Pfc Norton Playground

The Daily Plant : Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Norton Playground Receives Much Deserved Renovation

Norton Playground
Photo by Malcolm Pinckney

Private First Class Thomas Norton Playground is nestled in the middle of the Marine Park, Midwood and Sheepshead Bay communities in Brooklyn. While it is frequently used, it has long needed a complete reconstruction. Thanks to recent funding allocations from Councilman Kendall Stewart and Mayor Bloomberg, Parks was able to celebrate a ribbon cutting on April 11.

Commissioner Benepe was joined by Councilman Stewart, Community Board 15 Chair Theresa Scavo, 61st Precinct Captain Patrick Donohue, and students from the Ha'or Beacon School, Yeshiva Derech Hatorah, and the Butterfly Daycare Center to cut the ribbon on improvements to the playground. Upcoming renovations to the park’s comfort station were also announced.

The students played a major role in the ceremony. Mendel, who attends Ha'or Beacon School, led the Pledge of Allegiance, and two other students from the same school, Rafi and Mentchi, presented Commissioner Benepe with a handmade thank you poster.

The students also deftly fielded the Commissioner's questions about trees. Responding to his inquiry about why trees are important, one called out, “Because they take in carbon dioxide and give out oxygen!”

When Councilman Stewart took the podium, he told the young attendees, “This park is for you. We want to make sure you have a place where you can come and play and enjoy yourselves – a safe environment that will help you be in the right frame of mind to succeed."

Thanks to a generous allocation of $813,000 from Council Member Stewart and $177,000 from Mayor Bloomberg, Brooklynites can now enjoy a nearly $1 million state-of-the-art playground. The improvements include new play equipment, a spray shower, a drinking fountain, new benches, a reconstructed handball court, color pavements, steel fencing, and beautiful trees and landscaping.

An additional $720,000 from Council Member Stewart and $30,000 from Mayor Bloomberg was allocated to renovate the park’s comfort station including fully accessible restrooms and baby changing stations. Work will begin this summer.

This playground honors Private First Class Thomas Norton (1947 – 1968). PFC Norton was born in the Marine Park area of Brooklyn and worked at the Parks Department during his summers off from school. He died in Vietnam while serving in the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Unit, and was a recipient of the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart. The playground was named for him in 1969.


On Saturday, April 12, Bronx Forestry employee Russell Reiner observed several youths engaged in paintball along the Kazimiroff Trail at Orchard Beach.

Central Communications was notified and quickly placed the call over the radio. At around the same time, Urban Park Ranger Sgts. Mara Pendergrass, Jessica Carrero and UPR Holly Brown were in the vicinity and began investigating the situation as well. Captain Cardoza and Officer Mario Carrillo arrived soon after and with PEP checking one end and the Rangers the other, the suspects were soon spotted firing paintballs at trees and other vegetation. After the youths spotted our personnel approaching they fled into the woods. A brief chase followed and eventually eight perpetrators were apprehended. All of the youths, ages 15 and 16, were detained to obtain identification. Their parents were notified and called to meet with our personnel. All paintball guns and related equipment was collected and inventoried on the spot. The parents arrived soon afterwards and were spoken to by both Inspector Reeves and Captain Cardoza, informing them of the violation and the actions that will be taken. Each youth was issued two Environmental Control Board Summonses. One for Failure to Comply with Area Use Restrictions and One for Destruction/Defacement/Abuse of Park Vegetation. Each parent was given the summonses which were explained in detail. They were also given a voucher of the items confiscated from each youth. The entire haul of confiscated goods took up more than half of the bed of a pick-up truck. In total, 10 Paintball guns were confiscated, along with 16 CO2 cylinders, and 3,200 paintballs.

All items were taken to the 45th Precinct to be vouchered as evidence. Photos were also taken of the items confiscated as well as the damage done.

Written by Robert Reeves


“There is no abstract art. You must always start with something.
Afterward you can remove all traces of reality.”

Pablo Picasso
(1881 - 1973)

Directions to Pfc Norton Playground

  • PFC Norton Playground
  • PFC Norton Playground


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