What a relief: FP comfort station

Community leaders, NYC Parks Department and city officials, parkgoers and elected officials including Senator Jeff Klein and Assemblyman Michael Benedetto cut the ribbon on the long-awaited comfort station on Friday, June 8.
Photo by Silvio Pacifico

Park advocates are relieved that their need ‘to go’ has been addressed.

Community members gathered at Ferry Point Park to dedicate a new comfort station on Friday, June 8, that will also double as a performance area.

The ceremony was approximately 15 years in the making, according to park advocates.

Even though on warm summer days the west side of the park would draw crowds of 5,000 to 8,000 people, there was no public restrooms for the visitors to use, according to park advocates, other than port-o-sans.

According Mitchell Silver, Parks commissioner, the design of the bathrooms is purposely elevated to withstand flooding.

The comfort station is on the northwest side of the park, near the soccer fields, is in an area that sustained flooding during Hurricane Sandy.

“The Throggs Neck community, especially local soccer leagues, spend a great amount of time in this park, so we know they are relieved to have a bathroom here,” said Silver, who added in remarks he calls it a ‘comfort station plus’ because of its ability to be used as a performance space.

The commissioner said in remarks that soccer players drink a lot of water and Gatorade and need public restrooms.

The 750-foot building was a $4.5 million dollar project funded with $2.9 million from the NYC Department of Environmental Protection and $1.6 million from the mayor’s office.

Dotti Poggi, Friends of Ferry Point Park leader, said that plans for a new comfort station, the first in the park since the 1970s, were originally proposed when funds became available as part of the Croton Water Filtration Plant mitigation in the mid-2000s, but that the money ran out before it could be built.

She believes that it will make the park more environmentally sound.

Senator Jeff Klein, who attended the ribbon cutting, said that this comfort station would allow the public to expand recreational and educational service for children in the park.

“I thank the NYC Parks Department for their ongoing commitment to improving the quality of life, and health and well-being of Bronx residents,” said Klein, adding in remarks that he looks forward to the future completion of a waterfront promenade.

The community, especially the various local sports leagues who utilize the park, will certainly welcome the facility, said Assemblyman Michael Benedetto.

“It is a magnificent park used by thousands of people every single weekend,” said Benedetto, adding “It is a crying shame that this park too often gets neglected.”

Those playing cricket and participating in remote-control aviation utilize the park.

Lesly Lowe, Commonwealth Cricket League president, said that the league has been playing there for four decades, most of the time without a working bathroom facility.

He said that players in the league often had NYC Parks Enforcement Police watching them while they played to make sure no one urinated in the wooded areas.

Frank Verdejo of the Bronx Blue Angels Model Aviation Club, which has been flying RC aircraft in park for 20 years, said that the comfort station alleviates a lot of issues concerning bringing women and children to the park, and allows the club to discontinue its port-o-san rentals.

“It has been so long coming, that we thank God finally the day is here,” he said.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.
(l-r) Monique Johnson, Throggs Neck Houses resident leader,
Assemblyman Michael Benedetto and Melania Allen, NYC housing authority director enjoy the grand opening of the park’s new comfort station.
Photo by Silvio Pacifico

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