Children at a storytelling event during last year’s “Summer in the Square”
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Although the summer weather seems to have taken a break this week with persistent clouds and patchy rain, the Union Square Partnership is gearing up for warmer temperatures with a schedule of outdoor activities to take place in the park throughout the season. Summer in the Square officially kicks off today, offering free activities to entertain both kids and adults on Thursdays until August 13.
Fitness programs will be available in the mornings and evenings, while programming for children will mostly take place in the middle of the day. Jazz performances will take place in the park for the lunchtime crowd and while all of the activities are family friendly, the music performances in the evenings will be geared more towards commuters heading home after work.
Union Square Partnership executive director Jennifer Falk said that all of the activities available are thanks to partnerships with businesses in the neighborhood, many of which have participated in Summer in the Square in previous years. Some new businesses, like Reebok, are participating for the first time since the store on Union Square West only opened within the last year, but this is also the first year that the Strand Bookstore, which has been in the neighborhood for more than 60 years, is getting involved. Falk said that the bookstore will be joining the activities for a story time that centers around a new theme every week.
East 14th Street and Third Avenue subway (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
Police are investigating the death of a 24-year-old man who was found on a road bed in the subway at Third Avenue and 14th Street.
Emergency responders arrived at around 4:47 a.m. on Thursday after getting a call about a person unconscious. After seeing that he was unresponsive with signs of trauma to his body, he was pronounced dead at the scene. An investigation is ongoing and the Medical Examiner will determine the cause of death.
“We still don’t know if the individual was struck by a train,” said an NYPD spokesman. The identity of the man is being withheld pending family notification. As of noon on Thursday, police said they were still trying to track down one possible relative in the Netherlands.
“We’re not sure if he’s a tourist or if he lives here,” the spokesman added.
As a very long-term Stuyvesant Town resident whose three children grew up here it is very sad to see what happened to the Recreation Department. At one point about 4-6 years ago the Recreation Department under Radu Ocnean (who left a number of years ago) had a staff of about 40-50 people. There used to be countless tournaments run by the Recreation Department (soccer, basketball, paddle tennis, table tennis, free throw contest, chess, bocce, etc.). Kids of all ages and adults were looking forward to them every year. None of them exist anymore.
The Recreation Department used to run a Super Bowl Trivia Contest, Oscar Trivia Contest, March Madness picks every year. Hundreds of people attended all these events and looked forward to them every year. None of them exist anymore. Kids looked forward every year to something called Point Tournament. All kids who grew up here participated in it at one point or another. It does not exist anymore. As a parent who could always see a familiar face of a Recreation Department staff in almost every playground starting games with kids, paying attention to make sure rules are followed and engaging with kids and parents alike. It does not happen anymore.
I remember talking to Radu many years ago when the budget was cut down to zero for the Recreation Department and he needed to find ways to procure equipment for the kids/adults for the many sports. He got ZogSports to come and in return for using a couple of courts for a couple of hours a few days a week he got tens of thousands of dollars of equipment in return. I remember that because after one complaint from a person they stopped that great program which ran here for years.
Radu also starting selling Christmas trees which has grown to a cash cow. (I guess they still keep that since it makes a lot of money).
To finish, it is sad because it seems that there are only about 4-5 Recreation staff if that. The Recreation Department staff was always the face of Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village. All residents knew them, grew up with them and parents were more comfortable with their children in the playgrounds because of them. It does not exist anymore.