This could be the last summer for the “old” Gulick Park. Thanks to the efforts of Friends of Gulick Park, $3 million in funding has been raised to refurbish the neglected public space along Delancey and Willett streets. During “It’s My Park” day yesterday community members gathered to spruce up the park for the summer ahead.
“I heard one girl say it was the first time she planted anything,” Dave Bolotsky, founder of Friends of Gulick Park, recounted. While kid-centered activities like face painting, sandpainting, and bike decorating were popular, gardening was surprisingly popular. Kids were enthusiastic rakers, planters, and diggers. Keegan Stephan of the organization Time’s Up was on hand to offer free bike repairs, and plenty of residents (especially kids) took advantage of the service.
The ping pong tournament fielded players of all ages and levels of experience—including some very talented semifinalists. The final match between Yue Chen, whose serve had an impressive spin, and Bing Jun Cao, the runner-up, drew a crowd of spectators. Before the tournament, table tennis pros Wally Green and Kaz Yokoyama showed off their ping pong skills to an appreciative crowd, using their cell phones as a paddle and standing a good fifteen feet back from the table.
Bolotsky, along with the other members of Friends of Gulick Park’s steering committee, have high hopes for the future. He wants the space to be a “magnet for bringing the community together and having a green space with sports activities.” At one point, this park was considered a “great park. Just because we’re not a uniformly affluent place doesn’t mean people don’t deserve to have a great park.”