Department of Education Agrees to Reopen Seward Park Playing Fields

The Seward Park athletic courts, on Essex Street.

There’s good news this this afternoon concerning public access to the Seward Park campus playing fields.  Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is out with a press release announcing that the Department of Education, which owns the recreational area on Essex Street, has decided to reopen it for use by the general public.

As we first reported in May, the DOE had closed the facility for neighborhood use. Maintenance workers told residents budget cuts were to blame. Silver, who ten years ago helped secure money to refurbish the fields, sent a letter to Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott urging him to reconsider.  In today’s release, the Speaker said:

I am delighted that my neighbors on the Lower East Side and in Chinatown will now be able to enjoy this wonderful park… Recreational space is so precious to our neighborhood, particularly in the summer, and that is why I fought so hard for the public to once again have access to this field. I want to thank Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott for agreeing to reopen the field. I encourage children in our community to come out and enjoy it!

The rec area consists of basketball courts, tennis courts and a running track.  it’s primarily meant for use by the schools located in the Seward Park campus on Grand Street, but it’s always been widely used by non-students.  Beginning Monday, July 30, the fields will be opening from morning to dusk seven days a week.

LoMA Stages the Musical “Hair” This Weekend

The Lower Manhattan Arts Academy will present its production of the Broadway musical “Hair” with three shows this weekend on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

This Weekend’s College Fair at Seward Park High School

This past weekend, State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and City Councilmember Margaret Chin addressed students attending the CUNY College Fair on the Seward Park campus. The fair was sponsored by Silver’s office, as well as the offices of Chin and State Senator Daniel Squadron. There were informational booths set up in the gymnasium where attendees could get more information about CUNY and other local colleges. Both Silver ad Chin (a CUNY alum) expressed strong support for the value of New York’s public higher education system. The students also heard from Chinatown Partnership head Wellington Chen, a CUNY board member who was just appointed to serve another seven year term.