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Park Victory, Bus Solution

News Conference
(left to right) Assemblyman John A. Ravitz, State Senator Roy M. Goodman, Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, and Parks Commissioner Henry J. Stern at press conference, Dag Hammarskjold Plaza.
Wednesday, September 23, was one of those perfect autumn days when the sky was clear and the sun cast a halo over everything, convincing even the die-hard doubters that "all's well that ends well."

At 11 AM in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani held his long-awaited press conference to announce that the expansion (Phase III) of the park would go forward with construction to begin the following Monday. (It did!) He further confirmed that the 49th and 50th Street crosstown buses (M27 and M50), which had used the park block as a layover, would be rerouted to 42nd Street for that purpose, thanks to the MTA, which finally agreed to oblige the community so the park could be completed.

Mayor Giuliani credited Senator Roy Goodman, Assemblyman John Ravitz, and Councilman Andrew Eristoff for prevailing upon him to "take another look" when he canceled the expansion after safety issues were raised by residents of the park block. Resumed talks with the MTA persuaded the agency to agree to the 42nd Street solution.

Parks Commissioner Henry Stern was all smiles. "The park we have now is a better park than the one we were going to have," he stated, referring to the fact that the buses have now been banished from the park block altogether.

TBA President Bill Curtis nodded, noting that the community had gained a park without diminishing bus service, precisely what TBA had held out for during these many years.

Assemblyman Ravitz referred to the park as "a jewel" and said, "I am proud to work with a community whose creativity and leadership led the way to making this park a reality."

Senator Goodman declared, "The upgrading of the area will greatly enhance the enjoyment for residents, foreign diplomats and visitors to the United Nations."

As to the question we have all been asking ever since the project was put on hold: when will the park be completed, both the Mayor and Commissioner Stern assured us the project would be finished within one year. The construction site sign says July 1998.

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The Turtle Bay Association is a nonprofit (501c3) community organization.

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