You are reading

Officials to Name New Park in Honor of Fallen Sunnyside Firefighter Wednesday

Phipps Playground at 50-02 39th Ave.

Oct. 29, 2019. By Shane O’Brien 

Elected officials, NYC Parks Representatives and members of the FDNY will come together Wednesday to dedicate the new park planned at Phipps Playground to Michael Davidson, a Sunnyside firefighter who died in the line of duty last year.

The city recently bought the large property on the corner of 50th Street and 39th Avenue – which was the former site of the private playground – and plans to convert it into a public park.

The city officially acquired the 10,000 square foot property on Sept. 12, 2019 and will be revamping it following community feedback, according to Charisse Hill, a spokesperson for the Parks Dept.

NYC Parks will be hosting a public scoping meeting in winter 2020 to kick off the design process. The Parks Department estimates that the park will take three years from now until it is complete.

The new property will be officially dedicated to Davidson on Wednesday.

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, Assembly Member Brian Barnwell, NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver and FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro will be joined by civic leaders and advocates at the former playground, located at 50-02 39th Ave, at 11 a.m. Wednesday to honor Davidson’s service and legacy.

FDNY Lieutenant Davidson died while responding to a five-alarm fire in Harlem in March 2018. Davidson was born and raised in Sunnyside in the Phipps Housing Complex across the street from Phipps playground.

He died while the city was in the process of acquiring the Phipps Playground site.

Michael Davidson, who died at 37 after responding to a five-alarm fire in Harlem earlier in 2018 (FDNY)

The former playground has been vacant for decades and once served children who lived at the Phipps Housing Complex. The once privately owned lot is one of the few depression era playgrounds still in existence and remnants of the shed, sandbox pavilion, swings and slide still remain somewhat intact.

Phipps owned the complex until 2007 when the site was sold to development company DBH for $1.4 million.

DBH put forward a highly contentious plan to develop the site in 2013 which included the installation of eight residential units and an aluminaire house – made of metal. The plan was ultimately shot down by Community Board 2, local officials and the Landmark Preservation Commission.

Around the same time, Jimmy Van Bramer started working on securing city funds to buy the property and turn it into a public park. In 2016, he secured $3 million to acquire and renovate it.

The department of Citywide Administrative Services later stepped in to negotiate a sale.

Van Bramer recently secured a further $2.5 million to go toward the renovation of the playground as part of the 2020 city budget.

email the author: [email protected]

6 Comments

Click for Comments 
Anonymous

It’s a beautiful tribute to him.May God bless him , the neighborhood ,& all firefighters. Thank you.

24
20
Reply
Anonymous

He was a great man. It will be unfortunate though because the park will be home to many homeless people and obviously reflecting negatively on his dear name and sole

8
3
Reply
Barry

Ok, at least this guy did something and was a hero. Ethel just lived until 110 and that was it.

24
12
Reply

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Popular places where you can watch the Super Bowl in Queens

Feb. 2, 2023 By Tammy Scileppi

Hey, football fans! Game time is fast approaching, and across the city and here in Queens, you can feel the excitement brewing as the two teams prepare to take the field on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 12. So, kick back and watch the big game, and don’t miss Rihanna’s exciting performance during halftime. 

Borough president hears from community members on budget needs throughout Queens

During a two-day public hearing on the mayor’s 2024 preliminary budget, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. listened to testimonies from 14 community board representatives, community stakeholders and members of the public on where the money should be spent in Queens. 

The public hearings were held both in-person and via Zoom on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Queens Borough Hall. The testimonials will be used to develop the Queens Borough Board’s FY24 preliminary budget priorities in the coming weeks. 

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

Op-Ed: This Year’s State Budget Must Prioritize Climate, Jobs, and Justice for New York

Op-Ed, Jan. 30, By Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas

In a time of rampant economic inequality and environmental injustice, it is easy to feel defeated.  Here in Queens and across New York State, however, communities are organizing for a better future. New Yorkers from different backgrounds and with different lived experiences are proving that we can build community, organize, and create a future that reflects our shared values.

LaGuardia Community College receives federal funding to expand vocational training for the unemployed

Jan. 27, 2023 By Bill Parry

LaGuardia Community College recently received more than $400,000 in federal funding to enhance and expand vocational training for underemployed New Yorkers in a city that is still working to recover from COVID-19 pandemic-induced job loss. The support was secured by U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and former Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney.