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Groomed Gardens, Delighted Dogs, Tired Teenagers

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Friends Seminary School sixth-graders (clockwise from left) Jayson Pitagorsky, 11, Kathryn McLane, 12, Jared Hodges, 12, and Jediah Katz, 11, got their hands dirty Saturday morning.

The weeds had a bad day, but everyone else at It’s My Park Day on the Lower East Side seemed to be enjoying themselves on Saturday.

Along the East River Promenade near Delancey Street, middle- and high-schoolers were hard at work pulling and digging unwelcome sprouts from among the flowers this morning, joking around and looking forward to a tall tower of pizzas that arrived by bicycle at lunchtime.

“We managed to get 60 teenagers out of bed by 8 a.m., which is a pretty big accomplishment,” said Gloria Pitagorsky, a co-founder of the Green Team of East River Park, who pulled together a workforce of students from Friends Seminary school in Gramercy. The worker bees included Pitagorski’s 11-year-old son Jayson, who got involved in the day’s events as part of his mitzvah project.

Luke (left), Beauregard (center) and friends kicked up their paws in a new bed of straw at the East River Dog Run at Corlear's Hook Park.

Across the FDR in Corlear’s Hook Park near Jackson Street, organizers were overjoyed at the turnout for their inaugural “It’s My (Dog) Park Day” event. By 11:30 this morning, more than 80 people had shown up to help spruce up the leash-free dog run and participate in a series of fun human/canine activities sponsored by the Friends of East River Dog Run, a new group.

“Every day is ‘It’s My Park Day’ for dog owners,” said a beaming Jenny Coffey, an LES resident who co-chaired the event, which included dog training tips, microchipping and plenty of doggie play time in the run, which sported a new layer of straw. Coffey staffed a tent with info about the dog run with help from her new friend George, an abandoned chihuahua up for adoption.

From his vantage point on her lap, George helped supervise some more weeding, as members of Pace University’s Americorps Community and Volunteer Mobilization group wielded garden tools and repositioned stone borders around the landscaping beds.

If you missed a chance to participate in It’s My Park Day today, you have another opportunity tomorrow, as the Friends of Gulick Park have scheduled gardening and karaoke from 2 to 5 p.m. at the park along Delancey between Bialystoker and Columbia streets.

Students from Pace University's Americorps program worked with park staffers in Corlear's Hook Park.
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  1. Awesome event! Thanks to everyone that helped organize this day, and we look forward to many more

  2. Great job folks! A wonderful day out and one which significantly improves all of our quality of life  Thanks!

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