Photo via Google Maps
The Calvary Monument inside the Calvary Cemetery in Maspeth.

Two historic pieces of NYC Parks property in Ridgewood and Maspeth are long overdue for improvements, according to a recent study that claims Queens has gone the longest of any borough without major parks infrastructure upgrades.

The study released on June 26 by the Center for an Urban Future (CUF), a New York-based think tank, points out that six Parks properties in Queens haven’t been revitalized in more than 100 years. Two of those properties include the Carl Clemens Triangle on Myrtle and Cypress Avenues and Cornelia Street, and the Calvary Monument in the middle of Calvary Cemetery.

Commissioned by the city and built in 1866 to honor Union soldiers who died in the Civil War, the Calvary Monument features a 50-foot-tall granite obelisk with bronze garland and a bronze figure standing at the top. Four bronze soldiers are also stationed around the base of the monument standing on pedestals.

The park is one of many in the city that serve as burial site, and there are 21 Roman Catholic Union soldiers buried around the monument. The cemetery — named after Mount Calvary, where Jesus Christ was crucified according to the New Testament — has grown over time to become the largest cemetery in the United States with 365 acres. 

According to the Parks website, the monument received a new fence and upgrades to its granite and bronze details in 1929, which is just shy of 100 years ago.

Clemens Triangle in Ridgewood (Photo via Google Maps)

Clemens Triangle in Ridgewood (Photo via Google Maps)

The city acquired the property on which Clemens Triangle sits in 1914 by condemnation for street purposes. The triangle currently features four benches, trees and red square brick paving.

In 1985, it was dubbed by Mayor Ed Koch as the Carl Clemens Triangle after the longtime owner and publisher of the Ridgewood Times, which used to be located across the street from the triangle. Clemens shared at least a portion of ownership in the Times from 1933 until his retirement in 1982.

While the Parks website does not mention any capital improvements to the triangle in the past, Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District Director Ted Renz said the curbs could be seeing some alterations this coming summer as part of the Department of Design and Construction’s “safe routes to schools” initiative.

Flooding woes in other parks

The CUF study also mentions Forest Park and Flushing Meadows Corona Park as experiencing some of the worst flooding issues of any park in the city. In Forest Park specifically, 14 of its 48 catch basins have completely collapsed, leaving many roads and pathways to flood every time it rains, the report said.

The study claims that “chronic under investment” and a shortage of skilled maintenance workers are the primary reasons for the disrepair. In 2017, Queens received just $27 million in expense funding for parks maintenance.

At Forest Park, the 538-acre space has just two full-time gardeners, and they are also responsible for district-wide park needs. The entire park system in Queens has just three electricians and one cement mason, which is tied for the fewest in any borough, according to the study.

The city as a whole has 150 gardeners for 20,000 acres of parkland  a ratio of 1 gardener to every 133 acres. In San Fransisco, by comparison, there are 200 gardeners for 4,113 acres of park land — a ratio of one gardener to every 20 acres.

On average, the study notes, Queens parks haven’t seen significant improvements since 1992, the longest period without investment in the city.


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