Sara D. Roosevelt Park Coalition Fights to Reopen Stanton Street Building


LES residents gather at the Stanton Street building during the coalition’s “visioning session.” Photo: Alex Gerald

Maymond Baba remembers playing ping pong inside the Stanton Street building as a teenager in the 1970s. He was born and raised on Orchard Street and would often head to Sara D. Roosevelt Park to kick it with other kids from the neighborhood. At the time, the building was home to a youth recreation center where kids could indulge in pool, table tennis and other games inside – or rent equipment to play with in the park. Baba left the city in 1986 and returned two decades later to find the Stanton Street building shuttered.

The Parks Department has been using the building, situated within Sara D. Roosevelt Park on Stanton Street, as a storage closet and unofficial parking lot for decades. And since 1994, The Sara D. Roosevelt Park Coalition has been fighting to reopen the facility for public use. “It’s just not helpful to the neighborhood,” Coalition President K. Webster said of the building’s current state.

The Coalition hosted a “visioning session” last week, bringing community organizations and LES residents together to brainstorm possible uses for the Stanton Street building, and plans to follow up with a series of workshops – starting tomorrow.

“Community resources such as the numerous park buildings that dot the Lower East Side must be returned to active neighborhood use,” Webster wrote in a 2013 opinion piece published on our website. “The Stanton Street building in Sara D. Roosevelt (SDR) Park was once a bustling youth center. We need it back.”

Parks representatives have agreed to convert the Stanton Street building’s staff bathroom into public restrooms but aren’t planning on relocating the storage facility, according to DNA Info.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Councilwoman Margaret Chin helped secure $1 million for the bathroom renovation, which is currently in the design phase.

But Webster wants more to be done. That’s why she helped organize the visioning session.

In front of the Stanton Street building, A group of Chinese women were in perfect sync dancing Zumba hosted by the University Settlement House. Teenagers with the LUNGS Youth Program mulched tree beds around the building and filmed each other with cameras provided by DCTV. Amid the commotion, LES residents and community organizers shared their visions of what the Stanton Street building could become.

Josh Bisker is a member of the New York Mechanical Gardens Bike Coop, a bicycle education group that teaches New Yorkers how to repair their own bikes and tries to address “the conjunction of bike issues and affordable housing, living wage work, food deserts and gentrification,” among other issues. “It’s not a bike project with cool social aims,” Bisker said. “It’s a social justice project that manifests as a bike repair space.”

Bisker hopes to see the Stanton Street building become a space for different community based organizations to operate and connect with one another, including the bike coop. “The idea is to have a home,” he said. “Right now we’re nomadic.”

Ray Sage, who has lived on Rivington Street for three decades, thinks the building could be used during neighborhood or citywide emergencies. “I endured Sandy and I wanna see [the Stanton Street building] as a kind of resiliency center, kind of like a bomb shelter,” he said. A beekeeper himself, Sage also wouldn’t mind the installation of a green roof – with bees.

NYC Community Garden Coalition Executive Director Aziz Dehkan hopes for a revival of the collective spirit of 1960s and 70s. “Let’s go back to that,” he said. “I want to see a big fucking cooperative.” Regardless of what it becomes, Dehkan says he wants to see community involvement. “This is our city. We should all have a say in what happens,” he said.

Maymond Baba was also at the visioning session. Now, most of his childhood friends have either moved or passed away, but he wishes today’s generation of kids could enjoy the Stanton Street building like he did when he was young.  “It would be nice if they opened the center back up,” he said. “It shouldn’t be a junkyard.”

On July 13th, 6:30-9 p.m. at the BRC Senior Services Center at 30 Delancey Street, the Sara D. Roosevelt Park Coalition will host a workshop for “all those who are committed to working on the campaign to return Stanton Building to the neighborhood,” and has a third event planned for July 27.


Sara D. Roosevelt Park Coalition members Chynna Krouser (Right) and Eddie Glass (Center) ask passing New Yorkers about the Stanton Street building. Photo: Alex Gerald


Campaign to Reactivate Stanton Street Park Building Resumes Today

File photo. Stanton Street park building.

File photo. Stanton Street park building.

Over the years, we’ve reported on efforts by community activists to reactivate a Parks Department building on Stanton Street in Sara D. Roosevelt Park. Their vision: Turn the neglected structure into a vibrant community resource. Starting today, they’re stepping up the campaign with a series of summer events. Here’s more from the Stanton Building Task Force:

In 1998, residents were promised their community space would soon be returned. Instead, it’s used for storage and in poor condition, which attracts other misuse of the Park as well as trucks coming and going in an area where children play and bicyclists ride. This coastal community needs a space to generate relationships and resiliency. Located one block south of Houston Street and a block east of the Bowery in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, the Stanton Building could be an important anchor to the community and a gateway to Sara D Roosevelt Park. As one of the few public buildings located outside all the flood zones below Houston, it could function well as a refuge in times of disruption. It is in the heart of a community that is being priced out of financially viable democratic spaces.

The first event takes place this afternoon from 3-6 p.m. You can find out more information here or check out the flyer posted below.


Tonight in Sara D. Roosevelt Park: Steve Nash’s “Showdown in Chinatown”

Photo: Steve Nash Foundation.

Photo: Steve Nash Foundation.

Tonight’s the night in Sara D. Roosevelt Park. Steve Nash’s annual celebrity soccer tournament, Showdown in Chinatown, kicks off at 6:30 p.m.

This year the retired NBA star faces off against U.S. soccer legend Landon Donovan. More from the press release:

Showdown kicks off on June 22nd at Sara D. Roosevelt Park in the middle of the Lower East Side, at Forsyth and Stanton. Now in its 9th summer, Showdown brings together NBA players, including playoffs standout Bismack Biyombo, and international soccer stars, lead by newcomers Landon Donovan and Georgios Samaras, and former Showdown MVP Giuseppe Rossi. Saturday Night Live alum and Horrible Bosses and Last Man On Earth actor Jason Sudeikis, whose actual athletic skills were on display at the NBA All-Star Weekend Celebrity Game in Toronto, will bring his Ted Lasso character to the LES in support of the Steve Nash Foundation.

Showdown in Chinatown is a free event. More information about the Steve Nash Foundation here.

Good Morning!

sara d. roosevelt park

Monday, March 7, 2016 | These guys were enjoying a sunny Sunday afternoon in Sara D. Roosevelt Park | Weather: Mostly sunny with a high of 59 today. By Wednesday, we’ll see a high of 72. Spring is teasing us! | If you would like to share a neighborhood picture with us, send it to: or tag us on Instagram at #LoDownNY.

City Worker Overcome By “Fecal Fumes” at Sara D. Roosevelt Park

Good Morning!


Monday, June 22, 2015 | Lee Brozgol took this photo in Sara D. Roosevelt Park | Weather: Sunny skies today with a high of 89 | Happening Today: The Chinatown Working Group meets at 5 p.m. at Two Bridges Senior Apartments, 80 Rutgers Slip | Send us your photos and tips | Subscribe to our daily newsletter.

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Submissions Open For Public Art Installation in Sara D. Roosevelt Park

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Steve Nash’s “Showdown” at Sara D. Roosevelt Park

The annual soccer tournament hosted by the Steve Nash Foundation is back next Wednesday for its sixth year in a row on the Lower East Side, bringing players from both basketball courts and soccer fields to Nash’s “home pitch” at  Sara D. Roosevelt Park.

More Activities For It’s My Park Day on Saturday

Neighborhood parks will be celebrating “It’s My Park Day” on Saturday.  Here are the festivities happening in Sara D. Roosevelt Park, as well as M’Finda Kalunga.

It's My Park Day 2013

Click for Spanish and Chinese language versions.

Suspects Wanted; Woman Attacked at Grand & Chrystie

NYPD sketch.

NYPD sketch.

Police are asking for help finding two suspects wanted in connection with the alleged sexual assault and robbery of a 38-year old woman last week alongside Sara D. Roosevelt Park.  The incident happened Monday, April 15 at around 9:30 p.m. near the intersection of Grand and Chrystie streets. According to cops, the woman had stopped to ask the men for directions.  They reportedly began walking with her; one suspect grabbed the victim from behind and pinned her against a wall. Police say the other man then punched the woman in the ribs and thigh, sexually abused her and then ran off with her purse.  The sketch posted above depicts the suspect accused of assault.  If you have any information about this crime, call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.


Op/Ed: Time to Reactivate Stanton Street Park Building

Sara D. Roosevelt Park at Stanton Street.

The following article was written by Lower East Side resident K. Webster:

In a time of diminishing resources we must rethink how we allocate the ones we have.  Community resources such as the numerous park buildings that dot the Lower East Side must be returned to active neighborhood use. We can no longer afford to have these buildings used for storage or sit neglected as empty space. The Stanton Street building in Sara D. Roosevelt (SDR) Park was once a bustling youth center. We need it back.

Affordable spaces are vanishing. With the ongoing collapse of structural support for vulnerable youth, elders, and working people, the need for access to publicly owned sites in densely populated, low-income neighborhoods is clear. And, as Hurricane Sandy made evident, we are in desperate need of hubs from which to catalyze self-help efforts to take on climate change locally.

Scenes From the 2013 Firecracker Festival

2013 Firecracker Festival at Sara D. Roosevelt Park. Photos by Tim Schreier.

It was time to celebrate the Year of the Snake at Sara D. Roosevelt Park yesterday morning.  The Better Chinatown Society put on quite a show for the 14th annual Firecracker Ceremony.  Local dignitaries were there, including Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez, City Council member Margaret Chin and NYC Comptroller John Liu.  Tim Schreier got some great images from the day, which you can see after the jump.  Remember: the Lunar New Year Parade takes place next Sunday at 1 p.m.  Check out the route here.

Video: Protesters vs. Cops at Sara D. Roosevelt Park

We already posted lots of photos from yesterday’s May Day protests.  Here’s video of the brief tussle between protesters and police officers at Sara D. Roosevelt Park. The NYPD reports 34 people were arrested throughout the city yesterday in connection with Occupy Wall Street events.