Yankees Curtis Granderson visits P.S. 19’s new playground

Curtis Granderson swings for the fences at P.S. 19's newly renovated playground. Photo by Vito Signorile

A New York Yankees superstar made sure the students of P.S. 19 celebrated their new playground in grand fashion.

With funding from the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council, Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., the city Department of Education, and the New York Yankees, students of P.S. 19 on 4318 Katonah Avenue came back to school in September to a renovated and refurbished playground.

The new play area, which features basketball courts, a small soccer field, baseball field, and more, was officially celebrated on Monday, November 28 when Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson visited the school to test out the new field and talk to students about nutrition and exercise.

The renovation of the playground was done to make sure that children are active during and after school hours. Granderson believes that students being able to see the Yankees work hard on television during the baseball season should be an inspiration for them to play everyday in their playground.

“They see us out there everyday and they wonder how they could be like us, but it didn’t just happen, it started in places like these schools,” Granderson said. “They can always go and hang out at home and play video games, but it only takes 30 minutes to an hour a day to be active and play with your friends and a lot of that transforms to where us ballplayers are today.”

Granderson stepped to the plate for a one-man Wiffle Ball home run derby and for every home run that he hit, the ADADC donated $100 to P.S. 19 to benefit school programs that promote nutritious food choices and increased exercise.

Over 200 students chanted, “Curtis! Curtis!,” as the Yankee slugger, who was considered for the American League Most Valuable Player award this past season, belted home runs into a sea of Yankees hats and T-shirts.

According to school principal Timothy Sullivan, construction of the playground started in July and only took about six weeks. Coming back to school to the new play area was a great treat in itself, he said, but having Granderson come to the school to celebrate the playground truly meant the most.

“All of the students were really excited to have this new-look playground when they came back to school in September,” Sullivan said. “When we found out that Curtis Granderson was coming here to take a few swings on the new baseball field, we could not have been more excited. This is the Bronx, we’re all Yankee fans, and all of the kids really love him (Granderson).”

Although Granderson only crushed seven home runs, the ADADC generously donated $1,500 to P.S. 19, capping a day to remember at the Woodlawn elementary school.

Reach Vito Signorile via e-mail at vsignorile@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383.

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