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Tornsey/Lodati Park Revamp Unveiled; Will Include Dog Run

June 2, 2011 By Christian Murray

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and Queens Borough President Helen Marshall held a joint press conference on June 2 to reveal plans to improve the George F.  Tornsey Park in Sunnyside, often referred to as Lou Lodati Park because Lodati Playground is within it.

Van Bramer and Marshall have allocated $700,000 each toward the project, which was strongly welcomed by members of the Sunnyside United Dog Society, since the redesign includes a modern dog run.

Van Bramer said that redesign was a priority. He said the park will feature many improvements, which include better “lighting and basketball courts, the regreening of the entire park, ecuavoli courts (similar to volleyball), better fencing to secure the children’s area, and a needed resurfacing of the softball field.”

Enticing photographs were on display of the flora to be planted in the coming flower beds, which included wild ginger, sweet violets and cinnamon ferns.

Joseph Conley, chairman of Community Board 2, said:  “Rick Duro (current SUDS President) might have felt he was chasing his tail around… as this effort took many people many years. It took two dedicated people, Jimmy and Helen, to come together to get this done for all of us.”

The press conference  was crowded with those who accompanied dogs, including Annie, Spring Moon above, Dempsey, Shanghai, D.J., Munchie, Harper and Matilda.

The rebuilding is set to begin in September of 2012, with its completion scheduled to be spring of 2013.

Photo: QueensPost

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If the two other comments by Lily are you then I don’t understand how you can be so ignorant when you yourself are a dog owner.


To Lily: what you are saying is the real ridiculous thing. Dogs may not be humans like our kids and husbands/wives, but they are family to many. Whether they are or are not, they are living creatures that need to exercise to be healthy just like humans do. So I would stop acting moronic if I were you and not wish harm onto others. That only shows how immature you are. Dog runs are ways to keep dogs healthy and happy. Not everyone has a backyard to let their dogs run free there. You also cannot say that people do not pick up after their dogs at all, because (as it sounds you are not a dog owner) and unless you have taken a survey of every single dog owner and they respond truthfully, you have no authority to say nobody cleans after them. I understand some people don’t pick up after their dogs as they should, but that doesn’t mean Queens is a shithole like you describe it. First of all, queens is a county & we are only talking about Sunnyside. Secondly, they need to pick up after their dogs just as much as you need to watch where you walk, as common sense. Thirdly, the fact that some parks have dog runs in them, has little affect on the parks and space that kids have, in you see the amount of dog parks in comparison to general parks and playgrounds, you will be outnumbered. Therefore, that statement is irrelevant, and quite frankly, completely obsurd.


First of all, the motto ‘in dogs we trust’ is absurd. Secondly, people do not, by any stretch of the imagination, pick up after their dogs. To say so is a blatant lie. There is so much dog crap in Queens it feels like I’m walking through a minefield. Third and most important, at least with the ‘Sunnyside Dog Park’ what we’ve always feared is finally being openly admitted: the parks of NYC no longer belong to people or kids, they belong to dogs and dog owners. I hope you guys are happy. When you can date and procreate with your dogs and dogs can learn to talk and have conversations, the transition will be complete. I also sincerely hope several people are bitten (as I’m sure they will be when leashes come off and dogs ‘run’ free) so this ridiculous idea will be seen for what it is. RIDICULOUS.

Tom in Sunnyside

Any grass or other greenery beyond a scraggly asphalt limited sapling? If not, I can’t say I’m all that impressed.

Rick Duro

Forget to address the poop issue. Having owned a dog for almost a decade now, I RARELY ever see people NOT pick up, but, on the rare occasion that I do, I politely offer them a bag. They usually do the fake search for a poop bag (“I forgot one”) or say that the dog poo’d already and they don’t have another bag. A few people acted all tough about it, having a lot of attitude, but I just laugh.

In my experience, the overwhelming majority of people pick up after their dogs. if you have 10 people in the neighborhood who don’t pick up after their dog (assuming they only have 1 dog!), that’s 2 poops a day, 7 days a week, that’s 140 fresh piles of dung each and every week, so it appears that more people aren’t picking up, but the reality is that it is a small group of slobs that refuse to, or only pick up when someone is looking.

Dogs tend to go in the same 3-4 places all the time, so if crap is being left in front of your house everyday, it’s probably the same dog.

It’s up to all of us, dog owners and those w/o a pooch to hold these people responsible by letting them know it is against the law and absolutely disgusting. We are dealing with ignorance and laziness. There is one genius whose dog craps around the same tree on 43rd St (etween Skillman and 43rd Ave.) and never picks up, so the dog has to basically walk on its own crap to crap, then dragging it into their apt.
See what we are up against. If you see someone not pick up, politely ask them to do so. Hopefully that will work. There are always going to be slobs of all kinds that refuse to do the right thing. Parents of kids @ PS 150 routinely drop their garbage in the bushes around my building and discard their trash on the sidewalk, most don’t, but the ones that do make the rest look bad, same goes for dog owner that dont pick up.


Rick Duro

A few things:

1. I have lived in Sunnyside since 2001, and have not seen an adult softball league game played in the park since summer 2003, and there are no permits on record with the parks department. The only softball being played is by preteen girls and their hits will all fall well short of what will be the left field fence (dog run) and the ‘volleyball’ games in right field.

2. There is PLENTY of room for soccer. With the redesign of the park there will be room for 2 soccer games running parallel to one another, and, if there is no girls softball game going on (which is most of the time) then there could be a third, especially considering that most of these games are played on a shorter field anyway. Also, don’t forget, there is also the field behind PS 150 that gets used every weekend by soccer leagues.

3. SUDS uses the park more than any other group, 12 months/365 days a year whether it is 1 degree or 100. We have been a true ambassador to the park, cleaning up every night after the groups that use it throughout the day. Many of these folks urinate behind the trees, creating big puddles of pee behind the 3 trees closest to 43rd St, leaving it smelling like the old Yankee Stadium bathrooms. Notice, the 2 trees closest to 42nd st (where the dogs sometimes go to pee) don’t smell at all. When we first starting meeting up there in late 2001 the park was filled with people urinating, defecating, selling/drinking booze and food, broken glass, gambling, loud announcers and tons of trash everywhere. Our constant presence each evening and our politely asking these folks to do the right thing has helped turn the park around. While it is not perfect, it is 100X better than it was in 2004-5.

4. SUDS has worked very hard over the last 9 yrs: rescuing scores of dogs/cats and getting them adopted, organizing ‘pick up the poop’ days in the neighborhood, educating dog owners on responsible pet ownership/training, marching in the Sunnyside St Pat’s Day Parade every year since 2003, raising thousands of dollars for ill dogs in our neighborhood, working with the New York Council of Dog Ownership Groups to make Dog Runs/Off leash areas part of official Parks Dept and Health Dept Policy, and most importantly, taking care of the park on a daily basis.

5. We got approval for the dog run in 2006 (a 34-5 Community Board vote), but our goal was not just to get a dog run built, we wanted to get enough $ to fix up the WHOLE park and we accomplished that. The redesign of the park was voted on unanimously by the Community Board last week. The park will become much greener, which is definitely needed.

6. The kids would have more room to play if the park wasn’t filled with volleyball nets, as many as 8 @ a time. In the summer, volleyball nets are set up in the early am, left there ALL day (w/ no one using them), so that the players can ‘claim’ that spot, thus, negating space from kids. There is also the top park to use and PS 150 as well.


Rick Duro


the people who design this shit really dont think about where balls will be flying.

those courts are in a dangerous area, with peoples backs facing the baseball field… GREAT IDEA!

those courts are WAY TOO CLOSE together (if this is drawn to scale) and that second court on the right is way to close to that its-not-a-real-sport-so-im-not-going-to-try-to-spell-it area!

so many complain about the bad kids in the neighborhood… well its because you give them shitty play area!


I’m soooo happy to be getting a dog run. For more than 6 years now, I have felt like a criminal, being ousted from various spaces in the neighborhood. Some of the volleyball and soccer players use the trees as toilet facilities (and I don’t think they pick up after themselves!). They sell beer from coolers, play volleyball and soccer for money and I believe they are supposed to have a permit for organized team sports!! SO, they are drinking, gambling and littering every single day of the week and little is done about it. However, the moment a dog owner sets foot in the park, the staff descend upon the owners telling them “the rules” of the park!! It’s dog owner discrimination!!! Anyway as I said, no more feeling like a criminal!!! I only hope my dog lives long enough to reap the benefits of having a dog run. Bravo SUDS!!!


Again, why no soccer? There are half basketball courts at Noonan and behind PS 150. Just yesterday I saw kids kicked out from behind PS 150 for playing soccer.


People should play whatever game they’d like to play. If it looks like they’re playing a fun and casual take on volleyball, maybe that’s because…they’d rather play a fun and casual version of volleyball? This is a small park in Queens, not the Olympics. Anyone playing anything on concrete *should* be taking it easy. That includes basketball. It’s not worth it to get seriously hurt playing sports unless you’re getting paid to do it.

joe s

equavolli??? Are you serious? Ever watch this game, you catch it with two hands and push it back over the net. I always thought it was just unskilled vollyball. This is like catching a curve ball from the pitcher and throwing it into the outfield for a single. Thumbs WAY down, give people a VOLLEYBALL courts and tell em how to play correctly.

Hey Van Bremer, can you give us 6 foot basketball hoops, cause I like to slam dunk. We’ll call it Dunkball Courts. Thanks man.


I meant left field. Folks can duck but the pitcher might need a new ball if it lands in the dog run.

Oppressed Masses

I think you mean rightfield Greg. The distance to left looks pretty short, and the dog run is on on the other side of that wall. Hopefully they will think of putting nets up to prevent folks and dogs from being konked with a softball.


I agree more trash cans on corners are needed.
But what to do about the idiots who insist upon loading them up with their household trash? What is that about? Why do people go out of their way to dispose of trash when there must be an area in their building’s basement or alley to do so? OR why can’t they just put it on the curb when the day comes?


Unfortunately, a dog run won’t prevent irresponsible, rude dog owners from not picking up after their dogs. I always carry extra bags when I walk mine, but it sounds like other dog owners aren’t as courteous. More trash cans on the street corners would be a tremendous help, though.

Tired of dog poop on my property

Anything that gets the irresponsible dog owners off the streets so we don’t have to dodge hot steamy piles is a good thing.

45th and Skillman


I think that’s spanish for “catch the ball then throw it back over the net”.

A nice looking redesign for the most part, though. The wall of the dog run is way too close to home plate on the softball diamond, and because there’s a bit of a walk from any entrance of the park to the dog run, you’re still going to have loose dogs running around.

JVB deserves a pat on the back, but the people at SUDS should definitely take a bow. They’ve worked pretty hard and now they’ve grabbed a nice chunk of the park.


This is awesome! Can’t wait to bring my dogs there. The small-dog run is especially appealing (and safer!).


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