Van Voorhees Playground
The Daily Plant : Wednesday, July 14, 2004
SLIDING INTO HOME SAFELY: VAN VOORHEES PARK BALLFIELD GETS SYNTHETIC TURF SURFACE
Cries of "Play ball!" from Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe rang out across the new synthetic turf field at Van Voorhees Park in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. The Commissioner was joined by City Council Member Bill DeBlasio, former City Council Member Stephen DiBrienza, Borough Commissioner Julius Spiegel, Red Hook Recreation Center summer campers, and members of neighborhood little leagues in testing out the new turf and their softball skills at a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, July 9.
The new field replaces the previous asphalt surface and is constructed from synthetic turf that utilizes recycled rubber to create a more natural feeling surface. Council Member DiBrienza allocated the funds for the field’s $611,000 reconstruction. The field, while already popular with both adults and children, will surely see an increase in popularity thanks to the bouncy new surface.
All were in high spirits at the ceremony thanks to a soundtrack of baseball-themed favorites like "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" and snacks of Cracker Jacks and juice boxes available at the "Dugout Cafe." Commissioner Benepe made a point of mentioning the many star ballplayers like Manny Ramirez from Brooklyn, adding, "I'm sure Brooklyn’s tradition of greatness will continue—especially with the support of so many local athletic leagues."
Joseph Eberle was the project’s Resident Engineer, and the firm of Blumberg and Butter, P.C served as the Consultant Designer for the project, which also included the replacement of the sidewalks and drainage system, the addition of exercise equipment and benches, and the landscaping of the whole park.
Van Voorhees Park’s 5.25 acres are nestled between the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and Atlantic Avenue. Its amenities include tennis, handball, and basketball courts, a play area, play equipment with safety surfacing, swings for toddlers and children, a comfort station, spray showers, metal fish animal art, benches, and a panorama of flowers and trees. The City acquired the land for this park in four parcels in 1864, 1941, 1942, and 1947.
The park honors Tracy S. Voorhees, an attorney and decorated World War II veteran, and his family. Voorhees’ great-grandfather first settled in Brooklyn in the mid-17th century and, in addition to fathering a clan that would include ten children, 20 grandchildren, and 85 great-grandchildren, served as a magistrate and an elder in the Dutch Reformed Church.
Van Voorhees Park has come a long way since the Van Voorhees family arrived in Brooklyn. For generations to come, this new ballfield will inspire Brooklyn ball players to always aim just a little bit higher.
Written by Rebecca Silverstein
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"If we escape punishment for our vices, why should we complain if we are not
rewarded for our virtues?"
John Churton Collins
Literary critic, (1848-1908)