By Sabina Mollot
Last Friday morning, in near-freezing weather following the second snowfall in a week, local community leaders and politicians cut the ribbon on the newly expanded Asser Levy Playground.
Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver joked that “It’s a pleasure to cut a ribbon on this warm and sunny day,” as the politicians on either side of him sat bundled up for the cold. He then went on to say the project had been successful in terms of being both “on time and on budget and that gets a double round of applause.”
New features along the two-block-long park that was formerly a street include a track, adult fitness equipment, a synthetic turf field, drinking fountains, lighting, trees, tables and benches.
The work was funded with allocations of $1,175,000 from Council Member Dan Garodnick, $500,000 from the UN Development Corporation, and $670,000 from the mayor.
While at the podium, Silver joked that Garodnick was so enamored with project, “he named his son Asher.”
In response Garodnick confided that he’d actually told his son that the playground had been named after him.
“There are no limits to my deception,” he quipped. “I told him it was a typo on the sign.” He added that since he also has another son, “We’ll have to see what we can do for Devin.”
While construction had been underway at the site, the Council member said he and both of his young sons would pop by each day from their apartment in Peter Cooper Village and ask the project supervisor for status updates. And, he added, the supervisor was very nice about it.
The playground work was tied to a land deal that would allow the United Nations to put a building on space occupied by Robert Moses Park.While naturally the plan to remove that park space has been met with some opposition from neighbors, Garodnick said Robert Moses Park is underutilized, as the space now occupied by Asser Levy Playground was when it was a street.