Earlier access needed at Gantry State Park

By Kris Schrey

An open letter to state Sen. Gianaris:

Gantry State Park in Long Island City includes a gated soccer/baseball field with turf and a running track that are immediately to the South of PS/IS 78.

Unfortunately, this great resource is not available to Long Island City residents and school children before they go to work or start school, because the park officially opens at 8 a.m.

A simple lock prevents our boys from using the park for their pre-school soccer game.

All of our children attend PS/IS 78 next door which starts at 8:10 a.m.

Research study after research study has demonstrated that children of all ages, but especially boys, benefit from vigorous physical exercise before school starts. Teachers have let us know that our children focus better, pay more attention, and are calmer if they get an opportunity for a soccer match before school. Unfortunately, our recent attempts to talk directly to the local park rangers have been unsuccessful.

Our children need physical exercise before the school day starts on the sports field directly adjacent to their school.

Long Island City residents need to use their park for a jog in the morning before they are heading to work.

We are therefore asking for an official park opening and unlocking of the gate at 7 a.m instead of 8 a.m., both on weekdays and weekends.

In case bureaucratic obstacles prevent the New York State Parks Department from unlocking the gate earlier, a group of two dozen local PS/IS 78 parents is volunteering to open the sports field ourselves every day as long as the Parks Department will provide us with a key.

It is a shame that we have a modern sports field as part of Gantry State Park that can’t be utilized by school children and residents when they really need it in the morning before school and before going to work.

Kris Schrey

LIC Parents Group

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