April 5, 2012 By Christian Murray
Preliminary plans for the revamp of the Thomas P. Noonan Playground have been released by the New York City Parks Dept. and will include an upgrade to the rainbow sprinkler system, a new play area, safety features and new shrubbery.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who called for the upgrade last year, initially set aside $600,000 to spruce up the rainbow sprinkler and its surroundings—but the revamp grew into a $1.4 million project in response to public feedback.
Last year, Van Bramer called on the public to put forward ideas as to how the playground should be improved. He placed suggestion boxes in the public library and in his council office. “We received 200 responses, tabulated them and discussed them with the [New York City] Parks Department.”
The Parks Department’s plan will increase the size of the 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 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. 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 Noonan, with his name etched in to the granite at the bottom. “When I visited PS199 recently, many children told me they wanted to know more about who he was, so we decided it was important to put up a memorial,” Van Bramer said.
Van Bramer said he is calling on the Parks Dept. to get a plaque placed on the park house wall that provides further information on Noonan, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor after being killed in the Vietnam War.
Van Bramer expects construction to begin in the spring of 2013 and anticipates that it will be completed within a year.
Shrubbery will also be planted behind the park house, with new trees toward 47th Ave.