On Park Lane, at the east end of the vast Forest Park, which includes the neighborhoods of Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Richmond Hill and Glendale, a lone lamenting figure stands on a rise between the basketball courts and the tony homes spread out before it. His garments are ripped and his eyes look heavenward in a supplicating manner. Passersby would be puzzled about what this figure symbolizes, were there not a NYC Parks sign positioned perhaps a bit too close to it.
It’s time to tree-cycle and e-cycle. To promote eco-friendly practices — and help New Yorkers avoid a new state law imposing $100 fines on residents who leave electronics on the curb for pickup — the Queens Botanical Garden will host the 12th annual E-Waste Recycling Event on Sunday. Done in partnership with the Lower East Side Ecology Center and sponsored by TekServe, this six-hour event allows participants to drop off unwanted or non-functional computers, printers, cell phones, video games, tablets, and other gadgets in the parking entrance. (Click here for a full list of acceptable items.) Garden employees will make sure that they are disposed of in the proper ecological way. On the same day and in the same spirit, the garden will host arts-and-crafts activities using recycled and repurposed items.
Meanwhile in response to recent holidays, the NYC Parks Department will host MulchFest 2015 all weekend at various spots throughout the five boroughs, including 13 Queens green spaces. Residents can bring trees to these spots to be recycled into mulch that will nourish plantings across the city. In some places, NYC Parks employees will chip the wood and give bags of mulch back to the tree donors. Details for all three events are on the jump page.
Do it for exercise, personal records, and a good cause. This Sunday, the second annual Forest Park Toy Drive 5 Miler will lead participants up and down small hills and past some beautiful fields on the wide, tree-lined road inside Forest Park. Presented by the Queens Tourism Council and Queens Distance Runners, this fun run has a charitable aspect, too, as harriers are asked to bring Christmas toy donations, which the Queens Centers for Progress will collect and distribute to needy children. There’s also a social side, as refreshments and food will be served afterward. And for those with competitive spirits, Ricardo Cuahizo won the men’s division last year in 28:11, while Blanca Lucero finished first among the women with a 34:46 time. They are presumed to defend their titles. Plus, City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, who had a fine showing last year, is expected to return.
Details: Forest Park Toy Drive 5 Miler, the course loops twice through the park, starting and finishing at Forest Park Drive and Woodhaven Boulevard, Kew Gardens, December 7th, 9 am (registration at 8:30 am), $25/$30 on race day, and the first 50 registrants will receive Queens Distance Runners t-shirts. Plus, racers are asked to donate toys. Register here.
After its frame was built in 1890 and its hand-carved horses and menagerie animals were added in 1903, the Forest Park Carousel has had a tremendous ride. It operated at Lakeview Park in Massachusetts from 1903 until 1971, sustaining severe damage in a 1966 fire. In 1973, the merry-go-round moved to Forest Park, where it dazzled riders with its intricate designs and sweet-sounding A. Ruth & Sohn band organ until closing in 2009. It re-opened in 2012 with a new operator, New York Carousel Entertainment, and was designated a New York City landmark a year later. Now this whirligig, which features 36 jumping horses, 13 standing horses, two chariots and three menagerie animals, is fighting a debilitating and deadly disease. This Friday, the Forest Park Carousel will host a fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association’s New York City Chapter. For $10, visitors get unlimited carousel rides, Cido the Clown and face-painting or they can enjoy individual rides for $3. NY Carousel will donate 100 percent of proceeds from the rides to the nonprofit health organization. The event is the brainchild of Alzheimer’s Association volunteer Carol Lacks, who lives nearby and has fond childhood memories of riding the carousel.
The Parks Department released plans to revamp the Mary Whalen Playground, a playground in Forest Park near Forest Park Drive and Park Lane South in Woodhaven. Times Ledger shares details on the $1,180,000 project, which includes the reconstruction of the pre-school and pre-teen play areas and the spray shower. Parks will install a new and safer swing set for younger kids, and a court for teenagers to play on. There will be much more vegetation and greenery, as well as large boulders placed near the edge of the park. The space will also be fully wheelchair accessible.
City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley earmarked $1,000,000 in city funding for the project over the past two years. The plan is to put the project out to bid next month and begin construction next spring. Work will last for about one year. The playground is named after the former vice chairwoman of Community Board 9, Mary Whalen, who also founded the Greater Woodhaven Development Corp. It was last renovated in the early 90s.
Summer is about to be in full swing… and it’s time for youngsters to work on their swings — and jumps, sprints and putts. On July 1st, the City Parks Foundation kicks off its free 2014 Summer Sports Program in 12 green spaces in Queens. CityParks Tennisprovides free tennis lessons to children, ages six to 16, and concludes with tournaments at the Central Park Tennis Center and Flushing Meadows Tennis Center in mid-August. CityParks Golfprovides free lessons and equipment to boys and girls, ages six to 16. CityParks Track & Fieldgives kids, ages five to 16, the chance to learn the basics of the sport, from hurdles and relay races, to long jump, shot put and javelin throw. Participants then have the opportunity to compete in an organized meet at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island. The Queens schedule follows.
It’s time to hear the pitter patter of big feet. This Sunday, the up-and-coming nonprofit Queens Distance Runners (above) will host the Toy Drive 5 Miler at Forest Park. About 60 harriers are expected to participate in this fun run, which will go up and down a few hills and past some beautiful fields on the wide, tree-lined roads within the park. The event has a charitable aspect as well, as racers are asked to bring Christmas toy donations, which the Queens Centers for Progress will distribute to needy children. Plus, a portion of the event’s proceeds will go to the Queens Tourism Council.
Details: Forest Park 5 Miler, starting area at Forest Park Drive and Metropolitan Avenue, Forest Park, Forest Hills/Woodhaven, December 22nd, 10 am, $22/$17 students, register here.
How to get there: E/F train to Kew Gardens/Union Turnpike stop, walk down Union Turnpike to Forest Park Drive at Metropolitan Avenue . The starting area is roughly half a mile from the subway station. Or take LIRR to Kew Gardens station and walk down Audley Street to Metropolitan Avenue and Forest Park Drive.
It dates back to 1903. It has 36 jumping horses, 13 standing horses, a piping organ, two chariots and some menagerie animals. It’s located in a 544-acre park. And it’s ready to raise funds to fight a debilitating and deadly disease. This Friday, an open party at the Forest Park Carousel will feature Omar Olusion’s Magic Show, face-painting, food and other activities as well as rides on the city’s oldest merry-go-round. The operating company, NY Carousel Entertainment, will donate all proceeds from circular trips on this work of art to the Alzheimer’s Association’s NYC Chapter. The idea for the event comes from Carol Lacks, a Kew Gardens resident and Alzheimer’s Association volunteer who has fond childhood memories of riding the carousel.
Details: An Evening on the Forest Park Carousel to End Alzheimer’s, Aug. 9, 6:30 pm, Vicinity of Woodhaven Boulevard and Forest Park Drive, Forest Park, $10 for unlimited rides and face-painting/$3 for an individual ride, all proceeds from rides will go to the Alzheimer’s Association’s NYC Chapter, free parking near carousel.
Happy birthday from local opera lovers! The Queens Symphony Orchestra will celebrate the bicentennial of famed Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi’s nativity and the group’s own 60th anniversary by offering two free concerts this summer. On July 30 at St. John’s University, the borough’s only professional orchestra will perform Viva Verdi & Friends, a show which includes selections from such classical Verdi operas as Aida, Falstaff, La Traviata and Rigoletto. A second Viva Verdi & Friends will take place in Forest Park on Aug. 4. Led by music director Constantine Kitsopoulos (seen conducting with back to camera in above photo), the performances will feature solos by soprano Victoria Cannizzo, mezzo-soprano Melisa Bonetti, tenor Benjamin Werley and baritone Avi Albrecht.
Details: Viva Verdi & Friends, St. John’s University’s Great Lawn, 80-00 Utopia Pkwy., Jamaica, Tuesday, July 30, 7 PM, free. (Rain location: Marillac Auditorium).
Additional details: Viva Verdi & Friends, George Seuffert Bandshell, vicinity of Forest Park Drive and Woodhaven Boulevard in Forest Park, Sunday, Aug. 4, 5 PM, free.
A typical park volunteer might not be recognized, but Forest Park Administrator Debby Kuha and Queens Parks Commissioner Dottie Lewandowski honored Myron Lubitsch with a nice plaque at an event held at the Oakridge House in Forest Park (GMAP). The evening was a thank-you party for parks volunteers. Myron helps out by having his school perform karate demonstrations at Forest and Highland Park. He runs Shorinjiryu Kenryukan Karate on Jamaica Avenue in Brooklyn.