Parade Ground

The Daily Plant : Friday, September 13, 2002


Photograph by Spencer T Tucker

On Wednesday at parks around the city, the one year anniversary of September 11 was marked by moving musical performances and silent prayer. Candlelight vigils were held at the Bandshell in Brooklyn's Prospect Park, on the Parade Grounds in the Bronx's Van Cortlandt Park, on the Great Lawn in Central Park, on the Unisphere Promenade in Queens' Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, and at Snug Harbor Cultural Center's South Meadow in Staten Island. Large screens connected the different boroughs and allowed park visitors at all of them to watch together as Mayor Bloomberg joined over 90 international heads of state in lighting the Eternal Flame at the Historic Battery. Despite strong gusts of the wind, people came to the parks by the thousands to listen to the musical performances and light candles of remembrance.

Every borough commemorated the day with varied musical performances, such as songs performed in the Bronx by the Highbridge Voices and Adlai Stevenson H.S. Gospel Choir; a rendition in Brooklyn of "Climb Every Mountain" by NYC Opera alumna Christine Goerke; a Wynton Marasalis-Billy Joel duet in Central Park; a performance in Queens of "Wonderful World" by Arvell Shaw and the Louis Armstrong Legacy Band; and tunes in Staten Island by the Curtis Guitar Ensemble. At each park and during every performance, the wind seemed to carry the harmonious voices, melodies, and prayers high above the park and into the clear night's sky.

PEP Officer Richard Betancourt

Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP) Officer Richard Betancourt has been with Parks since June 2001. Before joining the Parks family, Office Betancourt worked for the INS as a detention officer. His duties there included transporting known criminals from state to state and even out of the country.

"He's a very reliable and outstanding officer," said PEP Sargent Collazo.

When not at Parks, Office Betancourt is working towards a Bachelor's degree from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Police Science. With the little downtime left in his schedule, Officer Betancourt likes to relax with his wife Natalie and play with their two children Krystal & Kayla.

Officer Betancourt is assigned to Riverside Park South, and was on foot patrol at the 68th Street Pier when two Park Rangers walking the promenade flagged him down. The Rangers witnessed a man jump off of the pier into the Hudson. As Officer Betancourt arrived on the scene, the unidentified male was attempting to tread water.

Following procedure, Officer Betancourt called Sergeant's Bayron and Collazo, and he gave them the precise location in the park. He then ran back to his vehicle, retrieved a rescue blanket and a ring buoy, and returned to scene. Upon his return, the male had already become submerged, and only his arms were above the water. Officer Betancourt acted quickly and precisely. Within seconds he had tossed the first ring buoy which landed right around the arms of the man.

Promptly, Sgt. Bayron and Sgt. Collazo arrived on the scene. They threw a second ring buoy with 25 feet of rope, and the man was instructed to grab this buoy. With the man safely in the roped buoy, the three officers lifted him out of the Hudson's treacherous current.

The Daily Plant staff would like to congratulate Officer Betancourt. His quick and intelligent actions saved a man's life this past week, and that is something he should take pride in for the rest of his days.

(Monday, September 25, 1989)

Parks' Capital Projects Division finished Fiscal Year 1989 with a bang, achieving 112% of their commitment target.

Between July 1, 1988 and June 30 of this year, Capital Projects committed a total of $148.2 million for major capital and design projects, exceeding the target of $132.8 million by $15.4 million. The commitment represents the total value of design and construction contracts registered during the year.

''After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.''
Aldous Huxley
(1894 - 1963)

Directions to Parade Ground

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