Nabes call for St. Saviour's site to become park
by Will Yakowicz
Jul 21, 2009 | 3151 views | 1 1 comments | 116 116 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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The former site of St. Saviour's church is now home to several dumpsters.
At the same time Maspeth residents were protesting a plan to transfer garbage through their neighborhood Saturday morning, they also called for the transformation of the former St. Saviour's site into a park.

The site, located on 57th Road overlooking Rust Street, used to house a church on a hill surrounded by trees. It was built in 1847 by the famous architect Richard Upjohn, known for his Trinity Church on Wall Street.

Now, after unsuccessful protests, petitions, the dismantling of St. Saviour's church, and the removal of 185 trees, all that is sitting on the hill are yellow dumpsters.

On 57th Road across from the blockaded site are apartment porches with lush-looking Astroturf and potted trees shackled down by silver chains. An eight-year-old rides his skateboard on his stoop above the grass growing out of the sidewalk cracks - signs that an industrial version of this Old Dutch settlement is in desperate need a park.

Some neighbors of the 1.5-acre site consider it historical land, under which supposedly lie Civil War relics, Spanish coins, and graves. The community does not have a park, and supporters of a park claim the property, now owned by a private developer, is perfect space for one.

Farouk Samaroo, a former solider in Iraq who is running for the Sate Assembly, said, "we need this park, let's win this fight!"

"Maspeth has been dumped on for years," added Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, who represents the area. "Maspeth needs its fair share of green space."

Christina Wilkinson, who organized the rally, gave out emergency numbers to St. Saviour's neighbors to use when they see any illegal work or dumping on the property.

"St. Saviour's is being closely watched," Wilkinson said. "It too is our neighborhood."

"Our next step is to keep the pressure on the property owner," said Councilman Tony Avella, who is running for mayor. "Bloomberg talks a good show, but doesn't do anything. A ten-minute walk to a park for every New Yorker is a good goal, but I don't see it being done."

The Mayor's Office did not return calls for comment.

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July 28, 2010
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