The Daily Plant : Tuesday, April 27, 2004
THE KISSENA VELODROME KISSES DECADES OF DISREPAIR GOODBYE
If you build it, they will ride. Known in the cycling community as the "track of dreams," the Kissena Velodrome re-opened on Wednesday, April 21 in Flushing, Queens after a nearly two-year hiatus. Teams of cyclists decked out in helmets and cycling gear joined Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Cycling Olympian Deirdre Murphy (Ireland, 2000), Council Member John Liu, and Director of Kissena Velodrome John Campo for an inaugural lap around the only public cycling race track in the northeast. At the 1964 Olympic Trials at the Velodrome, Kissena racers dominated the race, taking five of eight places on the U.S. squad. Parks & Recreation hopes the reconstruction of this historic track will draw top-level cycling back to New York City.
"The new Kissena Velodrome will give all New Yorkers a premiere 400-meter cycling track," said Commissioner Benepe. "Thanks to Mayor Bloomberg and the support of the cycling community, the Velodrome will inspire our City’s athletes to strive to be their best, including becoming Olympians."
The Mayor allocated over $500,000 to Parks & Recreation to renovate the track, located on Booth Memorial Avenue at Parsons Boulevard. Cyclists of all ages will now compete on new asphalt pavement finished with a special acrylic seal coat. Parks & Recreation’s Peter Beeton designed the renovated track, and Resident Engineer Wayne Farquharson oversaw the construction. Michael Hubartt and Jonel Vukan, from Parks & Recreation’s Capital Division, helped to supervise the project that began in late September of 2002. New landscaping and trees, along with bleachers, a custom-designed perimeter fence, regulation racing lines, and new drainage have transformed the Kissena Velodrome from a patchwork, bumpy track into a sleek, state-of the-art cycling facility.
On Wednesday, cycling Olympian Jack Simes (1960, 1964, 1968) and NYC Sports Commissioner Kenneth J. Podziba joined NYC2012 and the Kissena Velodrome Committee, along with youth from P.S. 178 and Queens’ recreation centers to celebrate the revitalization of the Velodrome. Parks & Recreation is collaborating with NYC2012 to launch a youth cycling development program at the Velodrome called Star Track. Olympian Deirdre Murphy will oversee the program, which will instruct pre-teens from Parks & Recreation’s afterschool programs in this unique sport. The pilot program will start this spring.
"As a life-long New Yorker and Olympian who raced at the Kissena Velodrome a decade ago, it’s great to be part of the Velodrome’s transformation," said Murphy. "I'm thrilled to partner with Parks & Recreation and NYC2012 to lead this groundbreaking program that will introduce young people to the principles of bicycle racing and team work."
Racers took to the new track for the first weekend of competition on Saturday, April 24 and Sunday, April 25. The Kissena Cycling Club, in cooperation with Parks & Recreation, The Kissena Velodrome Committee, Animal NYC (a marketing firm), and NYC2012 hosted the day of racing for adults and "pee wees."
The Kissena Velodrome Committee has been instrumental in helping to support the Velodrome. Members of the committee include Jon Kamen, John Campo, Don Winston and Eric Ragot. The Velodrome has received private support from the family of Jon Kamen and the J.M. Kaplan Fund.
Robert Moses built the Kissena Velodrome in 1962, and the race track was showcased during the 1964 World’s Fair. The Siegfried Stern Kissena Park Bicycle Track was named for Siegfried Stern, treasurer for Hartz Mountain Products and benefactor of many Jewish organizations. The Kissena Velodrome has produced many Olympians and world-class cyclists.
Experienced cyclists fearlessly maneuvered the sloping corners at top speed last week, demonstrating that the Kissena Velodrome is well on its way to reclaiming its historic cycling glory. As New York State champion bike racer John Campo remarked, "This is just the beginning."
For directions to the Kissena Velodrome, please visit the Parks & Recreation web site at http://nycgovparks.org/sub_things_to_do/facilities/af_cycling.html.
Written by Jocelyn Aframe
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"The one thing that doesn't abide by
majority rule is a person's conscience."
(b. 1926 )
Directions to Kissena Park
- "New York City Of Trees Photographs By Benjamin Swett" On View In The Arsenal Gallery
- Bank Of America Partnership Funds Three Urban Forest Protection Projects
- A Queens Park Remembers The Forgotten War