It’s My Park Day, scheduled for this May 18 from 9am to noon is fast approaching. It’s My Park Day is a borough-wide event co-sponsored with Partnership for Parks that is a call to action for our communities to celebrate our public spaces by showing up to demonstrate that we cherish them.
Preparing for our event this coming Sunday brought me back to our “It’s My Park Day” event on October 19th, 2013. That was our first event after successfully petitioning the Community Board to reprioritize our need for erosion control and gates. Our requests were heard and Astoria Heights Park moved from thirty-fifth place on the list of public parks to be addressed nearly to the top of the list. The Queens Parks Department Commissioner, Dorothy Lewandowski, took notice of our strong contingency, as well. In March of this year, following a hearing with the Queens Borough President, Melinda Katz, we learned that we moved even higher up in the New York City Parks Department’s agenda for renovations.
In so many ways, It’s My Park Day in October 2013 has produced positive effects and generated incredible momentum for Friends of Astoria Heights Park. We had over 125 volunteers that lovely Fall day, including children, adults and students from five area schools.
Senator Gianaris, Assemblywoman Simotas, Council candidates Lynne Serpe and Costa Constantinides were present to help us with chores and support our efforts. Today, Councilman Costa Constantinides is one of our most consistent supporters, helping to advocate for a better park and a cleaner Astoria. We have had several events since our very first It’s My Park Day, all part of an effort to invite our neighbors to become stakeholders in our park and to help us continue building momentum towards the kinds of improvements we all want to see.
It’s My Park Day is a powerful way of showing up and of advocating for the park. Every time we show up, we are communicating to our parks department and local community leaders that we take our park and our neighborhood seriously. We have already made change happen and we can and should continue to do so.
There is a saying that raising a child takes a village. I believe that applies as well to building a better public space for our children to enjoy.
Please join us for It’s My Park Day on May 18th. Bring your kids. Volunteering is fun, character-building, and essential to the improvement of our community. Come meet your neighbors and celebrate each other and what we can accomplish together. And if you feel inclined to get more involved with Friends of Astoria Heights Park, we would wholeheartedly welcome you onto our team of volunteers.