Rev Lena Irons Unity Park

The Daily Plant : Monday, December 24, 2001


Vidalia Park, the City’s newest, was welcomed into the Emerald Empire at a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, December 21. Its 2.6 acres are a unique addition to our more than 28,500 acres of parkland citywide. Since 1992, Parks, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, and Community Board 6 have negotiated the transformation of a Bronx property from a mixed use area of stores, residences, and vacant lots to a park that will complement HPD’s new buildings. Dr. Roger Hart, a psychologist and professor at the City University of New York Graduate School interviewed parents and children in the West Farms area concerning how the park should be designed. Hart and a group of students acted as consultants on the project. While the City was finalizing plans for the park, community members shaped a baseball diamond in the lot with their own equipment and held an unofficial opening on July 4, 1992. Originally named West Farms Park and, for a brief time, Chestnut Park, Vidalia Park has been designed with a farm theme. Thus onions, geese, and sunflowers are all a part of a parkscape that includes play equipment, swings, basketball and handball courts, and a comfort station. A large green space is outlined by a pedestrian path and a community garden preserves one of the original uses of the land. From the seats of the park’s new picnic tables, visitors will enjoy 81 newly planted trees, including ginko, red maple, honey locust, japanese flowering crabapple, black gum, white pine, flowering cherry trees, and white oaks. The park was named Vidalia in an attempt to combine the names of two neighboring avenues, Vyse and Daly. Vidalia onions, a recent invention in Georgia, have been named the state vegetable. At their vidalia festivals, Georgians nominate good citizens to the Vidalia Onion Hall of Fame. Perhaps Parks will be in the running next year. UNITY PARK RENAMED FOR REVEREND LENA IRONS The land between East 167th and 168th at Washington Street in the Bronx was destined to become a church. Instead it is becoming a different kind of meeting space—a park. Because of the Reverend Lena Irons a transformation from empty lot to thriving park is taking place. In 1969, New York Presbyterian decided not to build a church on the land they had acquired. Within years, Reverend Irons of the Evangelical Church of God had seen to it that the land was donated to the community. The Unity Place Corporation and the Save Our Boro Volunteers have overseen the care of the park since then. Thus Unity Park was born not on maps but in hearts. An array of neighborhood residents tended gardens all across what had once been a vacant lot. They lobbied for their space, cleaned it, established programs, and ultimately worked with Parks and Council Member Wendell Foster to create a formal park. Parks broke ground on that project on July 10, 2001. By the time the park is finished, it will bear the name of the woman responsible for its creation, the Reverend Lena Irons. A formal renaming ceremony took place on Tuesday, December 18. 155 GIVE BLOOD December’s blood drives was one of the best we’ve had. 155 donations were collected. The Manhattan borough office, under the leadership of Veronica (Faerydust) Llanos, accounted for 60 donors. Congratulations! The Arsenal accounted for 33 donors, and the Central Park Conservancy produced 30, thanks to the efforts of Norma (Boop) Soto. Arsenal West accounted for 17 donors, Arsenal North for 8. Many thanks to all the donors, to the coordinators, and to the volunteers. Hopefully we’ll retain our Gold Award status! By Hedi (Headlight) Piel THIRTEEN YEARS AGO IN THE PLANT (Monday, January 9, 1989) THE YEAR IN REVIEW: BROOKLYN PARKS In 1988, Brooklyn Parks looked back at the colorful history of Coney Island on the 50th anniversary of the acquisition of "America’s Playground" by New York City. Mayor Koch joined elected officials, lifeguards and hundreds of local residents on May 24 to celebrate the milestone and announced major capital restorations planned for the area. QUOTATION FOR THE DAY "Higashi Hill Like a man sleeping With a quilt over him." Ransetsu

Park Information

Directions to Rev Lena Irons Unity Park

  • Rev Lena Irons Unity Park


Was this information helpful?