By Marie-Louise Handal
Chairperson of the TBA Parks Committee
November 11, 2017
MacArthur Park is a gated playground located in Turtle Bay, at East 49th Street and the FDR Drive, east of 860-870 United Nations Plaza. This very special public space has become an integral and even intimate part of the lives of many of our neighborhood’s children.
We are making progress on the various aspects of the clean-up project. The Health Department postponed their meeting with us; however, they paid an independent visit to the playground. Their finding – that the rat infestation is not a problem – disagrees with our own. Our evaluation found that both rats and pigeons present a health problem. The Health Department informed us that they will not be producing a formal report or official evaluation, as they conducted only a cursory walk-through. We are exploring more permanent solutions to the rat and pigeon infestations, including, possibly, the drastic action of eliminating the sand box, by filling it in. A number of parents and care-givers have expressed great concern about the worsening unsanitary condition of the sand box.
We are also considering attending a free course, at the New York City Rodent Academy, to learn about the management of rodent populations, site-specific control strategies, and effective communications with the public to achieve lasting change and improvements.
Repairs and Replacements Required
We are in the process of compiling an inventory of repairs and replacements needed for damaged park amenities, to submit to the Parks Department. Over the last two years, as highlighted in our Turtle Bay News article (September, 2016, available on the TBA’s website) a number of playground structures have gone into disrepair, especially those which were neither replaced nor repaired in the last renovation, in early 2009. We will be exploring financing alternatives in the event that the Parks Department is unable to budget for all improvements, which need to be started for the coming 2018 season.
Peter Detmold Park
The Parks Committee has conducted a detailed review of conditions at Peter Detmold Park, and we are preparing a plan for renovation. Over recent months, committee members have catalogued several items in need of attention, including damaged tree beds and pavers, as shown in the photograph to the left. A number of benches are also in disrepair. Once the plan is completed, we will summarize and place priorities on funding requirements.
Finally, the committee is continuing its effort to recruit additional, dedicated volunteers to help with up-keep and gardening, as well as raising the funds needed to refurbish the plantings and soil, beyond what the Parks Department has been providing on a regular basis.
Dag Hammarskjold Plaza
We are monitoring progress on the capital plan to renovate and improve amenities at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza. Great thanks are due to the Friends of DHP, and to their many board members and volunteers who have provided effective oversight of this project. Meanwhile, it has been an excellent fall season, with many, and various, activities and programs in the park. The Oktoberfest celebration was a great success, and everyday use of the park has been very high. The presence of candidates for elective office was also