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Parks Department Starts Work on Thomas P. Noonan Playground Overhaul

Before Upgrade (SunnysidePost)

Thomas. P. Noonan (Photo: Wikipedia)

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.”

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Although I’m happy for the re-vamp, I’m disgusted by the amount of trash that’s been collecting in the park since the construction started. It’s a mess right now and I never see any park workers there cleaning up. I’m going to call 311 before it starts attracting rodents. I suggest everyone in the neighborhood do the same!

Live a block away

I’m so glad about the revamp (although I don’t have any kids of my own) this park is always packed with kids and they def needed some more space!

FOR THE OLD GRUMPY PEOPLE – the are where the chess tables/ benches only half of it is used…. and half of that are used by DRUNK HOMELESS PEOPLE WHO PEE IN THE BUSHES IN DAY LIGHT WHEN KIDS ARE ONLY 20 FT away!

How COULD YOU NOT BE DISGUSTED about that? I’m so glad they are taking some more of the unused area (and maybe the people who complain about lack of space for seniors you can kick out the drunkards – because the way I see it little kids are the helpless one not you) and you allow them to be around kids who can be your own family…

Anyways, so excited to see the updated space!

work has to be done it doesnt matter the season… atleast its already in progress!


Good idea to have a separate playground for the younger kids. I always said that was needed as the older kids often run into the little ones. It is a bummer that it’s being done when summer is almost here. But it does need to get done, and I’m happy it is. I agree something should be done about the drunks being allowed to sleep there. It’s just not safe or sanitary.

Kramden's Delicious Marshall

@ben moishe

If there’s a statue in honor of veterans, it includes the gay ones as well. They’re honored for their service and sacrifice, not their sexuality.

ben moishe

Thank you JVB…..i would like to see a statue in honor of gay veterans one day….we’ll get there!


It is great to have work done to the park. @Me – a lot of seniors enjoy the park as well.

I wonder if they will revamp the chess tables?

Concerned Hipster

@Anowamas No way! I read a Vice Magazine trend piece on Irish bars last year. This place is on the up, I just know it!!

South Side Johnny

I like the name Thompson Hill Park. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say Thomas Noonan Park. It’s awkward. I’m glad this young man was memorialized with the plaque, though.

Rick Duro

Lou Lodati Park was done during winter (summer 2012 thru
Spring 2013), as well as 3 other seasons…



so they will close the whole park for a year which will stretch into 2 instead of closing it in sections..


Why is it everytime a park around here gets fixed up they decide to do it during summer time?

I get we have Skillman Park and also Doughboy Park further off but this is really stupid. You guys couldn’t be bothered to work on this during the winter? Even the guys working on that new Elementry school in the neighborhood right by this park worked through winter weather. I saw them out there working while snow was falling so hard you could barely see and the people fixing up this park can’t be bothered to work on it so that its fixed up for kids to enjoy during summer?

The last time when the park was redone to how it is now, again during summer, parents got fed up with it, tore apart the caution tape and let their kids play on the play area before they poured in the cement to secure everything. Really stupid on their part even if they were frustrated and I don’t want that happening again and this time with someones kid getting hurt.


Appreciate the revamp! Thank u JVB. A gated and drunkard-free playground will give parents/guardians a peace of mind.


Wonderful Jimmy, the Seniors & Kids need this. What can be done about the Homeless Men?? The Noise & the gathering of Metal ect. is a Terrible Problem. Hopefully something can be done to help those unfortunate Men. Set aside some of the Millions for their help. In acity like N. Y. I think this should be Addressed first, before the Park is revamped. Thank You so much.

ben dover

i dont see a graphic showing where the weekly ambulance will pull up to roll away the drunken bums to the emergency room?

coocoo for cocopuffs

the black and white rendering looks like its from 1972, they cut that from Life magazine?? They got color printers nowadays!


Good to see that the focus of this project is on children, unlike other recent park renovations in the Sunnyside area. The new sprinkler system sounds similar to the sprinklers in use in Battery Park in Manhattan, which are tons of fun.


I think this project is good for the neighborhood all improvements are welcome but they should keep the entrance on 47th Ave.

John Z

I agree, terrible idea to start the project in the summer. this should have been started in the fall.

Patricia Dorfman

Good news

Thank you, Jimmy, and there is no downside to facelist for this lovely, always-packed park for any of us. Glad to hear of Vietnam remembrance and I’m with Hoof Hearted – so nice to see pix of Noonan!

Sunnyside Native

As always, Jimmy Van Bramer continues to do great work for Sunnyside! They could never have done the needed construction in the winter, let alone the brutal one that we just had. I don’t know why anybody would even suggest that. Senior citizens and children both need to have their own areas of recreation in the park. Lou Lodati Park used to have a shuffle board court for the seniors, but they removed it to expand the children’s playground. That was a shame, because it was used all the time in the nice weather. For those of us who grew up in Sunnyside, Thomas Noonan Park will always be knows as Thomson Hill Park. It’s just the way it is…Thanks JVB and kudos on beautifying Sunnyside!

Who Cares?

Yes! Now the drunks and bums will have a nicer park to hang out at. I swear all the money Sunnyside gets is wasted on crap that’s not needed. I miss the original park with the tire swings.

Rick Duro

Something to remember, as the NYC Parks Dept is so woefully underfunded (less than 1% of NYC budget), they take about 30% of the $ they get from Councilman to cover administrative costs, so the actual cost of revamping that park is 30% less than the $2.2MM.


Kramden's Delicious Marshall

“There will be one play area that targets 2-to-5 year olds, …”

Couldn’t this sentence have been worded a little better?


Will there be park rangers or guards or at least someone who can walk around as some sort of security to kick the bums out of the park if they are showing in sprinklers or if they are washing their heads on drinking fountains? This has been a huge problem at this park, and I see the one on Skillman with the dog park is actually gated and there is someone asking loners if they are with a family or with a child, which is something I never saw on other parks. So if they spend millions on these parks, all well, great job, but make sure they stay nice and clean, and get those drunk bums out of our parks.


It’s great the New York City Parks Department is working to revamp the park. I am sure the children will love the new features once it opens again.

Hoof Hearted

Thanks to SP for including a picture of heroic Medal of Honor recipient Thomas Noonan. I still hear people refer to this as Thompson Park however. In any event, Thomas Patrick Noonan is buried nearby in the First Calvary Cemetery.


Glad to see that our elected officials continue to add shrubbery/trees and upgrade our public places.


Great great investment for the children of this community. Love the idea of having a toddler area. Let’s be grateful for any beautification in the area hoping it will lead to more.


@ foolish & grumpy if you read my remark I said @ $600,000 is a fair price on FIXING a playground but over $2.2 million is a waste of money. And I am sure the price will go even higher before its finished. I did NOT say the children should be denied a revamped park.

And what makes you think the retired hard working seniors don’t deserve more?

And have you ever seen how the park is left after the end of a day? Ever see the drunks hanging around the park all day? civic pride? lol

Stupid comments come from idiots with names like foolish & grumpy!

Foolish and grumpy

Why they start in summer? Well, construction in winter when there is ice doesn’t makes sense.
The park was covered in snow for most of winter. It was brutal.
Are suggesting construction start in December? Foolish.
Also, if the job takes a year…then one summer is always going to be lost. Just means it will be ready in time for next summer.

As for more funding of seniors…aren’t the children of this neighborhood entitled to a little fun. Also this looks a lot better for the community…which creates civic pride.

Unbelievable some of the stupid comments.


all for the revamp of the park @ $600,000 but $2.2 million??? I think the money could be better served elsewhere! More services to the Seniors, more cameras on QB…and get rid of the drunks from the park!


Good job at starting the construction when the weather is finally getting nicer and kids will be out of school for the summer. Didn’t you think of that?


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