The Daily Plant : Wednesday, June 23, 2004
IN THE BRONX, PRETTYING UP PATTERSON PLAYGROUND
As a Komatsu excavator dug up worn asphalt, community members and the students of P.S. 18 marveled at the playground that would soon be their refuge for monkeying around.
On Wednesday, June 16, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, joined by Council Member Jose Serrano, Chairperson of Municipal Services for Community Board 1 Herman Francis, P.S. 18 Principal Donald Conyers and Bronx Borough Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski, commemorated the groundbreaking of Patterson Playground in the Bronx. Council Member Serrano allocated $796,000 for the upgrade of the playground.
Commissioner Benepe reveled with students as LaTaya Weaver and Katherine Ramirez read their poems "What is Water" and "Watery Feeling" to honor their soon-to-be refurbished playground. Following the poetry readings, Benepe led the students in the theme song to the children’s cartoon SpongeBob SquarePants.
The athletic area will receive a boost with a new junior baseball field, basketball, tennis and volleyball courts, and even a straight running track for those who feel the need to speed. A fresh asphalt surface with color-seal coating will span the playground, which will be outfitted with a new set of swings for youngsters. The withered, chain link fence will be replaced with ornamental steel fencing, and World’s Fair benches will be installed. Encompassing the playground will be picturesque flowers and plantbeds.
"Playgrounds are living organisms and like any living organism, they must be cared for," Serrano told the schoolchildren. "You are the stewards of this park."
Patterson Playground honors one of New York City’s most distinguished judges, Lester W. Patterson. Patterson was known for his compassionate treatment in dealing with the poor and underprivileged. Impressed with the judge’s work, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed him Chairman of the National War Fund. Patterson was elected to serve a second term as a Bronx County Judge, but passed away shortly after Election Day.
Though the reconstruction will not be complete until fall, neighborhood children are already gearing up to make this renovated playground their very own. Designer Ricardo Hinkle and Resident Engineer Marc Bien-Aime spearheaded the renovation of the playground.
Written by Melissa Kuhn
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"Themistocles being asked whether he would rather be Achilles or Homer, said, ‘Which would you rather be,—a conqueror in the Olympic games, or the crier that proclaims who are conquerors?’"
(A.D. 46?–A.D. c.120)