Washington Square Park
The Daily Plant : Friday, March 1, 2002
BRONX SPEAK UP
Over 115 people attended the 8th Annual Bronx Parks Speak Up held at Lehman College on Saturday, February 23. This year’s Speak Up was planned by the Bronx Coalition for Parks and Green Spaces, a grass roots coalition made up of over 50 groups that Partnerships for Parks has been supporting in their efforts to advocate for the boros parks and green spaces. The first Bronx Parks Speak Up grew out of the Bronx Council for Environmental Quality (BCEQ) winter meeting. Each year the Speak Up has continued to grow in attendance as Partnerships has helped to bring in new organizations. Last year’s Speak Up launched the Bronx Coaliton, which has now taken on the role of organizing the event. As Dart Westphal, BCEQ President and Speak Up founder, emphasized in his welcoming remarks, that with this new energy the Speak Up can tackle issues not receiving proper attention, capitalizing on the success of all prior Speak Ups.
This year’s Speak Up, called "Resources for Parks and Green Spaces," focused on grass roots organizing. In her key note address entitled "Strengthening the Root in Grass Roots," Karen Argenti, Founding Member of the Friends of Jerome Park Reservoir and the Jerome Park Conservancy, used the history of the Friends of Jerome Park Reservoir to outline key steps to grass roots action. Ms. Argenti stressed the importance of building alliance, identifying the issue, and offering solutions to avoid the "not in my backyard" (NIMBY) attitude. Pat Logan, Director of Policy & Planning for the Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation, and Keith Fairey, Community Development Manager for Mount Hope Housing Company, Inc. gave a Power Point presentation illustrating why green spaces are essential to the revitalization of a neighborhood and how housing corporations can partner with Parks to achieve their goals. Jen St. John, the Government Liaison for the Prospect Park Alliance, and Dick Dadey, the Director for New Yorker for Parks, summarized their efforts to affect the City Budget.
An important feature of the Speak Up is the concurrent Break-Out sessions. This year, Speak Up attendees chose between three sessions. Mark Caserta, Director of the New York League of Conservation Voters, led "How to Impact the City Budget." The group developed a list of priorities that included continuing the fight for 1% of the city budget and reminding elected officials of the Coalition’s platform. Edie Stone, Director of Green Thumb, led "Where to Go when You Need Things Done," which focused on learning about resources available to help organizations work with city agencies. Finally, Charlotte Kaiser, Partnership for Parks’ Technical Assistant and Grant Coordinator, led the workshop on "Where to Find Additional Resources." Ms. Kaiser presented the group with a list of Do’s and Don’ts when requesting funding and gave a list of places that give grants and in-kind donations.
Many elected officials and Parkies attended the Speak Up, including Commissioner Adrian Benepe and Bronx Borough Commissioner Dottie Lewandowski. Adolpho Carrion, Jr., the Bronx Borough President, who spoke of his plan to develop the land along the Harlem River into a waterfront park. Majority Leader of the City Council, Council Member Joel Rivera of the 15th Council District, promised to fight in the Council for parks and pledged 80% of his capital budget to rehabilitating and creating new parks in his district.
By Shelagh Patterson
Anthony Modafferi has been working in Parks since December 9, 1963. Among his many positions, he served as acting Principal Park Supervisor of District #1 which included City Hall Park, Battery Park, and Washington Square Park. A noteworthy accomplishment during that time was the enormous cleanup of lower Manhattan during the Bicentennial of 1976, which included the landing of Queen Elizabeth at Battery Park right after the event. Tony has fond memories of City Hall Park particularly during the Koch administration. He also remembers Marijuana Day in Washington Square Park, held on the first Saturday in May, and the extreme amount of garbage produced on that particular day each year. He was proud of the team effort to restore these parks after these major events. In 1993, Tony assumed his current position as Director of Staten Island Forestry.
Tony is a devoted son, a husband to Jacqueline for 36 years, and a proud father of two children, Karen and Victor. He thanks his supervisors for teaching him two crucial lessons- always get to work before your staff and treat everyone with respect and people will respect you in return. Because of Tony’s long career in Parks and his knowledge of Parks, Commissioner Paulo has appointed him Staten Island’s Park Historian.
THIRTEEN YEARS AGO IN THE PLANT
(Friday, March 10, 1989)
PARKIES READY YANKEE AND SHEA FOR ’89 SEASON
While the Mets and Yankees sweat themselves into shape in the Grapefruit League, Parks Stadia unit is also hard at work preparing Yankee and Shea stadia for the 1989 baseball season.
Private contractors and regular and seasonal stadia crews are now refurbishing the two City-owned stadia. Workers from Bronx and Queens parks and crews from Five-Borough Shops are participating in the preparation, which includes restripping parking lots, various painting projects, repairing seats and the electrical, air conditioning, lighting and plumbing systems.
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die,
life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly."