Respecting the past, Building the future

OANA—FOWFF Pitch in For Parks

The Old Astoria Neighborhood Association (OANA), the fiscal sponsor of Friends of Whitey Ford Field is proud to support our dedicated volunteers who have helped revive the fortunes of one of the oldest ball-fields in Queens.

Friends of Whitey Ford Field were selected by the NYC Park Department to be part of a Queens-wide initiative, Pitch in For Parks, on April 6, 2024. Volunteer groups around Queens helped spruce up and beautify sports grounds around the borough, including American Fields, College Point Fields, and Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

Blair Clancy, Whitey Ford's granddaughter
Blair Clancy, Whitey Ford's granddaughter

OANA advertised their event on LinkNYC Kiosks around Astoria during the last week of March and the beginning of April. This has proven to be very effective messaging in the past. The first time we posted on the LinkNYC terminals was back in 2019 for Ford Family Day, a summer event where Whitey Ford’s immediate family and residents came together to advocate for the field. This time, residents from 10 Halletts Point, the Old Astoria Neighborhood Association, a student from Frank Sinatra High School of the Arts, and an Adjunct Professor at NYU School of Journalism all participated, and showed up to remove four large sacks of garbage and waste from the field. We were also supported by Glenny, the manager at Brooklyn Harvest Market, who made sure all the volunteers got hot coffee, tea, and doughnuts.

Blair Clancy, Co-Chair of Friends of Whitey Ford Field, the Queens Brough Commissioner for Parks, Jackie Langsam, and her Deputy Chief of Operations, Elizabeth Ripotola, joined the volunteers to discuss future developments at the field; in particular the very serious issue of unleashed dogs running around the ballpark. OANA is advocating for dog runs to alleviate some of these issues.  Indeed, while work was underway, our Parks Manager, Monet Davis, had to bring down Park Enforcement Officers to remove a few dogs from the field. All agree further steps need to be taken!

For Friends of Whitey Ford Fields’ efforts, the NYC Parks Department handed out tickets to a METS game later in the month. We thank them for their genericity!

Featured photo:

Elizabeth Ripotola -NYC Parks Department, Deputy Chief of Operations, Lauri Hengl, Jerome Starks, NYC Parks Supervisor, Jackie Lagsam, NYC Parks -Queens borough Commissioner, Richard Khuzami, President of the Old Astoria Neighborhood Association, Bix Bilger – Frank Sinatra High School of the Arts Baseball Team, John Surico, Adjunct Professor, Arthur L Carter School of Journalism, Monet Davis, NYC Parks Manager, Queens Community Board 1, Maria Gardener, NYC Parks

Neil Herdan is an Astoria resident as well as co-chair of Friends of Whitey Ford Field.

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