Reflections in a New Year

Groundbreaking Ceremony for Astoria Heights Park

Groundbreaking Ceremony Astoria Heights Playground November 2016

What more could the Friends of Astoria Heights wish for in 2017? World peace would be amazing but perhaps a renovated playground will have to do?! After three years of playground advocacy, the playground is undergoing construction for a multi million dollar renovation.

Councilman Costantinides and Lynn Kennedy

Councilman Costantinides and Lynn Kennedy

Thanks to Councilman Costantinides, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Queens Community Board 1, City Parks Foundation with Partnership for Parks, the Parks Department with the Queens Parks Commissioner, Dorothy Lewindowski and NYC Parks Department Commissioner, Mitchell Silver, for believing in a slew of park volunteers and providing the funding,  the park will see its long overdue renovation, which is scheduled to last about 1 year. Renovations to include a new spray area,  a new adult work out area, expanded and designated play areas for toddlers, ages 5-12 and 12-15, a renovated bathroom, improved lighting, updated water fountains, and many new plantings and seating areas.

The Friends’ group is grateful for this much needed change and upgrade. Change can bring some temporary disruption and feelings of loss and sentimentality for the old, however, also represents a response to what a community needs. Big Kid Swings!

Park lover in November 2016 shortly before park closure

Park lover in November 2016 shortly before park closure

So much programming has taken place in the park over the last few years, from Community potlucks, Winter Olympics, Book Swaps, Holiday caroling, park and tree care, painting projects, to an art installation and performance events, basketball and tennis lessons, Fitness and international dance, movies, composting, and arts and crafts. Thank you to all of the local businesses who helped to support programming by making contributions.

Polish Youth Dance Troupe performing in Ocotber 2016

Wianek Polish Youth Dance Troupe performing in October 2016

Why is all of this important? It makes the seemingly impossible, possible.  Hope is created where there was none and people’s capacity for caring moves center place rather than getting lost in the day to day.

William Bryant Highschool students paint garbage cans

William Bryant Highschool students paint garbage cans

The world can use all of the help it can get. Having teens come out to beautify a park space, Army Reserves haul mulch, or developmentally delayed adults garden,  are actions supporting a better community and ultimately a better planet.

IS 10 students participate in 'ITs My Park Day'

IS 10 and William Bryant HighSchool students participate in ‘ITs My Park Day’

Every year around December and January, folks reflect upon their lives, for what we are grateful, our gains, our losses, and our hopes. In each new year, we can hope and do something better for ourselves, our families, neighbors, communities, the world and the planet.

Lauren Biniaris with Army Reserves

Lauren Biniaris with Army Reserves

I am grateful for this small park in Astoria, Astoria Heights Playground, that reminds me every day of the many challenges, successes, changes, connections, and hopes we have and experience in our lives.  When I witness a better, safer, responsive and more beautiful neighborhood developing , I hope for that parallel existence to extend to the larger world. On the flip side, as much as we hope, change does not come without first acknowledging the issues or problems and then putting in the effort to make change happen.

Park attendees enjoy an event

Park attendees enjoy an event

With great appreciation for what we have already achieved, the Friends of Astoria Heights Park ploughs forward in 2017. Scheduled to be on the roster of events supported by our Councilman’s generous advocacy for renewed discretionary funding for 2017, we will be able to support more programming, including a Free Little Library, an Art installation with workshops for the community, a ‘Pedal for Parks’ event, toddler playdates and bigger kid events, an Astoria wide parks’ symposium, and a block party with youth poetry jam.

To volunteer, contribute programming to an event or donate,  contact:

To make a tax deductible donation,  send a check  with ‘Friends of Astoria Heights Park’ (in the Memo) to: City Parks Foundation  Partnership for Parks – 830 fifth Ave New York, NY 10065

June 4, 2016 Shape Up Event Fitness Schedule

Welcome to Shape Up Fitness Day at Astoria Heights Playground, located at 45th street and 30th Rd in Astoria. The events are amazing and donated by local instructors. This project, funded by the New York City Council’s Parks Equity Initiative, Council Member Costa Costantinides

10 AM Tai Chi – Taoist Tai Chi Society of USA

11AM Meditation – Kadampa Meditation Center

11-12 PM Healthy Cooking Lesson for Kids

With Stacey Orenstein

12 PM Family Yoga – Jennifer Vizina

12 PM Martial Arts Clinic for Kids – Robin Hardbattle

12-2 PM Learn to Ride with Bike New York
(Ages 5-13, upper level, June 4 only, pre registration recommended)

1 PM ZUMBA – Simply Fit Astoria

2 PM Belly Dancing – Penelope

1.Learn to Ride requires each participant to bring a properly fitted safe working bike and helmet.
Preregistration for learn to ride at:
2. Please bring your own yoga mat

3. For more information: