Rock Garden Park

The Daily Plant : Tuesday, January 22, 2002


The Arsenal has served as Parks headquarters since 1934 when Robert Moses consolidated five borough park systems under one roof. On Friday, January 18, 2002, for the ninth year in a row, Commissioner Henry J. (StarQuest) Stern marked this anniversary by delivering his State of the Parks address. He reported on a select top forty accomplishments of the Emerald Empire in the years from 1994 to 2001, touching on milestones such as the completion of 2001 historical signs and the investment of more than one billion capital dollars. The multimedia presentation was attended by Parkies past and present and friends of Parks from civic leaders to elected officials. Twelve supporters of Parks were presented with Emerald Awards. Over the next few days, The Daily Plant will share the citations that describe their contributions. Below are the first five.

James A. (Leonardo) Ortenzio’s dedication to the Hudson River Park began when Governor George E. Pataki appointed him as Chairman of the Board on March 4, 1999. Leonardo oversaw the creation of the Hudson River Park Trust and has been largely responsible for the organization’s growth and the park’s development. Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani rewarded Leonardo’s dedication by re-appointing him as Chairman on April 4, 2001. Leonardo and the Hudson River Park Trust staff worked tirelessly to provide personnel, equipment, logistical support, and space during and following the tragic events of September 11. As a resident and business owner on Manhattan’s west side, Leonardo has shown an amazing ability to understand the concerns of all who have a stake in the park’s creation. In particular he has worked to foster a close relationship with Parks, ensuring the continued success of Hudson River Park.

Bruce C. (Forest) Ratner is the founding chairman of the City Parks Foundation (CPF) and a lifelong friend of Parks. Under Forest’s leadership, CPF grew from a staff of two with revenues of $298,000 in 1989 to an organization that now employs 47 full time staff and has an annual budget of $10 million. Working with Parks, Forest led CPF to meet its mission to improve the quality of life in parks throughout New York City, particularly in underserved communities. Forest has underwritten some of the Foundation’s most popular and successful programs. In 1995 he helped develop Partnerships for Parks. We are pleased that Forest will be leading the new Strategic Planning Committee, to ensure CPF’s continued success as it enters its second decade.

During his eight years on the City Council representing the Bathgate, Tremont, Mount Hope, Fordham and West Farms communities of the Bronx, Assemblyman Jose (Salsa King) Rivera funded millions of dollar’s worth of capital projects. Salsa King began and sustained the revival of Crotona Park, funding the renovation of at least seven playgrounds! He also funded the development of four new parks including Vidalia Park, in the West Farms section and Rock Garden Community Park in the Crotona East community. Salsa King’s commitment to restoring safe and fun play areas for neighborhood youngsters and his efforts to develop new open spaces have earned him our gratitude.

Dart (EastRise) Westphal has volunteered in parks for over 22 years. Working with organizations like the South Bronx Open Space Task Force, the Bronx Greenway Committee, and the Bronx River Restoration Team, EastRise has made it his personal mission to help communities along the Bronx River gain access to the waterway and to promote restoration projects along the river. In 1987, he began working with students from Middle School 80 and Dewitt Clinton High School to plant tulips along Mosholu Parkway. He is a former president of the Bronx Council of Environmental Quality, and a member of the Boards of the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park and the Harlem River Valley Development Corporation. He now serves as the Vice-Chair of the Bronx River Alliance. His ceaseless energy and good humor have inspired all those who work with him to create lasting change in the parks and open spaces of the Bronx.

In 1984, Henry M. "Terry" Christensen III agreed to become the first Chairman of the newly formed Prospect Park Alliance. He chose the name "Prospect Park Alliance" because he hoped that the organization would represent an alliance between the private sector, community residents, and Parks. In its first year the Alliance raised $250,000. This year their operating budget is over $8 million. The Carousel has been restored and the Ravine is rebuilt and maintained by a permanent crew. The Alliance is now a leader in the recently established Community Committee of 85 organizations and the Brooklyn Parks Advocates, which consists of 120 organizations. Within the park there are dozens of new park wide organizations like FIDO and the Anglers Club. Their members are among the 6,000 neighbors who volunteer their time in the park. All of this volunteer work stems from Terry's vision for involving the community in the care and enjoyment of this beautiful, flagship park. 3

By Jane (Doe) Rudolph and Alison (Wagon) Wenger


(Tuesday, January 31, 1989)



February is the month for skiing, sipping (hot!) cider, and sending Valentines. And the Urban Park Rangers have created weekend workshops to include all this and more. Below is a sampling of upcoming Ranger activities to help you make the most of this winter month.


"To live exhilaratingly in and for the moment

is deadly serious work, fun of the most exhausting sort."

Barbara Grizzuti Harrison

Park Information

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