Just a couple of months after The Lo-Down came into being, in June of 2009, a grass-roots campaign to revitalize Luther Gulick Park on Sheriff Street caught our attention. Almost a decade later, reconstruction of the neglected space alongside the Williamsburg Bridge is finally about to begin.
According to a Parks Department spokesperson, the $9.9 million project will commence in March, with completion expected in 2020. Plans call for an open lawn area, new seating, separate playgrounds for toddlers and older children and active recreation areas for basketball, handball and table tennis. There will also be a new comfort station (bathrooms). The sidewalks and fencing around the park will be replaced as part of the revamp.
Gulick Park had been overlooked for years when local resident Dave Bolotsky decided to do something about the desolate patch behind the Hillman Houses. Before long, neighbors from the Grand Street Cooperatives as well as residents north of Delancey Street began hosting community gatherings, planting parties and planning meetings in the park. They eventually formed Friends of Gulick Park, and raised millions of dollars from city, state and federal sources.
Bolotsky, a fourth generation Lower East Side resident, is grateful the project is now happening, even if it took a decade to put all of the pieces together. “I’m thankful to the Parks Department, to our elected officials and, most of all, to our volunteers and neighbors on the Lower East Side for their dedication to this project and persistence over all these years,” said Bolotsky. “In the not too distant future, we can all look forward to enjoying a beautiful new Luther Gulick Park, a true community space designed to benefit our entire neighborhood.”
The reconstruction of Gulick Park went out to bid in early 2018, although final designs were approved way back in 2014. A groundbreaking ceremony is likely sometime in the spring.
Coming up on Sunday, the Friends of Gulick Park are throwing a party.
This coming Sunday afternoon, the Friends of Gulick Park will be marking “It’s My Park Day” with a basketball clinic, a playmobile being brought in by the city and lots of other fun activities. Most of all, though, they’ll be celebrating a major accomplishment — the approval of a plan to refurbish the neglected public space at Delancey and Willett streets. After four years of community visioning exercises and fundraising, Community Board 3 last month approved the plans to completely revamp Luther Gulick. Now it’s up to the Public Design Commission. You can see both the Phase 1 Plan and the final version here. The group has raised about half of the $6 million that will be required for the whole project. You can read more about the plans and this weekend’s happenings here.
A community event at Luther Gulick Park, 2012.
Nearly four years ago, Lower East Side residents came together to advocate for the revitalization of Luther Gulick Park, a neglected public space on Delancey and Willett streets. The Friends of Gulick Park sponsored community-building events, hosted visioning sessions and raised $3 million for the project. Tomorrow night, the Parks Department, which incorporated community feedback into their design process, will go before Community Board 3 with a draft proposal. If you’re interested in seeing what they’ve come up with, CB3’s parks committee meets at 6:30 p.m. at the BRC Senior Center, 30 Delancey St. Once the community board weighs in, the Public Design Commission must sign off on the plan, so there’s still a long road ahead. But there is, at least, some forward progress.
Across the city this weekend, communities will be participating in “It’s My Park Day.” At Luther Gulick Park (Delancey and Willett streets), festivities will get underway at 1 p.m. There will be bulb planting, Halloween themed art-and-crafts and plenty of snacks. As you may know, the Friends of Gulick Park, a group created three years ago, has been working with the city to redesign and refurbish the formerly-neglected space. Parks Department designers have not released their blueprints publicly yet; they’re expected to do so before the end of the year. Park construction would likely occur next year. There are, of course, other neighborhood parks holding events this weekend. Click here for the rundown.
Luther Gulick Park. Photo credit: Friends of Gulick Park.
In parks across the city this coming weekend, people will be planting flowers, tidying up garden areas and partaking in all sorts of fun and games. “It’s My Park Day” is a chance for neighbors to reconnect, to celebrate spring and to beautify both treasured and neglected public spaces.
Festivities at Luther Gulick Park, at Willett and Delancey streets, will be especially robust. After a successful fundraising campaign and community visioning process, the Friends of Gulick Park is on the verge of seeing the area refurbished and revitalized.
On Sunday, there will be all kinds of activities, including bike decorating, a ping pong tournament and gardening. There will also be a bike repair and tuneup station. The event takes place from 1-4 p.m. Click here for a look at other “It’s My Park Day” locations on the Lower East Side this weekend.
It was a beautiful day yesterday for “It’s My Park Day” in Luther Gulick Park. After two years of advocacy and fundraising, there was a lot to celebrate: the park is poised for a major face lift in the coming months. More photos from the day after the jump.
Coming up on Sunday, there will be all sorts of fun and games at Luther Gulick Park. First off, it’s the 2nd annual Ping Pong Challenge inside the soon-to-be refurbished space alongside the Williamsburg Bridge.
There will also be lots of other activities built around “It’s My Park Day,” including face painting, pumpkin painting, bulb planting and art activities sponsored by the New Museum.
The ping-pong tournament is free, open to local players of all levels and will be played on the park’s unique stone-and-metal ping pong table. Donated prizes for the event include a $100 gift certificate from Frank’s Bikes, premium passes to the American Museum of Natural History and other prizes from area businesses. For more information and to sign up to play in advance, visit gulickpark.org.
The event takes place Sunday from noon-3 p.m. in Luther Gulick Park, on Delancey and Willett streets. This year there’s plenty to celebrate, since the Friends of Gulick Park have now raised about $3 million for the renovation of the long-neglected space.
Parks Department planners have been working on designs for a new and improved Luther Gulick Park — now they’ve got a bit more money to get the job done. This week, neighborhood activists learned City Councilwoman Margaret Chin has allocated an additional $400,000 (on top of $550,000 her office already earmarked for the project). Manhattan Borough President has kicked in $250,000 (last year he allocated $500,000).
Last night, Lower East Side residents inched just a little bit closer to fulfilling the dream of reclaiming Luther Gulick Park, one of the neighborhood’s shabbiest public spaces. In a two-hour workshop at the Abrons Arts Center, neighborhood activists came together for a final visioning session before Parks Department designers get to work on preliminary drawings.
Photo credit: Friends of Gulick Park.
Lots of Lower East Side families enjoyed a beautiful afternoon in Luther Gulick Park yesterday, taking in a puppet show put on by the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater. The event was part of a grassroots campaign to reclaim the park, at Delancey and Columbia streets, after years of neglect.
Wednesday night, that campaign takes a major step forward. In a public workshop, to be held at the Abrons Arts Center, residents will have one last chance to tell Parks Dept. officials what they’d like to see before designers begin sketching out preliminary plans.
One of the only traveling puppet theaters in the country, City Parks Foundation’s PuppetMobile, is coming to Luther Gulick Park Sunday afternoon (1 pm). The Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater will perform “Bessie’s Big Shot,” a new work.
After the performance (which lasts around 45 minutes), there will be a free puppet making workshop. You can register for the workshop in advance via the Friends of Gulick Park web site, but pre-registration is not required. Gulick Park is located on Delancey Street between Columbia Street and Bialystoker Place.
Yesterday we linked to the New York Times’ piece on the city’s experiment in park-based ping pong. The soon-to-be transformed Luther Gulick Park is one of three outdoor recreational areas in New York pioneering the concept. The others are Tompkins Square and Bryant Parks.
The story excerpted from The Lo-Down’s account of last October’s ping pong tournament, written by organizer Kim Gledhill:
An Estonian woman put on quite an impressive show of skill, as did her female Scottish opponent. Chinese-speakers, Spanish-speakers, African-Americans, Anglophiles and those of Yiddish ancestry (like myself) surrounded the table throughout the afternoon, all joined by a shared love of Ping-Pong.”