By Chris Engelhardt
Several months after the devastation and havoc unleashed by Hurricane Sandy tore up parts of the borough, repair efforts are finally under way to fully restore Andrews Grove in Long Island City.
The park, on 49th Avenue between 5th Street and Vernon Boulevard, suffered major damage during Sandy. Playground equipment was destroyed and several large Linden trees, which had given Andrews Grove the nickname “Shady Park,” were knocked over, leaving large pits in the ground and rendering its playground inaccessible.
A spokesman for City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer’s (D-Sunnyside) office said repairs started June 17 and work is expected to be completed in a month, depending on weather conditions. The project includes the restoration of playground equipment and safety surfaces as well as asphalt and fencing.
“Immediately after Hurricane Sandy hit, my office took action, working closely with local residents and the city Parks Department to help expedite this process and get our beloved park, known to so many local children and residents as Shady Park, back open,” Van Bramer said. “Once the project is finished, all amenities, including the swing set, safety surfaces, fencing as well as both play areas will be accessible to community residents this summer.”
Van Bramer also secured a $10,000 grant from JetBlue and Warner Bros. that will be used to replant new trees in the park.
For months, elected officials and representatives from Friends of Shady Park, a group of neighbors dedicated to restoration efforts at the park, joined with the Parks Department to get the park back up to speed. State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria), who has fought to ensure that the park be completely restored, said he was pleased that repair efforts are now underway.
“I am thrilled that the Parks Department listened to our voices and will begin restoring Shady Park to the leafy refuge it was before the destruction of Hurricane Sandy,” he said. “Repairing the playground and mending fences are important steps towards restoring this gem in our community. I look forward to continuing to work with the Parks Department and community groups like Friends of Shady Park to ensure the trees that give the park its name are replaced and Shady Park is fully restored.”
Reach reporter Chris Engelhardt by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4564.