Paul Raimonda Playground
NYC PARKS CUTS THE RIBBON ON IMPROVEMENTS TO PAUL RAIMONDA PLAYGROUNDFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 6, 2016
Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski joined Council Member Costa Constantinides to cut the ribbon on a nearly $2 million reconstruction of Paul Raimonda Playground, including a centerpiece spray shower in the shape of a baby grand piano – a nod to the neighborhood’s namesake, Steinway and Sons piano manufacturer.
The goal of this project was to update existing equipment in the park, and remove the under-utilized bocce court and replace it with adult fitness equipment to better suit the needs of park users. The new adult fitness area includes accessible equipment that can be used by people of all abilities.
“After a major tune-up at Paul Raimonda Playground, kids will be able to splash around this summer in a brand new piano-shaped spray shower that challenges their imaginations and pays homage to the neighborhood’s roots,” said Commissioner Lewandowski. “Adults can enjoy brand new fitness equipment, and take a break in the relocated sitting area with new plantings and benches. We are extremely grateful to the City Council and Mayor de Blasio for providing key support to transform this important community space.”
Council Member Constantinides said, "When you improve a park, you improve a neighborhood. The improvements at Raimonda Playground will bring benefits to families throughout the entire neighborhood. The additional fitness equipment will be accessible to all and will be a better use of space. The brand new spray shower in the shape of a baby grand piano will serve as a centerpiece for the playground and honor the Steinway-Astoria neighborhood's namesake. I look forward to seeing children enjoy the new upgrades for many summers to come and thank NYC Parks for their partnership in bringing this improvement to fruition."
The Steinway piano is the inspiration for centerpiece of this reconstruction: a spray shower in the shape of a baby grand piano with four octaves of keys and a replica of the signature Steinway iron plate inside the piano. A 16 inch seat wall will edge the piano mounted with two spray features, and another two will be in the ground. Paul Raimonda Playground is in the Steinway neighborhood of Queens which is named for Steinway and Sons, the firm of piano manufacturers founded in 1853 by Henry Steinweg. Between 1870 and 1873, Steinway and Sons bought 400 acres of land along the northwestern shore of Queens and located the company’s plant there. During the following decade, Steinway and Sons built a spacious factory and a town with a church, library, kindergarten school, and public trolley line.
In addition, the flag pole base was repaired, play equipment replaced and the park’s seating area was relocated at the request of the community. Asphalt in the park was repaved to provide more opportunities for stormwater to drain into permeable areas and infiltrate on-site. The reconstruction was funded by allocations of $800,000 from the City Council and $920,000 from Mayor de Blasio.
Many of the existing trees, currently in cobblestone tree pits, have been surrounded by plant beds containing flowerings trees, evergreen and deciduous shrubs, and perennials. A variety of plants will be selected to provide color and interest from spring to fall.
Paul Raimonda Playground is named for an outspoken community leader in Long Island City, Queens. Raimonda attended P.S. 126 and Bryant High School, and served for four years in the Army Air Corps during World War II. Both during his youth, when he was an active member in the Long Island Seneca Club, and in his later years, Raimonda was committed to his community.
This project marks the first improvements to Raimonda Playground since 1995. It is one of many NYC Parks capital projects currently underway in Northeast Queens, including reconstructions of Astoria Heights Playground, Dutch Kills Park, Astoria Health Playground, Triborough Playgrounds, and Louis Moser Playground/Bulova Park. For a full list of Parks capital projects please visit the Capital Tracker on www.nyc.gov/parks.