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Posts Tagged ‘New York City Parks’

A Life guard, Brighton Beach

A Life guard, Brighton Beach, N.Y. between 1901 and 1906. Library of Congress

The NYC Parks Department has scheduled qualifying tests to become a lifeguard for the 2016 summer season. The test is being held at Chelsea Recreation Center in Manhattan from December 7 through January 8, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 4:30 pm and 6:30 pm, and is also underway at pools throughout the five boroughs. A Parks spokesman tells ATZ that assignments are by seniority, but lifeguards may request a preferred or convenient location such as Coney Island or Brighton Beach. Beach lifeguards must be able to swim 440 yards in 6 minutes and 40 seconds and must also complete a 300-yard ocean swim prior to receiving their assignment.

To qualify, you must:
• Be at least 16 years of age by the start of employment (the end of June).
• Have at least 20/30 vision in one eye and 20/40 in the other – without corrective lenses. Glasses and contact lenses may not be worn during the eye exam.
• Be able to swim 50 yards in 35 seconds or less, with proper form.

Swimmers who pass the test will be enrolled in the Municipal Lifeguard Training Program, which is free, and consists of 40 hours of swimming and rescue techniques, first-aid and CPR. First-year lifeguards earn a minimum of $13.57 per hour for a weekly salary of about $650.

These vintage photos from the early 1900s show an all-male crew. It wasn’t until the women’s liberation movement of the 1960s that the Parks Department waived height and weight requirements and recruited its first female lifeguards.

Lifeguards Coney Island

Capt. Riley and lifeguards, Coney Island, N.Y.
between 1900 and 1905. Library of Congress

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Hetzi Juniper Trees on Surf Avenue in front of Luna Park, Coney Island. October 18, 2012. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

Coney Island now has more trees than rides! The greening of Coney Island’s Surf Avenue from Sea Gate to West 5th Street is under way with 200 trees being planted by New York City Parks and Recreation. The trees in the amusement area are Hetzi Junipers and other species west of MCU Park. The tree planting crew started two weeks ago in the west end of Coney Island and worked their way east to the amusement area. This week curbside trees were planted on the south side of Surf Avenue in front of Nathan’s, the Eldorado Bumper Cars, Coney Island USA and Luna Park. Yesterday at a bus stop on the north side of Surf Avenue, the trees were planted adjacent to an empty lot instead of curbside, as seen in the photo below. Just for the record, the ride count in Coney Island is now at 64, according to ATZ’s latest ride census.

Coney Island is one of several New York City neighborhoods slated for block tree planting this fall. The Parks Department selects blocks with few or no trees, planting on both sides of the street. The street tree program is part of MillionTreesNYC, a public-private initiative with the goal of planting and caring for one million new trees across the City’s five boroughs over the next decade. According to the program’s website, they’ve reached 612,625 trees and are counting.

Trees on Surf Avenue

Hetzi Juniper Trees Being Planted on the north side of Surf Avenue. October 18, 2012. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

UPDATE November 15, 2012:

Sadly, just a few weeks after the trees were planted, most were uprooted by Hurricane Sandy…

After Hurricane Sandy: Street Tree

After Hurricane Sandy: Street Tree on Surf Avenue in front of Luna Park. November 5, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita

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Coney Island Barrels of Fun

Coney Barrels of Fun Painting. May 7, 2011. Photo © Bruce Handy

Here’s your chance to create art that will be seen by zillions in Coney Island this summer! On Saturday, May 5th, the public is invited to paint the Parks Department’s trash barrels at the 6th annual Boardwalk of Barrels of Fun event. Registration for the free event begins at 10 am on the Boardwalk between West 10th and West 12th Streets in front of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park and Luna Park. Paint and brushes are provided.

For inspiration, take a look at Coney Island photographer Bruce Handy’s slide show of last season’s Barrels of Fun. Amid a sea of colorful abstract compositions, you’ll find mermaids and other marine species as well as a gold-toothed Funny Face, Popeye the Sailor Man and the Wonder Wheel.

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May 3, 2011: Photo of the Day: Street Art by RAE in Coney Island

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Boardwalk renovation 1934

The Boardwalk opened in 1923 and was already undergoing renovation in 1934: Group of men ripping up old planking on Coney Island boardwalk near Half Moon Hotel. Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Collection

On Monday, March 12th, the twice-postponed hearing before the City’s Public Design Commission to decide the fate of the Coney Island Boardwalk will finally take place. The Parks Department will lay out their plans for a Plasticwalk with a 12-foot-Concrete Roadway down the middle in Brighton Beach, claiming it will be more durable and less costly to maintain than the wooden Boardwalk in place for nearly nine decades.

The Coney-Brighton Boardwalk Alliance and Friends of the Boardwalk will present their plan to “Keep the Boards in the Boardwalk” (also the title of an online petition) by using sustainable wood and concrete supports, citing Ocean City, Maryland’s successful renovation of their Boardwalk in 2011. “The public is welcome to attend and give testimony,” according to the PDC’s website. The grassroots groups are urging Boardwalk lovers to show up in number and use their 3-minute time slot to read from their letters of support and research materials. If you are interested, email Rob Burstein of the Coney-Brighton Boardwalk Alliance at robburstein[AT]hotmail[DOT]com and he can email you a 3-minute segment to read.

Last year, the local community board, CB 13, voted 21-7 against the Concretewalk as well as the Plastic and Concrete compromise. At last month’s CB meeting at Coney Island Hospital, boos erupted when the compromise plan was mentioned. Alas, their vote is being ignored because New York City’s Community Boards are merely advisory boards. It is the Public Design Commission’s vote that counts. So who are the ten people who will decide the fate of the historic Coney Island Boardwalk? Here are their names:

Alice Aycock, Sculptor
Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos, The New York Public Library
Byron Kim, Painter
Signe Nielsen, Landscape Architect
Guy Nordenson, Lay Member
Otis Pratt Pearsall, Brooklyn Museum
James Stewart Polshek, Architect
Paula Scher, Lay Member
Kandace V. Simmons, Mayor’s Representative
Ann G. Tenenbaum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Coney Island Boardwalk

New Boardwalk near Stillwell Ave, Coney Island. In a section in the amusement area, the reconstructed Boardwalk is wood over concrete slabs. February 20, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

According to their bios on the PDC’s site, the Commissioners are a distinguished group of architects, artists and representatives of the City’s cultural institutions. Yes, they are appointed by the Mayor, but they serve pro bono. At the last hearing in October, the Public Design Commission refused to approve the Parks Department’s plan and said that more environmental and engineering studies were needed to address the questions that they had.

Since then, it appears that the Parks Department has been lobbying the Commissioners and postponing the vote till they’re sure of a win. We were taken aback by the comments of two of the Commissioners in a New York Times article last month, which indicated they had been persuaded by Parks to support the plan in advance of the public hearing. Otis Pratt Pearsall who serves on the PDC as the representative of the Brooklyn Museum, has received numerous awards recognizing his leadership in preservation, according to his bio. Yet he told the Times: “I have pushed them to look at every possible wood alternative, and they have persuaded me that there aren’t wood alternatives that are practical. It is important to have the thing look as Boardwalk-y as possible.”

After the article was published, the Coney-Brighton Boardwalk Alliance sent each Commissioner a packet of research materials, which you can read on their website. “We wish to provide you with information that our experts have compiled that the Parks Department is either unaware of or has willfully ignored, thus denying you the opportunity to benefit from it in your decision-making process.”

It will be interesting to see what Pearsall and the other Commissioners have to say at Monday’s hearing. Can you sway their vote with your 3-minute spiel? Or is it a done deal? The Public Design Commission’s vote is expected soon after the hearing and will determine whether the future of the Coney Island Boardwalk will be wood or plastic and concrete.

IF YOU GO…
Public Design Commission, 253 Broadway, Conference Room on 5th floor. The building is near City Hall. “The Reconstruction of the Riegelmann Boardwalk, Brighton 15th Street to Coney Island Avenue” is on the agenda for 1:25 pm. Members of the public are encouraged to arrive at least 45 minutes in advance of the estimated time. Those who also plan to testify are encouraged to submit their testimony in writing in advance of the meeting date.

UPDATE March 12, 2012:

Christianna Nelson of the Coney-Brighton Boardwalk Alliance posted a summary of the hearing on the group’s website, which we recommend reading. ATZ will post a hearing update soon. In the meantime, here are our tweets:

UPDATE March 22, 2012:

My somewhat delayed rant about the public hearing on the Boardwalk reconstruction. Thanks to Bruce Handy for photos and H/T to East Coast Images for Counting Crows version of “Paved Paradise…”
The Coney Island-Brighton Beach Concretewalk Blues, ATZ, March 22, 2012

Coney Island Boardwalk

Photos from Friends of the Boardwalk's website show the results of prior projects where the NYC Parks Department used concrete. Photos © Mary Ann De Luca via FOBConeyIsland.com

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December 8, 2014: City Councilman’s Proposal to Landmark the Boardwalk Could Halt Concretewalk

September 8, 2012: October 4: Coney Island’s Endangered Boardwalk to Get its Day in Court

March 23, 2012: The Coney Island-Brighton Beach Concretewalk Blues

January 24, 2012: Parks Postpones Do-Or-Die Hearing on Coney Concretewalk

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Composite

Composite Hand Painted Trash Can - Three Sides, Coney Island. July 22, 2008. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

Calling Picassos of all ages! On Saturday at 10 am, you’re invited to create trash can art that will be displayed on Coney Island’s world-famous Boardwalk all season long. The Parks Department provides the barrels and painting supplies for the 5th annual Boardwalk Barrels of Fun, you supply the talent.

On flickr, ATZ found almost 200 photos of Boardwalk trash can art from past seasons, including abstracts, seascapes, and carnival-themed art. The above composite by Coney Island photographer Bruce Handy shows the three sides of a striking Cyclone, Wonder Wheel and mermaid-themed barrel from 2008.

To get an early start on your masterpiece, register in advance by phoning 718-965-8917. You may also register at the event, which begins at 10 am on the Coney Island Boardwalk between W. 10th and W 12th Street. Judging starts at 12 noon and awards are presented at 1 pm.

The free event is sponsored by New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement & Kiddie Park, Coney Island Development Corporation, New York Aquarium, Brooklyn Cyclones, Luna Park & Scream Zone.

UPDATE May 8, 2011…The new crop of Boardwalk Barrels of Fun are looking good! Here’s a link to Bruce Handy’s flickr slide show of Saturday’s event.

UPDATE May 2, 2012…This season’s Boardwalk Barrels of Fun is scheduled for Saturday, May 5th. Registration starts at 10 am on the Boardwalk between West 10th and West 12th Streets in front of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park and Luna Park. Paint and brushes are provided.

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Related posts on ATZ…

May 4, 2012: Photo Album: Art Seen By Zillions in Coney Island

May 3, 2011: Photo of the Day: Street Art by RAE in Coney Island

April 15, 2011: Photo Album: Whimsical Murals Blossom in Coney Island

October 4, 2009: The Wonder of Artist Philomena Marano’s Wonder Wheel

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