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Parents call on State Parks to open Gantry Plaza sports field an hour earlier

April 10, 2017 By Hannah Wulkan

A group of Long Island City parents are pushing for the sports field near Gantry Plaza State Park to open an hour earlier each day.

LIC Parents Group, which has about 950 members, has asked that the State Parks Service open the gated sports field at 7 a.m. every day, an hour earlier than it currently opens, so that children can play outdoors before going to school.

“It’s a beautiful park but it can’t be utilized before school,” said local parent Kris Schrey who is leading the charge to open the park earlier and claims it would be good for the health of local children. “There have been numerous studies linking intense physical activity before school with cognitive functioning in school, so if we can allow our kids to play soccer or baseball in the morning, they will perform much better in school.”

Since launching the effort, several local politicians have jumped on board. A representative for State Senator Michael Gianaris said that he is working with the parents to find a solution, and Assembly Member Cathy Nolan wrote a letter to the New York State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey in support of the parent group.

“Opening the park one hour earlier to 7AM would give both parents and children more opportunities for the children to get the exercise they need,” Nolan wrote.

Schrey said that since beginning the push for the sports field to be opened earlier, he learned that State Park employees regularly begin their days at 7 a.m., which would mean that it would not require extra staffing to open the field earlier.

He added that there have been several run-ins with Park personnel in regards to the soccer field in recent weeks. As recent as last week, there was a confrontation between about a dozen parents and several park rangers, when some children were accused of trespassing after hopping the fence to play soccer before the gate was open.

“What’s the job of NYS Park employees: making parks available to the public or blocking access?” Schrey posed in an email.

Representatives for New York State Parks did not return multiple requests for comment.

Letter to NYS Parks, Support Letter, LIC Parents Group, 4-7-17 by Queens Post on Scribd

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LIC reaident

I live in front of the park and quite honestly at 7am on Saturday and Sunday morning there are no children playing but adults screaming. I think it is a little too much. Maybe an 830am open to the public?


Wow I thought I was being pretty respectful when I posed my objection but I guess any one that lives in our neighborhood and works 60+ hours a week but doesn’t have a precious little bundle of our own can’t have an opinion?


Not to be a Grandpa Simpson here but frankly I live next door to this field and while the noise is not usually that bad, I don’t think I want to be woken up every morning at 7am by excited kids running around outside my window. As it is, we have two playgrounds right across the street and a large field adjacent that isn’t manned by a fence. I think we have bigger issues in our neighborhood than this. Lived here for almost 6 years and the only changes that seem to happen are more nail salons and high rises and less 7 train service.


how unfortunate it would be for you to be woken from your beauty sleep at the wee hours of 7am.


How unfortunate that when someone politely responds with a different opinion, the only response one can come up with is sarcasm.


How old are you? I thought senior citizens are up with the larks and at the diner for the early bird special.


I’m old enough that I work 60+ hours a week and if my building requires a line in my lease that says noise complaints can be made for excessive noise before 8am, that should apply to your kids play areas too.


I call on the state parks to just maintain that property. When it snows, nobody shovels for a day or two. Some trees have died, nobody replaces them. Dogs poop all over the sidewalk and in the bushes and nobody cleans it.


Can’t the children play on the soccer field and jungle gym by the water near 51st street and Center?


The sports field serves as the school field and is adjacent, so it makes much more sense that kids have morning access here. Besides, why leave it closed when there is a healthy, reasonable demand? The parks people start work at 7AM.


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