Jan. 30, 2018 By Christian Murray
The Parks Department has unveiled its preliminary plans for the $1.5 overhaul of Doughboy Plaza in Woodside.
The plaza, which pays tribute to fallen soldiers who gave up their lives to protect freedom, is located on the corner of Woodside Avenue between 54th and 56th streets. In June, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer allocated city funds for its overhaul.
Gone will be the uneven cobble stones, the white and green walls, and the old water fountain.
The plans call for the pavement to replaced with a bluestone surface, and the distinctive-colored walls covered with a granite veneer. Other features include additional benches, a new water fountain, two additional planting areas and more trees.
The area will have better lighting, with a focus on illuminating the U.S. flag. There will be retro-style lamps added and the Dougboy statue restored.
“The new plans will make it a much more dignified space,” Van Bramer said. “This is a sacred place and it’s a fitting tribute to our brave service men and women who fought on the front lines. It’s also a space for Woodsiders and Queens residents to enjoy and it will help elevate the entire area.”
The 1.71 acre park was established in 1923 and includes the “Doughboy” monument that commemorates those who served in World War I. Other monuments have been added since. A stone panel was installed in 2001 listing the names of the eleven major WW1 campaigns in which Americans fought, and then in 2006 a Sept. 11 memorial plaque was added dedicated to the 34 people who died in the attacks from Woodside.
The Doughboy statue was last restored in 1990 and the plaza surrounding the statue was last renovated in 2001. A Doughboy is an informal term for an American infantryman, particularly those who fought in the trenches during WW1.
The Parks Dept has yet to provide a time line as to when work will begin, although the construction phase is expected to last about one year.
The plans still need to go through the approval process, including review from the Public Design Commission.