The Hunters Point Park Conservancy volunteers and the Gantry Plaza State Park staff have started planting more than 200 new plants in the Long Island City waterfront park, remediating landscape areas damaged by high usage and helping with volunteer outreach with funding that was awarded by the Environmental Protection Fund’s Park and Trail Partnership Grants program.
The $18,000 grant is part of a statewide program to provide funding to park friends groups, the nonprofit organizations often made up entirely of volunteers that support the green spaces. The friends groups raise private funds for capital projects, perform maintenance tasks, provide educational programming and promote public use through hosting special events.
“We are grateful to Parks & Trails New York to once again provide funding to help Gantry Plaza State Park remain the special place that it is,” HPPC President Rob Basch said. “The grant will provide much-needed remediate landscape work and plantings that will be appreciated by all parkgoers for many years to come.”
In announcing the grants, Governor Kathy Hochul praised the 27 recipient organizations that received funding including HPPC.
“These grassroots organizations add tremendous value to the stewardship and programming of our state parks, historic sites, trails and public lands, and we are proud to support their efforts,” Hochul said. I look forward to the exciting new opportunities in the great outdoors this funding will bring.”
In addition to the improvement at Gantry Plaza State Park, HPPC brought back popular programming to Hunters Point South Park including CinemaLIC screenings on The Oval in partnership with Rooftop Films, featuring a 30-foot inflatable screen framed by the Manhattan skyline. The first event was a July 14 screening of “Black Panther.” Upcoming films include “Skyfall” on Aug. 6, “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” on Aug. 27 and “Encanto” on Sept. 9.
More information on the events and any updates due to the weather can be found here. Sponsors include Nest Seekers, Gotham Point and Shibley Day Camp.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to show off our beautiful LIC waterfront with the best outdoor movie experience anywhere,” Basch said. “We look forward to seeing hundreds of smiling faces enjoying our eighth year of movies.”
Also returning to Hunters Point Park South this month is the Summer Kids program for children under 10 beginning each day at 10 a.m., including weekends for the first time through Aug. 21. After a virtual season in 2020, HPPC brought Summer Kids back to the park in 2021 to huge success despite the limited capacity to COVID-19 restrictions.
This year the free events include such favorites as Music Time with Andy and Suzanna, Brick 4 Kids and Yogi Beans, and adding classes with Zing!, The Blue Bus Project and more. Programs feature a mix of art, STEAM classes, music, movement and creative play designed to keep the youngsters active and engaged over the summer.
“Our community continues to grow with many young families moving in,” Basch said. “It is important to get our youngest members outside and active and have them start appreciating the wonderful parks we have in our neighborhood. It is rewarding to see how the community has embraced these programs and to see all their smiling faces.”
A registration link and more information on Summer Kids can be found on the HPPC website here.