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Sunnyside Resident Forms Volunteer Group That Aims To Maintain Lou Lodati/Torsney Playground

Lou Lodati/Torsney Park (Photo: The Volunteers of Torsney Lodati)

Oct. 26, 2020 By Christian Murray

With the city budget being slashed, Sunnyside resident Daniel Toronto has formed a group that aims to keep a local public park in good condition.

Toronto has just launched an organization that aims to cleanup and maintain Lou Lodati/Torsney Park, which is located on the corner of Skillman Avenue and 43rd Street.

The organization he has formed, called ‘The Volunteers of Torsney Lodati,’ will have its first clean up on Saturday, Nov. 7.  He aims to have a clean up once every two months.

Toronto said he got the idea after learning that the City had cut the budget—particular to the Parks Dept.

The Parks Dept. budget was slashed by $84 million, representing a 14 percent decrease. The cuts have resulted in the deterioration of many playgrounds and public parks across the city.

“With the government rolling back its budget, now is the time we need to take care of each other and connect,” Toronto, who lives on Skillman Avenue, said. “I have always believed that every individual has to do what they can to help the community.”

Toronto has been working with the NYC Parks Dept., which has been providing advice on getting his organization up and running, as well as connecting with other groups.

The Parks Dept. put him in touch with the Friends of Noonan Playground that was launched in June, which has provided some feedback. The Parks Dept. is also providing brooms, gloves, garbage bags and similar items.

Toronto said that he aims to work with different people committed to different sections of the park. For instance, he would work with Rick Duro, who helps maintain the dog run as part of Sunnyside United Dog Society, while with parents who would take charge of the playground.

The organization has so far recruited seven volunteers. Toronto said he is about to reach out to people through social media and believes that Sunnyside is the type of community where many people will sign on.

Toronto said that if people are interesting in joining they can e-mail him at [email protected] or reach him via social media

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I used to run like the bionic woman through this park. After getting covid 19 i cant. I have long-term effects such as breathing problems.


We love this park. But its turned into a dirty dog run with homeless and drug addicted people during the day and night. Its sad what quality of life has turned into throughout nyc. Unfortunately most of us can not afford to move out.


dog run is one of the best kept in the city. Proof being people from other neighborhoods make their way there everyday. Maybe instead of whining about the state of the park, you could do what this gentleman is doing. Get involved and make a difference. Less talk, more action.

Patricia Diaz

What park are *you* talking about? Also take action and do something rather than complaining. No one likes you.


this is anything but a park. its a slab of concrete with a cage around it. what is there to maintain? a garden and grass that doesnt exist? the benches outside the park that face heavy polluted traffic? mmm…breathe those delicious carcinogens in folks, its good for you! if people are partying and leaving trash, then put in cameras with facial recognition and have the city fine them heavily to pay for cleanup.

Negativity attracts more negativity

For a hobby, by any chance, do you walk around the neighborhood with a pin and pop children’s balloons?

A Normal Person

If you think Skilman Avenue is heavy traffic than you better not find out about the rest of New York City.

Worker Bee

Trash, leaves, gardening. There’s lots to maintain, especially in Fall. These people are volunteering to improve your neighborhood and you complain? Parks Dept has been forced to make huge cuts, a real community steps in to help fill that void. Roll up your sleeves and help out, ya bum.


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