London Planetree Playground

The Daily Plant : Wednesday, October 31, 2001


Maria A. (Curly Top) Oliveras is Bronx’s Employee of the Month for October. Curly Top joined Parks on June 11, 1979 and currently works as a community coordinator with Forestry, where she helps dispatch climbers and pruners. Curly Top works closely with DOT and Con Edison to coordinate tree trimming and pruning requests, and she also maintains the Tree Manager System database. Recently, Curly Top used her organizational ability in a new area by helping to quickly process over 580 new POP (Parks Opportunity Program) participants during an accelerated hiring period. She successfully helped get this key initiative going while continuing her other duties. For her hard work and service to the Bronx, Curly Top was nominated by Polka.

Michael S. (Hummingbird) Metivier is Brooklyn’s Employee of the Month for October. Hummingbird joined Parks on March 30, 1979 as a Park Service Worker. He participated in a forestry training program in 1981 and became a Climber & Pruner aide. After a short break in service in 1991, he returned to Parks and became a Park Supervisor in 1995. Hummingbird is currently an SPMO in Brooklyn Forestry where he specializes in the removal of large dead trees. Recently he and Charles "Falcon" Gili, performed quick emergency repairs to a leaning yardarm at Marine Park. Resourceful and skilled, Hummingbird was nominated by Liberty.

Peter A. (Paw) Wolpensinger is Capital Projects’ Employee of the Month for October. Paw worked with Parks for four years in the 1970s. He rejoined Parks on August 18, 1997 and currently works as Deputy Director of Engineering. Paw’s specialty is structural engineering. He inspects parks structures, reviews plans for new sites, performs emergency structural assessments, and prepares structural designs. Paw ensures that park sites, especially piers and boardwalks, are built safely and securely. Recently, he played a key role in the $6 million project to design and construct a fishing rier at South Midland Beach. This project was funded jointly by the Mayor, City Council and State Clean Water / Clean Air Bond Act. The groundbreaking for this project is November 1. For his experience and hard work in Capital, Paw was nominated by Polecat.

Jessenia (The Robin) Aponte is Citywide Services’ Employee of the Month for October. The Robin joined Parks on June 22, 2000 and currently works as an administrative assistant with PEP at Arsenal North. The Robin assists The Batman in deploying officers and addressing timekeeping and personnel issues. She also has strong computer skills and is helping UPS revamp its performance reporting. Recently, she redesigned the Arrest Review Form to ensure that incidents and arrests are properly documented. Enthusiastic and customer service oriented, The Robin is a valuable new edition to UPS. She was nominated by The Batman.

Laurie (Mountain Girl) Mason is Management’s Employee of the Month for October. Mountain Girl joined Parks on August 7, 2000 in the Central WEP Office. At WEP, Mountain Girl coordinated the 2000 Toy Drive and helped double contributions. In June 2001, Mountain Girl moved over to become Coordinator of the new Parks Opportunity Program (POP). Mountain Girl has worked closely with borough operations, WEP, PACT, and HRA to process and place in Parks positions over 2,000 POP participants. She is playing an important role in this exciting and critical new step in workfare. For her dedication and effort, Mountain Girl was nominated by Iceman.

Joseph C. (Octopus) Taylor is Manhattan’s Employee of the Month for October. Octopus joined Parks on March 19, 1997 as an Assistant Gardener. His first assignment was to train and monitor volunteer groups and gardeners for Parks Annual Clean–Up and Green-Up events. He has also trained many WEP and PACT participants in horticulture skills. In 1999 Octopus was tapped to head a turf-restoration initiative at Wards and Randall’s Islands. Working closely with the Randall’s Island Sports Foundation, Octopus is restoring the 480 acres of Island grounds and improving the sporting experience for hundreds of athletes who compete at Randall’s. He also assists with beautification projects including greenstreets and the maintenance of 5-Boro grounds. For his skilled and valuable service to Manhattan, Octopus was nominated by Tristar.

John (Fish) Maher is Queens’ Employee of the Month for October. Fish joined Parks on April 18, 1988 and currently works as a Crew Chief in District 9, which includes London Planetree Playground. Fish is the stalwart in the district. He works well with various types of light and heavy equipment, and instructs his crew in the proper use of tools. His attention to ratable details has helped District 9 achieve a 100% cleanliness rating so far in 2001. Fish leads by example, and pays special attention to training his WEP staff. Dedicated and capable, Fish was nominated by PRM David (Frequency) Bentham.

Christine (The Dove) Bilardi is Staten Island’s Employee of the Month for October. The Dove joined Parks on March 30, 1987 and currently works as a Recreation Supervisor. The Dove was assigned to Cromwell Recreation Center, until it was closed last year for major renovations. Undaunted, The Dove has continued to serve the community and maintain a high level of programming. She coordinates playschool, after-school, and summer camp programs at four park sites throughout Staten Island, and has used her recreation experience to establish popular and successful programs. For her perseverance and hard work, The Dove was nominated by Loon.

Nancy (Liberty) Barthold is the Commissioner’s Employee of the Month for October. Liberty began with Parks on May 6, 1985. In her 16-year career, Liberty has played many roles including Assistant to Northside; crew chief at the Natural Resources Group (NRG); PRM, Director of Landscape Management, and Deputy Chief of Queens Operations, and Deputy Chief of Manhattan Operations. Liberty currently serves as Chief of Brooklyn Operations where she manages a staff of 436 and fulfills a diverse array of functions including Park Inspections, Garages, Shops, Requirement Contracts, and much more, serving Brooklyn's nearly 2.5 million people. One of Parks’ most capable and dedicated managers, Liberty has risen up the ranks, becoming expert in park issues and establishing a long list of accomplishments. She is one of Parks’ most valued management assets.

By Keith T. (Kermit) Kerman and Sarah (Cria) Coleman


(Wednesday, November 2, 1988)


The first Marathon took place about 2,000 years ago, when a brave Athenian ran 22 miles from Marathon to Athens, Greece in full armor to spread word that Athens had won a great battle over Persia. As far as we know, no special preparations were necessary for that historic run. However, before the first runners of the 19th annual New York Marathon cross the finish line in Central Park at about 1:30 P.M. on Sunday, November 6, hundreds of Parkies will have worked days in advance to make the dramatic finish possible.


"Two lie as one

One live as two

Two live as three

Under the bam

Under the boo

Under the bamboo tree."

Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888-1965)

Directions to London Planetree Playground

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