NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, today joined Senator James Sanders Jr., and Council Member Donovan Richards to cut the ribbon on improvements to Cardozo Playground, a Jointly Operated Park that is managed by NYC Parks and the New York City Department of Education. The playground is adjacent to the Goldie Maple Academy (PS/MS 333), and serves as the school’s outdoor gym area.
“Being active and involved in sports helps kids to focus, learn team working skills, and stay healthy,” said Commissioner Silver. “Thanks to a $3.2 million renovation, Cardozo Playground has been transformed into an ideal space for students to play and exercise during the school day, with a new track, volleyball and tennis courts, chess tables, and painted games like hop scotch and skully. We’re grateful to Senator Sanders and Council Member Richards for their commitment to improving open space in Far Rockaway.”
Senator James Sanders Jr. said: “I remember a time when this was a barren space. It was in such a bad state that the teachers were using it to park their cars. There was no real place for the children to play or exercise and enjoy themselves. I had a vision of an Olympic-size track and field, basketball courts, tennis – a space that could be used by everyone. I gathered with community leaders, the school’s principal and the parent association and after many years of struggle we made the impossible, possible. Now, we have a place in a community, which is rated among the most obese, that will serve as an oasis of recreation and physical fitness. I want to thank Council Member Richards for sharing my vision and allocating $1 million in funding towards the completion of this project. I would also like to thank the Parks Department and School Construction Authority for their hard work.”
I remember not too long ago, that this beautiful park right here was a barren slab of concrete where teachers parked their cars and now children and seniors from Ocean Bay, Arverne View and nearby homes have a place to relax, unwind, and be active,” said Council Member Donovan Richards (D-Far Rockaway). “These communities now have a park to be proud of and to appreciate. Health and Wellness can now be a focus of our community. I’d like to thank Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, Bryan McGinn from SCA, Senator James Sanders and all of our local residents who remind me every day about the need for more park space in the Rockaways.”
The $3.2 million improvement project, funded by the Mayor’s Office and the City Council, and managed by the School Construction Authority, included the removal and replacement of playground equipment, 29 new benches, fences, basketball hoops, game tables and adult fitness equipment. A new four lane running track was constructed, with an asphalt infield where kids can play tennis or volleyball. The park was completed with safety surfacing, new planting areas for some greenery, and two new drinking fountains. Construction began in Summer 2014.
Cardozo Playground is named for Benjamin N. Cardozo (1870-1928), a United States Supreme Court Justice and native New Yorker. An eminent figure in the legal community, Cardozo spent most of his career in New York before being appointed to the United States Supreme Court by President Herbert C. Hoover (1874-1964) in 1932. The City of New York acquired this land in April 1955, and the playground was opened in August 1957.