Astoria group gearing up for weekend celebration of new and improved playground

Photo via the NYC Parks Department website

An Astoria volunteer neighborhood group is hosting a celebration for a local park this weekend.

This Saturday, the Friends of Astoria Heights Park (FAHP) will host a celebration for the reopening of Astoria Heights Playground, located at 45th Street and 30th Road.

The family-friendly event will feature a plethora of activities that are sure to appeal to children of all ages, including the CityParks PuppetMobile show of “The Big Good Wolf,” live music performances, a Calm City mobile meditation bus and a Parks Department Play Mobile recreational van.

In addition, the FAHP is also working to bring workshops to the park for the day and on Saturdays through July. The organizations hosting the workshops include The Connected Chef, BUILD NYC by The Uni Project, Big Reuse, Bike NYC, Wild Heart Performing Arts Studio, Shastye Art Gallery and Play Space, Family Yoga and Meditation with Lisa Barelli and Connection Church NYC.

“Cultivating community is at the heart of The Connected Chef mission. It’s the driving force behind our work and will always be something that is personally fulfilling to me. Being able to see so many different people come together in one space is beautiful and is exactly what allows us all to continue to have compassion for one another,” said Kim Calichio, a local Astoria resident and author at The Connected Chef about her participation in summer programming.

In September 2013, local parents brought their concerns about the poor conditions of the park to Community Board 1, bringing with them containers of broken glass that presented a danger to the children who played there. With help from an active community and local elected officials, the FAHP were able to bring about change to the Astoria park by hosting cleanups, park beautification events and other programming.

“The park has and will always be a critical component of the neighborhood, creating a sense of community and much-needed vitality. Without the involvement of concerned parents and other community members first, we wouldn’t be standing here now in a newly renovated park space to celebrate,” said Lynn Kennedy, one of the FAHP founders.

The New York City Parks Department started construction on the park in November 2016 and ended in May 2018. The $5.8 million project was funded by several officials and entities, including $2.2 million from Mayor de Blasio through the Community Parks Initiative and Parks Without Borders programs; $1.5 million from the Department of Environmental Protection; $1.1 million from Councilman Costa Constantinides; and $1 million from Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.

“Parks like Astoria Heights are the lifeblood of our community. I was happy to work in partnership with Borough President Melinda Katz and the Community Parks initiative to secure funding to rebuild the playground at Astoria Heights park into one that truly serves our residents. I look forward to continuing supporting a great organization like Friends of Astoria Heights Park to keeping this a safe, meaningful space for the future!” Constantinides said.

The celebration will take place on Saturday, June 30, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Email Lynn Kennedy at [email protected] for more information.

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