Additional Funding from Greenacre Foundation

SPNA is delighted to report that the Greenacre Foundation has agreed to provide a second round of funding of $10,000, which will be used towards Phase 3 of our tree maintenance program. Above are images from Phase 2, which entailed pruning trees that cast a heavy shadow over flower beds, preventing the beds surrounding the fountains from receiving sufficient light and air for the plants to grow.

Phase 3 will focus on the West Park and is tentatively scheduled to take place this summer. The goals of this phase are to:

  • Reduce weight of branch ends
  • Reduce risk of branch failure
  • Reduce likelihood of storm damage
  • Maintain size and shape

We want to thank Eric Anderson of Bartlett Tree Experts for his dedication and enthusiasm for this program.

Thank you also to SPNA board President Jason Money and board member Doris Dieter for making sure we met the deadlines in order to be considered for this funding.

SPNA is very grateful to the Greenacre Foundation for their recognition of the importance of this work and their continued support of our efforts.

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It’s My Park Day

Thank You!

SPNA wants to thank all the volunteers who came out on It’s My Park Day to help clean litter from the garden beds in Stuyvesant Square and the surrounding streets. They did a great job in spite of the heat!

A big shoutout to Sokie Lee and Ken Gray, co-founders of NYC CLEAN Volunteers, who partnered with SPNA for this event. Their participation helped to make this event a success.

We also appreciate the support of Partnership for Parks and NYC Parks for their help in making this event happen twice every year.

And thanks to Trader Joe’s for providing the shopping bags that we used to collect the litter!

It takes the efforts of many to keep our city clean.

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Washington Irving High School

After about five years of construction, which were very hard on many members of the community, the final pieces of the Washington Irving High School project are complete. In addition to the construction, a tree that was destroyed in the process was replaced and the bust of Washington Irving* was uncovered and cleaned. The last bit of scaffolding surrounding the building was finally taken down.

Washington Irving High School, formerly called Wadleigh High School, is a significant institution in the history of women’s education in New York City, being the only school for girls in Manhattan when it was built in 1913. It was the brainchild of progressive educator William McAndrew, who believed that girls training for vocational or technical trades and those undertaking an academic curriculum should be educated together since they had much to teach each other. As a result, construction of the school was exceedingly difficult because of the extensive curriculum. Subjects taught included housekeeping, marketing, garment making, drawing, plain and fancy cooking, picture hanging, dancing, typewriting, bookbinding, and gardening, in addition to the usual high school subjects. The bust of Washington Irving was sculpted by Friedrich Beer and added in 1935, and the school continued to expand as attendance increased. Notable attendees include the artist Lee Krasner, singer Sylvia Robinson, and Academy Award-winning actress and comedian Whoopi Goldberg.

Washington Irving High School became co-ed in 1986. Today, Irving’s bust features prominently on school IDs.

We were just notified by a member that the bust has been removed. We will endeavor to find out what happened and when it will be returned.

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Marvin (seated at center in the photo above) loved Stuyvesant Park, spending time there every day from 12-3:15pm, weather permitting. Marvin had memory issues or what he called CRS, “can’t remember sh*t.” But the park was his delight – hearing the children play, watching the flowers bloom and the trees bud, paying for doughnuts for students from Success Academy, listening to the dogs bark and making friends with other neighbors who celebrated his 92nd birthday with him in the park.

Marvin and his wife, Linda, moved to the neighborhood in 2004 from Emerson, NJ. Born and raised in Brooklyn, they were happy to return to the city once their THREE children were grown. Marvin continued to work on 47th Street as a diamond setter, work he loved and did for 55 years, only retiring at 85. When he wasn’t working, he had been an avid gardener at their home in NJ, spending five to six hours every weekend planning, planting, pruning and mowing. His other interest was the stock market until his memory declined three years ago.

Marvin died in April 2022, and “Marvin’s Bench” near 16th Street and Rutherford Place, facing the fountain, is in his memory, a place he often sat, contentedly watching the world go by.

Marvin's Bench

Thank you, Board Member Janice Armstrong, for contributing this lovely remembrance to our newsletter.

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Team Up With NYC CLEAN Volunteers

NYC CLEAN Volunteers and a member of SPNA worked hard to clean the streets and sidewalks of our neighborhood last month. New York City Council Member Carlina Rivera met up with the volunteers and expressed her support. It was wonderful to come together as a team to make our city a cleaner and more welcoming place for everyone. We thank NYC CLEAN Volunteers for helping clean the streets around First Avenue and surrounding the park.

You can get in touch with NYC CLEAN Volunteers by emailing Sokie Lee (sokie007@gmail.com) and/or Ken Gray (kennethgray200@gmail.com). You can also join them through their Facebook page: facebook.com/groups/nyccleanvolunteers.

As you’ve very likely noticed, New York City can be a whole lot cleaner. We encourage you to sign the petition to restore and expand the sanitation budget to ensure clean streets for all. The petition advocates to reverse the proposed cuts to sanitation personnel and services, restore composting programs, fund rat mitigation efforts, and invest in zero waste schools. A cleaner city is a safer city. Help us make our city as clean and safe as possible.

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