Sol Lain Playground Reopens After $3.6 Million Renovation

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The fifth graders at P.S. 134 joined city officials this afternoon to officially reopen Sol Lain Playground after a $3.6 million renovation.

The redesigned public space includes separate play areas for different age groups, swings, a spray shower, a high school-sized basketball court, an area for flag football and an educational garden for the local school. Sol Lain and Henry M. Jackson Playground (reopened a few weeks ago) were refurbished through the city’s Community Parks Initiative.

Before a ribbon cutting ceremony, Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver boasted that the playground was completed on time and on budget (construction began in August of 2016).

As City Council member Margaret Chin noted today, Sol Lain Playground  holds special meaning for a lot of locals because it’s where coach Eddie Garcia ran a popular flag football program until his death in 2010. Eddie’s sister, Marilou, who has kept the league running, attended today’s opening. The field is named in Eddie Garcia’s memory.

Also on hand today was Catherine Bridges, a Lower East Side resident who happens to work for the Parks Department. She was the landscape designer for the Sol Lain project. She told us it’s the first time she’d been given the opportunity to design a park in her own neighborhood.

More improvements are ahead at Sol Lain Playground. The comfort station (bathrooms) are being refurbished at a cost of $1.9 million. Silver promised the new facility would be ready for use by next summer.

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Sol Lain Playground Reopens on Monday (Updated)

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Construction crews are busy putting the finishing touches on Sol Lain Playground. That’s because there will be an official reopening of the well-used public space Monday, after a $3.6 million renovation project.

There will be a community celebration and ribbon cutting Monday at 1 p.m. The rehabilitation, through the city’s Community Parks Initiative, included the creation of separate play areas for different age groups, swings, a spray shower, a high school-sized basketball court, an area for flag football and an educational garden for the local public school.

A nearby space, Henry M. Jackson Playground, was also recently renovated and reopened. Sol Lain Playground is located between East Broadway and Henry streets, at Gouverneur Street.

UPDATE: This event has been postponed.

Sol Lain, Henry M. Jackson Playground Projects Now Underway

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Sol Lain Playground. East Broadway and Henry streets.

If all goes according to plan, the Lower East Side will have two revitalized parks by next fall. On Friday, Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver attended a groundbreaking ceremony to kick off reconstruction of Sol Lain Playground and Henry M. Jackson Playground. They are the first projects happening in Manhattan as part of the mayor’s $285 million Community Parks Initiative.

The two neglected play areas are located a block apart on Henry Street. They’ve gone untouched for at least two decades. At Sol Lain, the $3.6 million rehabilitation will include separate play areas for different age groups, swings, a spray shower, a high school-sized basketball court, an area for flag football and an educational garden for the local public school, which will come complete with a small cherry orchard.

At Henry M. Jackson Playground, nearly $2 million will be spent on an intermediate-sized basketball court, two junior courts with new hoops and backstops, a mini-running track, a volleyball area, plus benches and picnic tables.

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NYC Parks Drawing: Sol Lain Playground.

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NYC Parks Drawing: Henry M. Jackson Playground.

On hand for the ceremony last week was Marilou Garcia. Her brother, Eddie Garcia, was the heart and soul of this playground. For many years, until his death in 2010, Garcia ran the Sol Lain Flag Football League and dedicated much of his life to keeping LES kids engaged through youth sports. The field was named in his memory several years ago.

There’s another local connection around the revitalization at Sol Lain Playground. The landscape architect who designed the new park, Catherine Bridges, lives right across the street in the Seward Park Co-op. She’ll be able to look out her window and keep tabs on the construction.

In addition to Garcia and Bridges, the groundbreaking was attended by Council member Rosie Mendez, Assemblywoman Alice Cancel, P.S. 134 principal Daniel Kim and Trever Holland, chair of Community Board 3’s parks committee.

More Lower East Side park improvement projects are on the way. A Parks Department spokesperson tells us that a long-awaited reconstruction of Luther Gulick Park will happen in two phases. The renovation of a comfort station is expected to begin this fall. Landscape renovations are scheduled to start in the fall of 2017.

Seward Park, a winner of the city’s Parks Without Borders Competition, will be receiving millions of dollars in improvements. No groundbreaking date is set for that project as of yet. It’s still in the planning/design phases.

Sol Lain Playground.

Sol Lain Playground.

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Groundbreaking For Sol Lain and Henry M. Jackson Playgrounds Friday

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Henry M. Jackson Playground, Henry and Madison streets.

On Friday afternoon, New York City’s parks Commissioner, Mitchell Silver, will be on hand for a groundbreaking ceremony at two Lower East Side parks.

You’ve probably noticed the dirt and heavy machinery at Henry M. Jackson Playground and Sol Lain Playground. As part of the mayor’s Community Parks Initiative. the neglected public spaces are receiving a total of more than $6 million. There was a community visioning process for the revamped spaces, which are supposed to be finished by the end of next summer. You can see the schematic drawings below.

The groundbreaking happens at 1:30 p.m. on Friday.

h/t Council member Rosie Mendez.

Schematic for Sol Lain Playground Reconstruction

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Community Invited to Help Plan Sol Lain Playground Revamp Tonight

Good Morning!

The fountain sent a cool mist across the Sol Lain Playground on Henry Street yesterday afternoon. Today’s weather will be even sunnier than yesterday, with clear skies and highs in the mid-80s. Today, we’ll be following up on the stories we’ve been covering this week, some updates on bar and restaurant news and our music picks for the long holiday weekend.