Residents claim Bay Ridge parks as their own

What would Bay Ridge be without its parks? Although New Yorkersmay sometimes take their 1,700 public parks for granted, onSaturday, October 15, the local community came together at sevenlocations across the area to show their support with a rake and apaintbrush as part of It’s My Park Day.

The event is held across the city by the Parks Department, butthe Bay Ridge portion, which included Owl’s Head Park and drew over350 volunteers, was organized and promoted by the Shore Road ParksConservancy; in Dyker Heights, the McKinley Parks Conservancyorganized a similar effort at McKinley Park.

The Shore Road Parks Conservancy has cleanup projects year roundfor the local parks they maintain; however, it’s the localconstituency that makes It’s My Park Day special according tofounder and Secretary Linda Allegretti.

When we have our cleanups in the summer or during the year, weget volunteers from all over the United States, Allegrettiexplained. On It’s My Park Day, we tend to get more localresidents.

She says she was pleased with the local turnout which includedvolunteers from the Fort Hamilton Army Base, Community Board 10 andCornerstone Church.

It’s a great time for the whole community to come together,Allegretti said. It’s wonderful spending time with people youknow, people you don’t know, people you see in stores but nevertalk to.

The day’s festivities also included a visit from State SenatorMarty Golden, Councilmember Vincent Gentile and Assemblymember AlecBrook-Krasny. Even Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe stopped by, tothe delight of Shore Road Parks Conservancy Vice President JuneMarcus.

I think it’s very important for the volunteers because it showsthem appreciation when people like that come down, Marcussaid.

Michael Festa, chairperson of Community Board 10’s Parks,Communications, Public Relations and Cultural Affairs Committee,attended the event for the first time and was also deeply affectedby what he saw.

It was really gratifying to be there and see so many peoplefrom the neighborhood enjoying themselves and doing so manythings, he said.

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