Met joins PSLL on opening day

Mets player Jerry Blevins joined the Peter Stuyvesant Little League at Con Ed Field on Saturday morning for a ceremony following an annual parade through Stuyvesant Town. (Pictured) Blevins with girls from one of the league’s two district teams (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On the sunniest opening day the Little Leagues of New York City have seen in years, the Peter Stuyvesant Little League, celebrating recent district-wide wins, marched triumphantly through Stuyvesant Town, circling the Oval and then heading onto Con Ed Field on Avenue C.

The annual parade and kickoff celebration took place on Saturday morning, with the PSLL also celebrating another coup — the first-ever visit from an active member of Major League Baseball, the Mets’ Jerry Blevins.

For the past decade, the league has had a tradition of having a former player come to the field to give the kids a pep talk. Previous guests have included Dwight Gooden, Keith Hernandez and Mookie Wilson.

Seth Coren, the league’s new president, introduced Blevins as “the most reliable pitcher in the bullpen, contributing to a historic 11-1 season.” He also joked that Blevins was also “an internet sensation” for stirring up some controversy when he said “Field of Dreams” wasn’t among the top 10 baseball movies of all time.

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Reminder: Little League parade this Saturday

The PSLL girls’ championship team members at Con Ed Field for last year’s parade. (Pictured) Olivia Sheh, Julianna Fabrizio, Sarah Acocelli, Camile Bernard, Dorie Levine, Amanda Haspel and Jordan Hayduk (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

REMINDER: The Peter Stuyvesant Little League will hold its annual parade and opening day ceremony on Saturday, April 14. Players and their families gather at 8:15 a.m. and begin marching at approximately 8:30 a.m., starting from 18th Street and First Avenue to the Con Edison Field located at East 16th Street and Avenue C. A brief ceremony will be held at the Con Edison Field from approximately 9-9:30 a.m.

Challengers make their debut

On Sunday, a division of the Peter Stuyvesant Little League for kids with disabilities played its first game. (Photo courtesy of PSLL)

By Sabina Mollot

Earlier this spring, the Peter Stuyvesant Little League debuted a new division for disabled players, The Challengers.

The kids were recruited pretty quickly, with just enough time for them to be able to march in the league’s annual parade on April 1. Then, last Sunday, the newly formed division played its first game on Con Ed Field.

For many of the 25 players, who’ve been placed on two teams, the Angels and the Braves, it was also their first time playing baseball.

Rick Hayduk, Stuyvesant Town’s general manager who helped form the division, said because of the severity of the kids’ disabilities, they wouldn’t have been able to qualify even to play tee-ball (which is how most Little Leaguers start). The players’ conditions include varying degrees of autism, cerebral palsy and Down Syndrome.

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PSLL celebrates big wins and new division

The PSLL girls’ championship team members wear celebratory jackets at Con Ed Field. (Pictured) Olivia Sheh, Julianna Fabrizio, Sarah Acocelli, Camile Bernard, Dorie Levine, Amanda Haspel and Jordan Hayduk (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

By Saturday morning, a downpour that had gone on throughout the night cleared up just in time for one of Stuyvesant Town’s most important annual traditions, the Peter Stuyvesant Little League Parade.

Hundreds of kids, clad in their new, colorful uniforms, marched alongside former Mets player and coach Mookie Wilson from First Avenue to Con Ed Field, where they got a pep talk from Wilson and a ceremony highlighting the league’s recent victories.

Jeff Ourvan, the league’s president, discussed the $16,000 the PSLL just received as a result of the “Roberts v. Tishman Speyer” lawsuit settlement. Ourvan said the funds, which came from unclaimed checks from the settlement, would be spent on batting cages as well as turf repairs.

Ourvan also praised players who last season, he noted, took home some impressive tournament wins.

Of a 13 and 14-year-old girls’ softball team, Ourvan said, “It was the first time in PSLL history we went on to play a state tournament.” The nine and 10-year-old baseball team and the 11 and 12-year-old team also each won a Manhattan championship.

“It shows you the quality of our league is improving,” he added.

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Former Met ‘Mookie’ Wilson will join kids at PSLL Parade

Mookie Wilson

By Sabina Mollot

When the Peter Stuyvesant Little League celebrates its season opening day, this year on April 1, former Mets outfielder and coach Mookie Wilson will join the players at Con Ed Field, and along their march through the neighborhood.

Wilson, whose real first name is William, played for the Mets for over a decade starting in 1980, then later played for the Toronto Blue Jays. In his post-playing career, he served as first base coach to the Mets first from 1996-2002, then again in 2011 for one season and has also managed other teams.

It’s a PSLL tradition to have a former pro baseball player give a pep talk to the kids and throw the first pitch of the season. Previous MLB guests have included Dwight “Doc” Gooden, former Mets player Keith Hernandez and last year, former Mets manager Bobby Valentine.

This year, players from the PSLL’s new division for kids with disabilities, The Challengers, will lead the annual parade, alongside Wilson.

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Peter Stuyvesant Little League to debut division for disabled kids

For Stuy Town General Manager Rick Hayduk, the effort is also a family affair. Daughter Jordan (left) is the divsion’s co-chair and daughter Jamison (center) will be a player. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

With baseball season about to begin, the Peter Stuyvesant Little League will be debuting a new division for players with disabilities.

The Challenger Division is open to would-be players of any age up to 18 with any type of physical or intellectual disability, and was the idea of Stuyvesant Town General Manager Rick Hayduk.

One of Hayduk’s three daughters, 11-year-old Jamison, has Down Syndrome, and had participated in a Challenger Ball team where the family lived prior to moving to the community, in South Florida. However, there was no local division — until now.

Jeff Ourvan, president of the PSLL, explained that the reason such divisions exist (as opposed to just letting kids with disabilities play on any other team) is for their own safety.

“Some of the kids, I understand, have some fairly restrictive physical disabilities,” explained Ourvan. “Obviously we can’t have those kids playing against 11-year-olds who throw 50 miles per hour. So it’s mostly from a safety perspective.”

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Peter Stuyvesant Little League Parade

Hundreds came out for the annual tradition, which, this time, featured a visit from former Yankees player Jeff Nelson.

Hundreds came out for the annual tradition, which, this time, featured a visit from former Yankees player Jeff Nelson. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On Saturday morning, hundreds of young athletes and their families, mainly from Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, gathered for the annual Peter Stuyvesant Little League parade.

The parade, a decades-long tradition, is considered the official kickoff for a new season of local baseball, softball and teeball.

Led by a bagpiper, the PSLL procession snaked its way through Stuy Town, finally ending up at Con Ed Field on Avenue C. It was there where the kids were met by a former Major League Baseball player, Jeff Nelson.

Nelson, a relief pitcher who played for the New York Yankees and the Seattle Mariners before retiring in 2007, admired the turf field the PSLL uses.

“I never had this when I was growing up,” he said. The player, who grew up in Baltimore, added, “It all starts here when you want to be a Major League Baseball player. I remember I was seven when I started.”

He also thanked the league for inviting him and seemed impressed by the PSLL’s size. “It’s great to see the support from the kids and especially the parents,” he said.

Nelson then threw the first pitch of the season, which was caught by Cubs Minors player Blake Levine.

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To keep tradition alive, PSLL hoping pro players will lower appearance fee

Dwight “Doc” Gooden speaks to kids at last year’s Peter Stuyvesant Little League Parade. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Dwight “Doc” Gooden speaks to kids at last year’s Peter Stuyvesant Little League Parade. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot 

On Saturday, April 18, the Peter Stuyvesant Little League will hold its annual parade from Stuyvesant Town to Con Ed Field, a longstanding community tradition which also usually includes a visit from a well-known former baseball player.

Previous guests of honor to throw the first pitch of the season have included Dwight Gooden, Keith Hernandez and Cecil Fielder.

However, this year the PSLL may or may not have a pro player since, as one league parent has told T&V, many players’ appearance fees have gone through the roof, starting at twice the fees paid in recent years, plus the cost of flying them in and hotel stays. The parent noted the league has been and would continue to be willing to pay for a player’s time, but is hoping to find one willing to reduce his fee for the kiddos.

The PSLL, a nonprofit organization, has 750 members, many of whom live in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village.

Jeff Ourvan, the PSLL’s new president, said he wasn’t too worried yet though as it’s actually not uncommon for plans for a speaker to be finalized at the eleventh hour.

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Op-Ed: St. Vartan’s Park should be considered as alternative site for sanitation garage

The Brookdale campus is the city’s proposed site for a sanitation garage. A firm hired by Community Board 6 has recommended Con Ed property. J.G. Collins however suggests a portion of St. Vartan’s Park. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

The Brookdale campus is the city’s proposed site for a sanitation garage. A firm hired by Community Board 6 has recommended Con Ed property. J.G. Collins however suggests a portion of St. Vartan’s Park. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By J.G. Collins
Town & Village has recently reported on the alternative proposals that city and East Side public officials are considering for a garage that the Department of Sanitation (“DSNY”) has proposed to serve Community District Six.

In reviewing alternatives, it’s important to give due weight to those suggested by Community Board Six, Community District Six residents, neighborhood groups, and individuals who might propose viable options that officials have not have otherwise considered. Community Board Six has already offered wise alternatives by engaging a planning firm. But officials shouldn’t consider these (to be the “only” alternatives. Instead, they should welcome all practicable alternatives to best accommodate the required garage within District Six. (Local officials might even consider sponsoring a design exhibit, and perhaps even offer a small cash prize, for viable alternatives proposed by anyone wishing to take up the challenge.)

As an example of proposals that should be welcomed, consider the black-top and tennis court on the western portion of St. Vartan’s Park, between East 35th Street and East 36th Street, just east of Second Avenue. The space is nearly 70 percent of the 83,000 square feet the DSNY proposes to build, including the “Tunnel Entrance Street” that bifurcates the tennis court and the black top.

If a garage were built on the site of the St. Vartan’s Park tennis court and blacktop, Tunnel Entrance Street between 35th and 36th Street could be eliminated and made part of the building footprint. Alternatively, if traffic required, the street could be left open through to the Queens Midtown Tunnel entry and the street could be converted as an underpass with the garage built above it. (The underpass would be suspended and joined above a base built on the current blacktop and tennis court.)

The current tennis court and blacktop playing area could be replicated in a “sky park” on the roof of the garage and covered with netting, like the Sol Goldman Y rooftop play area, or permanently enclosed, like the “bubble top” play space above the United Nations School. The facility could be made accessible by an elevator and a stairwell.

St. Vartan’s Park has several advantages. First, it has minimal impact on noise and zoning because the area is not as heavily residential as either the Brookdale or the Con Edison sites. The north border, on East 36th Street, has no nearby residences as it sits above the the Queens Midtown Tunnel. East 35th Street, the southern border, is the rear side of St. Vartan’s Cathedral, as well as some apartment buildings, but traffic could be directed so that sanitation trucks never cross in front of them.

Second, the land is already “city-owned,” so the land to build a DSNY garage would come at no additional cost.

Third, construction of a DSNY garage on the St. Vartan’s Park site with a sky park on the roof would actually increase the footprint of the total park space on the site by the addition 3,500 square feet of “Tunnel Entrance Street.” It might be made into a “rain or shine” play area if it is enclosed.

Traffic for the St. Vartan’s Blacktop location is somewhat a problem, but not overwhelmingly so. South- and west-bound sanitation trucks could exit the garage behind St. Vartan’s Cathedral to avoid Queens-Midtown Tunnel traffic and the few residential apartments on East 35th Street. Northbound trucks would avoid tunnel traffic completely by exiting the garage at East 36th Street, where there are no nearby residential buildings, and turning left onto First Avenue to go uptown.

Ingress to a St. Vartan’s garage when the trucks return from their shifts could be limited to East 35th Street, but west of Tunnel Entrance Street (so that trucks don’t pass in front of the apartment buildings on the block) and to East 36th Street via Second Avenue, so as to minimize disturbance to neighborhood residents and the already heavy traffic on East 36th Street west of Second Avenue.

This traffic arrangement would keep sanitation trucks almost entirely away from the entrances to the St. Vartan’s “kiddy park” that would remain intact on the eastern