Pelham Bay’s first ever Community Appreciation Day barbecue was a big success, drawing the community out to rediscover a jewel in its own backyard.
The Pelham Bay Taxpayers and Civic Association and Senator Jeff Klein joined together with the NYC Parks Department in helping to organize the event held on Sunday, August 29 in Pelham Bay Park. It brought members of the civic association together in Pelham Bay Park to utilize what Taxpayers president Ed Romeo said is a great community resource.
The barbecue was held near the Buhre Avenue pedestrian bridge.
Romeo said that many community residents told him that they were hesitant to use the park because they felt intimidated the large crowds during the summer.
He decided to be proactive in terms of showing his civic association, as well as neighboring Country Club Civic Association, Spencer Estate Civic Association, and Waterbury LaSalle Community Association, that the park is a vital community resource.
“Everyone seems to be having a great time, and we are grateful to the Parks Department and Senator Klein for helping make this day a success,” said Romeo, who headed up the BBQ grilling. “It is enough of a success that people passing by wanted to know what this big gathering is.”
Romeo said that he served up 200 hamburgers, 150 hot dogs, 7 pounds of chicken cooked using his special “chick-chick” recipe, 13 pounds of sausage, and all of the fixings.
Senator Jeff Klein stopped by to join Romeo and help him at the grill. Klein worked with Parks and the city for the necessary permits, as well as with making sure that there were enough grills to feed the all the people in attendance. Before the event, Klein expressed his enthusiasm.
“I look forward to our Community Appreciation Barbecue,” Klein said. “By working in partnership with the Pelham Bay Taxpayers, we have created a family fun event that I am confident will only encourage people to better utilize the park.”
Marianne Anderson, director of community outreach for Pelham Bay Park, said that she was surprised that no one had come up with the idea of a community appreciation barbecue before. She made sure that members of her staff were on hand to assist the park visitors and answer any questions.
“A lot of times people do not know of all of the things that are going on in the park,” Anderson said. “That is why it is a good idea to have civic groups come out and meet with our park staff to get answers to any questions they may have. It’s always great to have families see what the park has to offer, and this barbecue affords them the opportunity to meet with the Friends of Pelham Bay Park, a group that can help them become more involved in volunteering in the park if they choose to become more involved. Hopefully, it will become an annual event.”