By Bill Parry
Doughboy Park in Woodside, the 1.7-acre public space on Woodside Avenue and 52nd Street, will receive a $750,000 overhaul, City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) announced last week.
The park’s World War I memorial statue and plaza will be revitalized as part of the work that will be scheduled after community scoping meetings are held to discuss possible designs.
“Doughboy Park is a sacred place in the heart of Woodside to honor the sacrifice of our brave servicemen and women who fought on the front lines to protect our freedoms,” Van Bramer said. “As we approach the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I next November, we must honor our duty and responsibility to maintain the dignity of this sacred ground. I’m proud to join veterans from our community to announce $750,000 from the City Council budget to revitalize Doughboy Park, which will include work to the Doughboy memorial statue and plaza. This is a victory for our veterans and for all who enjoy the added beauty and amenities of this great park right here in Woodside.”
The statue of a “Doughboy,” which is an informal term for an American infantryman particularly who served during World War I, stands on the east side of the park and portrays a bandaged soldier in a uniquely solemn and reflective stance. The statue was last restored in 1990 and the plaza surrounding it was renovated in 2001 with new benches, fences and greenery.
In 2007, a stone plaque was installed bearing the names of 13 servicemen from Woodside who were killed in World War II. The park hosts an annual 9/11 memorial service and in 2006, a plaque was dedicated to the 34 people who lived or worked in Woodside who died in the Sept. 11th attacks at the World Trade Center.
Meanwhile, Van Bramer joined state Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D-Long Island City) last Friday to announce that after years of relentless advocacy from the Hunters Point community, the city Department of Transportation will install an all-way stop sign at the intersection of 51st Avenue and 5th Street, which is near several schools.
“For years, I’ve stood with parents, students, and the community in Long Island City who have tirelessly called for a stop sign at this dangerous intersection,” Van Bramer said. “There is nothing more important than keeping our children safe, and the installation of this stop sign and other traffic calming measures is a victory for the parents and students on Long Island City.”
In addition to the all-way stop signs, speed bumps will be added to a slow zone along 5th Street between 46th Avenue and 46th Road. After a request for the stop signs was denied last winter, Van Bramer joined students and teachers Jan. 31 to erect their own “people’s stop sign,” and after continued pressure, the DOT re-evaluated the intersection and approved the request.
“DOT is committed to working in Long Island City to make this growing community’s streets safer,” DOT Queens Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia said. “Thanks to the leadership of the Council member, Assembly member and all of the advocacy by the students and parents and teachers, we are very happy with the results of the last study approving the stop sign.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr