 14- year-olds in Brooklyn’s 3B League, and running Turn 2 clinics and workouts. Chris also went beyond the call of duty during the 2003 blackout by ensuring the safe evacuation of patrons, responding to a fire, and getting the pool pumps running by 7:30 a.m. the next day. Talented and driven, Chris was nominated by Chief of Manhattan Recreation Chris Clouden.


"I am becoming sick and tired about lying."

Walter ven der Vijver
Former CEO of Royal Dutch/Shell

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