NYC Parks News for Juniper Valley Park copyright © 2016 NYC Department of Parks and Recreation NYC Department of Parks & Recreation en-us Sun, 29 May 2016 21:13:45 GMT NYC Parks News 25 25 <![CDATA[Parks Cuts Ribbon On Second Phase Of Renovations To Juniper South Playground]]> pressrelease21041
Juniper Valley Park is one of the jewels of the Queens parks system, said Commissioner Benepe. This new playground features the latest in 21st century playground design, with eco-friendly stormwater capture, challenging climbing equipment, and a wetland-themed spray shower that reflects the sites history as a former swamp. We are grateful to Borough President Helen Marshall for her generous allocation that allowed us to renovate this playground, and her staunch support for parks throughout Queens.

It has been my pleasure to work with Queens Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski and her staff to provide new improvements to our more than 400 parks, playgrounds, triangles and malls throughout the borough, said Borough President Helen Marshall. Today, we cut the ribbon on yet another new playground. It was my privilege to provide $750,000 in capital funds to complete this phase of the Juniper South Playground, designed for children from ages 5 to 12.

I want to thank Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski, and Queens Borough President Helen Marshall for their continued support of parks throughout Queens," said Council Member Elizabeth Crowley. Juniper Valley Park was my local playground as a child, and it continues to improve with each passing year. Children can now play on the new slides and swings in an impressive design that captures the historical significance of this area's past as a former swampland. As an added bonus, the playground is eco-friendly and built to be sustainable for future generations."

The project was funded with $750,000 allocated by Queens Borough President Helen Marshall. The renovated playground includes two slides, a variety of climbing equipment, a sitting area, and a spray shower. The new spray shower is designed to look like a pond, with shower heads in the shape of cattails and a dragonfly perched on a reed, and depictions of Mallard ducks swimming in the water.

This is the second phase of improvements to Juniper South Playground. An earlier $933,000 renovation, funded by Council Member Crowley and Mayor Bloomberg and completed in 2010, added accessible play equipment designed for younger children.

<![CDATA[Snow Day! Parks Hosts Fun, Free Winter Snow Activities For Youth]]> pressrelease20965 2016-05-29T17:13:45-04:00 <![CDATA[Photo Essay: Storm Damage in Brooklyn and Queens]]> dailyplant22263 2016-05-29T17:13:45-04:00 <![CDATA[Swamp-themed Design Pays Tribute to Juniper Valley Park's Past]]> pressrelease20909 2016-05-29T17:13:45-04:00 <![CDATA[New York City's Children Take to the Parks to Celebrate a Snow Day!]]> pressrelease20896 2016-05-29T17:13:45-04:00 <![CDATA[Parks Asks the Community's Assistance in Nabbing Juniper Valley Park Tree Killer]]> dailyplant22023 2016-05-29T17:13:45-04:00 <![CDATA[The Diversity of Queens as Experienced in Its Parks]]> dailyplant21502 2016-05-29T17:13:45-04:00 <![CDATA[Queens Residents Win Championship At Parks 13Th Annual Citywide Bocce Tournament]]> pressrelease19954 More than 300 bocce players from all over the City and State competed in parks in all five boroughs this weekend at the 13th Annual Citywide Bocce Tournament. The event hosted a record number of participants this year with 85 teams, up from 60 last year. Teams from Queens clinched 1st and 2nd place while a Manhattan team earned 3rd place.

Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe cheered on competitors at the Manhattan preliminaries on Saturday, watching players like American Bocce President Peter Rabito. Chef Lidia Bastianich from Lidias Italy helped kick off the event and awarded $1,000 in prize money to The Devils, the winning team from Queens.

The Citywide Bocce tournament brings New Yorkers out from every borough and from all age groups, Commissioner Benepe said. Bocce is sweeping the country and Parks is proud to bring this international sport to the City.

Queens-based teams swept the finals. Lidia Bastianich awarded the The Devils team members an $1,000 check. The team also won the chance to ride on the Parks float in the Columbus Day Parade. Queens Team Adriatica earned 2nd place overall and $300 in prize money. Manhattans American Bocce Club clinched 3rd place and $200. Last year, two teams from Brooklyn took 1st and 3rd place with participants from Queens earning 2nd place.

Participants from the Bronx played in Pelham Bay Park while Brooklyn players competed at Marine Park. In Manhattan, bocce enthusiasts gathered at J.J. Walker Park and in Queens, teams faced off in Juniper Valley Park. Winning teams from each borough dueled at Juniper Valley Park in Queens on Sunday, September 30.

The Citywide Bocce Tournament was presented by New York City Parks & Recreation, in conjunction with the Columbus Citizens Foundation.

- 30 -

Contact: Warner Johnston /Trish Bertuccio (212) 360-1311

<![CDATA[Intern Throws A “Killer” Handball Tournament]]> dailyplant19912 Long Tran, an intern working with Queens Borough Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski this summer, threw a killer handball tournament at Juniper Valley Park on July 22 and July 23. Killer is handball jargon for a ball that hits the wall at the lowest point making it very difficult to return the ball to the opposing team player.

Despite the ominous cloud presence, 96 players ages 15-20 showed up to compete in the exciting C-Doubles Handball Tournament. Set-up began at about 7:00 a.m. with barricades, pop-up tents and tables. At 8:00 a.m., the floor opened for registration and people flooded in by the dozens. As the bracket and score sheets were drawn up, many players began to warm up and practice on the courts. Michael Watson of the United States Handball Association and Frank Catapano of Juniper Valley Park were both present to help administer the event.

Borough Commissioner Lewandowski gave a warm welcome to all of the players and Tran announced the rules and officially set the tournament in motion. Handball gloves and protective eyewear were supplied for competitor safety. After team names were called out and players made their way to the courts, the action began. Due to the good turnout, 20 teams played simultaneously on ten courts.

The first and second rounds sped by but, just before the quarterfinals were just about to start, a significant rainstorm developed. The hungry players were thrilled to have a break to enjoy the free food and drinks that was donated by local businesses, including Met Foodmarkets, Dunkin Donuts and BJs Wholesale Club.

The next day, light drizzle delayed the quarterfinals for about an hour, but then the players headed right back into the game. In the semifinals, Aditta Kittikhoun and Thomas Chin faced a tough match against Andres Calle and Kenny Maldonado. They were trailing for most of the game but made a late comeback and took the game 21-20. In the other semifinal game, Brian and Michael Sitarevich took down the John Amen and Sean Delavsa team to advance to the finals. Kittikhoun and Chin then triumphed in the finals, winning by a score of 25-17. First place trophies were awarded to Kittikhoun and Chin, second place to Sitarevich and Sitarevich and third to Calle and Maldonado.

Borough Commissioner Lewandowski said, I was very impressed by the cooperative efforts of my staff, including Recreation and Operations, who worked with Long to help him throw a successful event. Long learned a valuable lesson in event planning, coordinating with various divisions and the importance of community outreach.

A special thank you to Michael Watson of the United States Handball Association, Frank Catapano of Juniper Valley Park, Met Foodmarkets, Dunkin Donuts, BJs Wholesale Club, Sign-A-Rama and Queens Recreation and Operations and for their contribution in making this a fun and enjoyable event.

Written by Susan Friedman and Long Tran


Musicians don't retire; they stop when there's no more music in them.

Louis Armstrong
(1901 1971)

<![CDATA[UNITED IN PURPOSE, RESIDENTS SPRUCE UP NEW YORK CITY’S PARKS]]> dailyplant18983 The Ninth Annual "It’s My Park!" Day was held on Saturday, May 15, 2004. It’s My Park! Day is organized by Partnerships for Parks, a joint program of Parks & Recreation and City Parks Foundation, and is designed to encourage volunteerism and promote stewardship in parks. Twice a year, thousands of New Yorkers band together to care for and celebrate their neighborhood parks by participating in clean-up and restoration projects. This spring, Parks & Recreation and local community groups organized 167 volunteer projects and 23 events at 142 parks. Nearly 4,500 volunteers restored park trails and flagstone paths, planted flowers and trees, painted and mended park fences, and discussed ways to improve their local parks to benefit all members of the community.

Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe helped kick off the day at Manhattan’s High Bridge Park with City Parks Foundation Executive Director David Rivel and over a hundred volunteers from the New York Junior League, Friends of Highbridge, and New York Cares. Friends of Highbridge Park and New York Cares continued to restore the meadow behind the High Bridge Tower, planting native species and sprucing up the park. The New York Junior League has been revitalizing the park for the past two months as part of their annual Playground Improvement Project, painting murals, restoring grassy areas, and planting flowers in front of the Recreation Center. On Saturday, they completed their projects and painted near the pool deck.

As Commissioner Benepe made his rounds throughout the city, he also visited Brooklyn’s Monsignor McGolrick Park, the Bronx’s Ciccarone Playground, and Queens’ Travers Park.

Parks & Recreation, City Parks Foundation, and Partnerships for Parks staff made the day run smoothly by supporting the efforts of over 160 community groups—getting supplies out to sites, coordinating projects, and hosting events. A number of Council Members participated in Saturday’s events as well. Letitia James stopped by Crispus Attucks, Dennis P. Gallagher volunteered at Juniper Valley Park, Helen Sears at Travers Park, and Joseph Addabbo at Veterans Circle, and at Rockaway, Lefferts and Joseph Addabbo Playgrounds. Assembly Member Michael Gianaris volunteered his time at Ralph DeMarco Park.

At Staten Island’s Eibs Pond Park, nearly 175 New Yorkers joined the Friends of Eibs Pond Park to clean up the park and wood-chip its trails. At Brooklyn’s Monsignor McGolrick Park, the D.O.G. Association cleaned-up the dog run, and at Kaiser Park, 75 people from Friends of Kaiser Park and the Urban Divers cleaned up the waterfront. At Sunset Park, volunteers from Friends of Sunset Park and the Sunset Park Garden Club spruced up the park and planted flowers.

In the Bronx’s Ciccarone Playground, students and teachers from Middle School 45 painted games on the asphalt and mended benches. In Queens’ Travers Park, 40 volunteers from Friends of Travers Park painted fences and planted perennials. At Queensbridge Park, volunteers from the Queensbridge Park Committee and the Center for Court Innovation pruned shrubs and painted benches.

Crotona Park also had its share of support. "It’s My Park! Day is a remarkable event," said Crotona Park Administrator Steve Cain. "Part of my job is to generate community support and interest in the park. It’s My Park! Day provides a great opportunity for neighborhood residents to come out and show their commitment to the park through volunteering, with the bonus of seeing the fruits of their labor at the end of the day. Crotona Park was noticeably cleaner and brighter with the addition of many new plants and flowers. My staff and I were grateful for their help and hope even more people turn out for a repeat appearance this fall."

It's My Park! Day is part of a nationwide celebration of urban parks, including Philadelphia Cares About Fairmount Park Day on May 15 and Plant Yourself in the Park in Boston on June 5. These celebrations are designed to highlight the importance of urban parks. Each year, the number of participants—as well as the diversity of projects—continues to expand. It’s My Park! Day’s success can be attributed, in part, to a growing interest in volunteerism, to the many divisions of Parks & Recreation and City Parks Foundation that provided opportunities to get involved, and to more effective community outreach that has tapped into established volunteer groups, supported the development of new groups, and reached out to individuals interested in volunteering. Across the city, people of all ages demonstrated their love of parks. In addition to cleaning and caring for parks, It’s My Park! Day encourages New Yorkers to celebrate their parks and offers events from City Parks Foundation’s Puppets in the Parks, free tennis lessons, and a host of Recreation and Urban Park Ranger activities.

"It's My Park! Day is a chance for volunteers in all five boroughs to get involved in the life of their neighborhood park," remarked David Rivel. "We had nearly 4,500 people come out to over 150 sites across the city, so it was one of the biggest spring days we have ever had."

For more information about It’s My Park! Day, please visit


"I do not condemn the cult of pleasure;
I lament the general vulgarity."

Octavio Paz
In Light of India
, 1995

<![CDATA[VICTORY FIELD SCORES $1.5 MILLION RENOVATION]]> dailyplant18440 As the first flakes from this weekend’s massive snowstorm swirled down from the sky, Parks & Recreation broke ground for a brand new synthetic turf baseball field in Glendale, Queens. Despite the soggy weather and frigid temperatures, on Friday, December 5, representatives from local Little League teams joined Parks & Recreation’s First Deputy Commissioner Liam Kavanagh, Queens Borough Commissioner Richard Murphy and Council Member Dennis Gallagher to kick off the reconstruction of Victory Field in Forest Park.

Victory Field, located on Woodhaven Boulevard and Myrtle Avenue, will receive a new surface of artificial turf made of grasslike blades with a base of crushed rubber pebbles. The City Council allocated over $1.5 million to reconstruct the baseball field.

"It is fitting for us to break ground on an artificial turf athletic field on a snowy day since these fields are much more durable than traditional grass fields," said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. "Artificial turf is the wave of the future. The turf plays and feels like real grass, but it has an advanced drainage system and requires far less maintenance."

Athletes of all ages will enjoy Victory Field’s new dugouts and backstop while spectators will be able to cheer from new bleachers. Landscaping will beautify the area and the field will also receive updated fencing and an improved drainage system. Landscape Architect Shirley Kindler-Penzi designed the field and Resident Engineer Helen Belner is overseeing the construction.

The first artificial turf field used by Parks & Recreation was a carpet-style field in Manhattan’s Chelsea Park. Recent parks to receive the new generation of artificial turf fields include Brennan Field in Queens’ Juniper Valley Park, the Parade Grounds in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, and Thomas Jefferson Park field in Manhattan.

Deputy Commissioner for Capital Projects Amy Freitag, Assistant Commissioner for Community Relations Edward Lewis, and President of RGMVM Little League Patrick Piteo, along with Kevin and Terrence Flanagan from the W.O.R.K. Little League, also lent their support at the Victory Field ground breaking on Friday.

Thanks to this reconstruction, Queens residents will soon be able to play ball at Victory Field on the same surface used by the pros. Come spring, the snowmen and snow forts in Forest Park will have thawed leaving in their wake a pristine field of dreams.

Written by Jocelyn Aframe


"Literature is language charged with meaning."

Ezra Pound


<![CDATA[THE GRASS IS GREENER IN JUNIPER VALLEY PARK]]> dailyplant17974 Who said you can’t beat the real thing? Certainly, a fake Rolex is no match to an authentic timepiece, and a plastic tree can never replace a real pine. But when it comes to artificial turf, the newest synthetics are giving old grass fields a run for their money. On Wednesday, August 20, 2003, Council Member Dennis Gallagher, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe and Queens Borough Commissioner Richard Murphy welcomed soccer and football teams to Juniper Valley Park’s brand-new Brennan Field. The newly completed state-of-the-art synthetic turf was completed in three months with $1.4 million in funds allocated by the City Council, and the field lies at the center of a track finished last year.

"This is just one of dozens of field makeovers the Mayor and City Council have funded in the past year all over the city," said Commissioner Benepe. "We’ve been busy transforming windy dustbowls into green, lush, state-of-the art fields for young athletes to play on year-round. We owe it to our youth to give them a place to get in shape."

Artificial turf fields are now being used increasingly in parks thanks to the revolutionary technological advances made in the material. In addition to being softer and gentler on players’ knees and ankles, they also allow for year-round play (as opposed to grass fields, which need to be off-limits to protect the grass). Additionally, while initial cost of installing an artificial turf field is more than installing a grass one, the annual maintenance costs of the artificial turf is virtually nothing. The first artificial turf field used by Parks & Recreation was a carpet-style field in Manhattan’s Chelsea Park and the second was in Riverside Park. Recent parks to receive similar artificial turf fields include Dyker Beach Park in Brooklyn and East River Park in Manhattan. And considering that these new fields have a guaranteed life span of at least 10 years, it’s not surprising to hear that more are on the way.

This latest project also reflected the efficiency of Parks & Recreation’s Capital Projects division. Originally scheduled for a much longer work schedule, the work began in March of this year and was finished in July—a mere three months later. All of the work—which included the creation of new drainage, the installation of the base and field turf, the creation of a long jump area, and the addition of painted lines, new goal posts, and fencing—now makes Brennan Field a shining example for future fields. "This is one of the most beautiful and best-equipped parks in the city" said Benepe.

One football coach from the Christ the King school remarked that the fields are amazing for playing. Starting next year, Brennan field will become the home turf for its players. And during the festivities, kids of all ages—including Commissioner Benepe and Council Member Gallagher— tossed footballs and kicked soccer balls to demonstrate the field’s playability.

In the early 1930s the City of New York acquired the area that is now Juniper Valley Park to settle a $225,000 claim in back taxes against the estate of the infamous Arnold Rothstein (1882-1928), who had been accused of fixing the 1919 World Series. The bog was mined to provide landscaping material for parks and parkways. From 1941 to 1942, squads of Works Progress Administration workers transformed the barren land into one of Queens’ most beloved parks.

Written by Eric Adolfsen


We mourn the passing of Harold Tier on August 7, 2003. Harold was assigned as a Supervisor for Parks Management and Operations for the Staten Island Greenbelt. This position matched his interest in nature with his background as a former high school science teacher. He was very dedicated to his work. He is survived by a son and a daughter. For those that worked with Harold, we all are saddened by his loss.


A former Parks & Recreation employee, Morris L. Weissbrot, recently passed away on July 5, 2003. He worked with Parks & Recreation from 1961 to 1986, when he retired. He began his career as a Recreation Director at Vleigh Playground in Queens and eventually became Queens Chief of Recreation. On his free time, Weissbrot was the "voice of weightlifting," serving as the announcer for competitions up and down the East Coast. He is survived by his wife, Gail Gagne, sons Eric and Laurence, daughter Binnie, and four grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at Lost Battalion Hall on Monday, August 25 at 8 p.m.


"A stone, a leaf, an unfound door."

Thomas Wolfe