Greenpoint Gazette
Courtesy FERSP / Jackie Meyer
Rendering of a suggestion for East River State's entrance

Call for Volunteers: I Love My Park Day Returns This Weekend

BY Jeff Mann

Here’s a chance to show East River State Park (ERSP) some love.

This weekend, Friends of East River State Park (FERSP) and the NYS Parks Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation will celebrate the second annual I Love My Park Day (ILMPD) at the seven acre park with its panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline. On Saturday, May 4th, more than 50 volunteers will plant, paint and clean ERSP, which opened in May 2007, but remains underdeveloped as a result of budgetary constraints.

That looks to change, however, after a double stroke of good fortune last spring. ERSP got its own Friends group as well as a boost from Governor Cuomo, who declared the first Saturday of each May I Love My Park Day, encouraging volunteers from throughout New York to participate in the beautification of their local state parks. The state coordinates with each park’s Friends group, providing them with outreach, promotion and other assistance to use at their events. More than 70 state parks will celebrate ILMPD this Saturday.

Last year’s event took place just two weeks after FERSP Chairman Jackie Meyer’s group formed, leaving little time to pursue sponsors or volunteers. They still managed to cull almost 25 volunteers from local schools and national service organization, Americorps and to make some modest improvements.

2013 is a wholly different story. Last month, FERSP successfully bid for $450,000 in participatory budgeting money from Councilmember Steve Levin to build a dog run. For the upcoming ILMPD, the Friends and its event co-chairs Theresa Caffrey and Mark Sallinger have assembled sponsorships from Williamsburg Dental Arts, Brooklyn Flea, Yuval Vidal-Real Estate Broker, Jungle, Soul Cycle and Brooklyn Harvest Market. They’ve also obtained hundreds of plants and gallons of paint, as well as refreshments and giveaways for the volunteers. Black-eyed Susans will be planted around the kids’ playground and rosa Carolina along the shoreline to help combat erosion. An entire garden will be planted near the entrance, replacing a hodge-podge of materials installed in 2007. Jungle will also put on a demonstration about the proper way to move a plant from pot to ground. Meyer said they hope to paint the fence as well, if they can draw enough volunteers.

Assemblyman Joe Lentol, whose efforts were the driving force behind the state’s purchasing of the Kent Avenue parkland has a soft spot for ERSP. “New York State has some of the most beautiful state parks in the country. I am proud that Friends of East River State Park are leading the way when it comes to ours. We need more open space in my district, but they make sure that this one is the best.”

Volunteers who sign up in advance at: http://www.ptny.org/ilovemypark/ are automatically entered to win a $100 camping gift card to NYS Parks. Contributions to FERSP may be made at https://nht.wufoo.com/forms/thank-you-for-your-donation/def/field353=East%20River%20State%20Park.

I Love My Park Day
East River State Park
90 Kent Avenue
Saturday, May 4th – 11AM – 3PM

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