Photo: NYC Parks / Daniel Avila
Today, NYC Parks Queens Borough Commissioner Jackie Langsam joined Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr., Council Member Vickie Paladino, Community Board 7 Chairperson Eugene Kelty, representatives from the Bowne Park Civic Association and the Broadway Flushing Homeowners Association, former City Council Member Paul Vallone, and members of the community to celebrate the completion of $3.6 million in improvements to Bowne Parke in Flushing Queens.
“Today is a great day as we celebrate the completion of the two reconstruction projects at Bowne Park including a beautiful new plaza area, with new game tables, plantings and refurbished bocce courts, along with the reconstructed pond,” said Parks Queens Borough Commissioner Langsam. “Parks are so important – they help us grow, give us a place to play and relax, bring neighbors together, and connect us through a shared history that forms the building blocks of our communities. It’s our hope that these projects will ensure that the community will be able to enjoy Bowne Park for many years to come.”
“Bowne Park is a jewel of North Queens and I’m thrilled to join my elected and community colleagues in celebrating the completion of its renovation,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “From a walk around the newly redone pond to a game of bocce on the renovated courts, Flushing families finally have a state-of-the-art park they deserve.”
Council Member Vickie Paladino commented, “Bowne Park is the crown jewel of North Flushing and to see it in disarray for so long was unacceptable. When I was elected in 2021, I made it one of my top priorities to oversee its completion. Less than two years later and we are finally cutting the ribbon on this beautiful park. I could not be more thankful to the Parks Department for working with me on this project and not settling for anything less than what the neighbors of Bowne Park deserve. I was on the phone from day one and at the site routinely to ensure the project was on track. This is one of my proudest moments in my tenure and I’m so excited to enjoy the park again. I’d like to thank my constituents, especially the neighbors of Bowne Park for their continued patience and support as we finished this project.”
Within Bowne Park, two projects were recently completed: the Bowne Park Pond Project, and the Plaza Reconstruction Project.
As part of the pond project, accumulated sediment was removed from the pond bottom to improve water quality. A new pump was also installed, so groundwater can be used to refill the pond as needed in lieu of City water. A new aeration system was installed to improve the water quality in order to deter harmful algae blooms; the stone wall at edge of the pond was repaired; and two new turtle islands were constructed in the middle of the pond.
As part of the Plaza Reconstruction Project, both the park’s existing plaza and bocce courts have been renovated. The work included the reconstruction of the existing bocce courts, the addition of new bistro tables and chairs, and new benches and decorative pavers to formalize the space surrounding the bocce courts to create a more comfortable and inviting space for players and spectators.
The $1.1 million Bowne Park Plaza Reconstruction project was made possible by the City Council. The $2.56 million Bowne Park Pond project was made possible with $1.15 million from the City Council, and $1.41 million from the Office of the Mayor.
Parks acquired Bowne Park on June 1, 1925. On June 10, 1969, Bowne Park made headlines as the first City park with an instant playground. This creation, developed by Mayor John V. Lindsay and Parks Commissioner August Heckscher, provided ready-made modular playground equipment to communities lacking adequate recreational facilities. Donated anonymously, Bowne Park’s units consisted of eight-sided colorful fiberglass play-cubes. In 1994, Bowne Park underwent an extensive, $800,000 renovation funded by then Queens Borough President Claire Schulman.