A new documentary examines the importance one park has had on a Longwood community over generations.
When Longwood documentarian Everette Hamlette discovered his local park, 75 Park (officially known as ‘Lyons Square Park’), was being reconstructed, he got out his camera and began investigating.
“Since I was a child, I can only remember my park getting one paint job and in my eyes there was nothing wrong with the park,” he expressed.
Named for Civil War veteran and landowner James L. Lyons, the 1.32-acre park across from P.S. 75 is nestled between the Sheridan and Bruckner expressways.
Hamlette’s fondest memories of growing up at 75 Park are learning how to play basketball and playing football every Sunday morning with local youngsters.
Curious as to why all his childhood memories were being altered, the SUNY Albany alumnus decided to conduct his own research.
The intimate documentary, ‘75 Park: 1 of the 35,’ started production in March 2017.
As director and cinematographer, Hamlette interviewed residents who grew up in the park and shared similar neighborhood connections.
In May 2017, he met Bronx Parks Commissioner Iris Rodriguez-Rosa to discuss the Community Parks Initiative.
She informed Hamlette that the CPI is an investment in 35 neighborhood parks with the greatest needs and funded 75 Park’s reconstruction.
The park was being rehabilitated due to 20 years of neglect.
On Tuesday, March 20, the fully renovated 75 Park reopened featuring new basketball courts, a ping pong table, new spray showers, ADA-accessible play equipment, fitness equipment and a picnic area.
Local historian Thomas Casey, Huntington Free Library president, provides historic insight of the borough, Longwood and former NYC Parks Commissioner Robert Moses in the documentary.
Additional sources interviewed include John Gallagher, James Lyons’ descendant; Angel Rodriguez; Anthony Anderson; Majora Carter, Startup Box South Bronx founder; Councilman Rafael Salamanca; Dyaami D’Orazio, Partnerships for Parks at City Parks Foundation catalyst organizer; Gregory Turner; Anita Reyes, Bronx District Public Health Office; NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Assistant Commissioner and medical director Jane Bedell; NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver; activist Lisa Ortega and DJ EZ Mike, former member of the hip hop group Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.
Hamlette serves as CEO for his production company, Stylish Ev Productions LLC, which he founded in February.
He is an experienced cinematographer, videographer, photographer and editor previously employed by BronxNet.
Interning with Leave It Better, an organization dedicated to youth-led environmental solutions, inspired Hamlette to create 75 Park after learning what it means to leave this planet better than we found it.
“I hope that after watching my film that people will be able to see the impact that local parks have on their communities,” he explained.
The documentary is slated for completion in 2019. No specific release date has yet been established.
To view its trailer, visit www.vimeo.com/