April 22, 2014 By Christian Murray
The New York City Parks Dept. has started work on the $2.2 million revamp of Thomas P. Noonan Playground that will include upgrading the rainbow sprinkler system, putting in a new children’s play area, new fencing, new shrubbery and the resurfacing of the basketball courts.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who called for the upgrade in 2012, initially set aside $600,000 to fix the rainbow sprinkler and its surroundings—but the revamp grew into a $2.2 million project where most of the park will now undergo a makeover.
The revamp stems from a PS199 student who proposed a cleanup day at the park when Van Bramer was visiting the school. On the day of the cleanup, Van Bramer said he noticed the play area was in need of repair.
“I noticed broken and chopped up concrete by the rainbow sprinkler and I realized we had to fix it,” Van Bramer said. “Then the Parks Department did a walk-through (evaluation) and we talked about other improvements too.”
The Parks Department’s plan will increase the size of the existing playground, providing room for two sets of play areas instead of the one that is there now. There will be one play area that targets 2-to-5 year olds, while the other will be for 5-to-12 year olds. Both play areas will include swings—with the older play area including a small rock climbing area.
To make way for the older-children’s play area, some of the adult benches that are near the chess & checkers area will be removed. There will be greenery, such as shrubs, separating the playground area from the adult/chess area. The adult/chess area will be cleaned up.
The rainbow sprinkler system will be moved closer to the playground entrance at the corner of Greenpoint Ave. and 43rd Street. It is clearly marked on the map.
The plan calls for the rainbow sprinkler to be revamped with the latest fixtures. “It will be multi-dimensional, where children can be sprayed from many directions,” Van Bramer said last year. Furthermore, “there will be six holes in the ground where water sprays upward.”
Moreover, the entire playground area will be fenced in—with one entrance in and out of the area at the corner of 43rd and Greenpoint Ave. That existing entrance will be narrowed to cut the risk that kids will dart out onto the street.
Presently, children are able to run out of the park at the 42nd street end exit (on Greenpoint Ave. or 47th Ave)—as well as the main entrance.
A flagpole will be erected in honor of Thomas P. Noonan, with his name etched into the granite at the bottom. There will be a plague that explains who he was and how he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor after the Vietnam War.
Furthermore, there will be a plaque that honors all of this neighborhood’s residents who were killed in Vietnam.
Shrubbery will also be planted behind the park house, with new trees toward 47th Ave.
Van Bramer said all that is left is the upgrade of the park house, which includes the bathrooms. He said he is seeking funding this year to revamp that too.
The Parks Department says that the project will be completed in a year. However, Van Bramer noted that the upgrade at Lou Lodati Park was completed two months ahead of schedule.
“This upgrade is something we should all celebrate,” Van Bramer said. “We will have a much more beautiful park and a more pleasant space that many Sunnyside and Woodside residents can enjoy.”