The Parks Department hasn’t forgotten Richard March Hoe, and they’re making sure the next generation of kids won’t forget him, either.
Printer’s Park, a new park and playground, pays tribute to the Bronx inventor who created the first rotary printing press. The space has actually been open to the public since April, but on Thursday, July 29,
Parks representatives and local elected officials were on hand for its grand opening celebration. Before the opening remarks, kids from St. John Chrysostom school played and made sand art.
The small, but lush park contains a large circular playground in the middle. The playground structure has two large slides connected by a bouncy walkway, each end sheltered by a large, arched cylinder representing the top of a printing press.
Surrounding the slides, on the ground, are white cylinders for kids to stand or hop on, meant to look like large reams of paper.
The playground isn’t merely about the press, either. Behind the jungle gym structure is a small area with sprinklers for kids to get wet during the summer, and sustainable drains funnel excess water underground and out to the plants and grass all along the inside edge of the park.
“Clearly this is one of the most creative, innovative, and eco-friendly parks we have opened,” declared Hector Aponte, Bronx borough commissioner for Parks.
“And many of us actually remember the printing press,” he joked, referring to the time when newspapers were made using a giant press such as the one created by Hoe, who lived right on the spot where Printer’s Park now sits.
Aponte went on to mention the eco-friendly sprinkler system, which functions well because the soil in the park is a special type chosen to easily absorb the sprinkler water. In addition, the majority of the play equipment is made fom recycled materials.
The park cost an even $1 million, and it was Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo who organized the funds.
Arroyo mentioned that there is a ‘phase 3’ set to happen at the space, involving a large unused space that was once tennis courts but has been an empty concrete lot since 1985.
Aponte explained: “Yes, the tennis courts really need some help, and I’m going to be knocking on someone’s door very soon.”
The park’s unique design was handled by Stephen Koren, an in-house landscape architect for Parks. “The first sketch I did just looked like a long ribbon flying into the sky,” he said, “but I had to bring it down to reality.”
Koren was asked to design a space loosely based on Hoe’s printing press.
“We wanted to make this a playground for smaller kids,” he said, “because we knew that there are already a lot of basketball hoops nearby, so teens have elsewhere to go.”
Koren also noted that the only feature he feels the park is still lacking is a bathroom for kids to use.
©2010 Community News Group