Ping Pong in the Park

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Photo by Friends of Gulick Park via Flickr.

Those resourceful community organizers battling to restore Luther Gulick Park have a new weapon in their arsenal — ping pong!  The group is pulling out all the stops for “Take Back Our Park Day” on May 16th. Now, in an effort to enliven one of the city’s most neglected spaces, the Friends of Gulick Park have launched a campaign on Kickstarter for an outdoor ping pong table.

For the past year, we’ve been following their efforts to beautify the park (see spring flowers) and to cajole the city into giving the park (at Delancey and Willett Streets) a major face lift. The event a week from Sunday is their largest undertaking yet. With the help of the Hester Street Collaborative, there will be a visioning session (including model making, tagging good and bad sections of the park, etc). But what would a grassroots campaign be without some fun and games, right?

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That’s where the ping pong table comes in. Their Kickstarter pitch:

We want your help in getting an outdoor ping pong table in Gulick Park because it will help inject life into this long-neglected city park that we’re working to restore. There’s handball and basketball and we think an outdoor ping pong table will be a great addition. The Lower East Side has as diverse a community as anywhere in the world and Gulick Park is a place where every age, gender and ethnic group can connect – what better way than through ping pong? The funds will be used for the purchase and installation of the table – any extra money raised will go to maintenance of the table and a supply of extra paddles and balls.

The group needs to raise $4200 in the next 11 days. You can donate as little as five bucks. Follow this link for more information or to pitch in.

Also: the Friends of Gulick Park are trying to get as many people as possible to fill out a quick 12 question survey. To take part in that, head over to their web site (which is really slick, by the way).

And at “Take Back Our Park Day” the group will be conducting oral histories with residents who wish to share Gulick Park memories. There are apparently a lot of fond recollections of the good ol’ days. Not too long ago, Sheldon Silver (aka the Speaker of the State Assembly) was shooting baskets in the park and showing off his scar acquired during a swing-set scuffle with another child when he was eight.

If you have interest in being involved in the oral history project, call Janet Jensen at 212-388-1748.