Beginning a Bright Future for the Wetlands in VCP

Volunteers removing porcelain berry from the wetlands with Friends of Van Cortlandt Park.

Volunteers from Airbnb, Inc. removing porcelain berry from the wetlands.

Only two months into our Wetlands Stewardship for a Healthier Bronx Program and we are already seeing a great amount of support and participation. For those of you who do not know, it is a program that brings together water quality testing within Tibbetts Brook and Van Cortlandt Lake, restoration and maintenance within 5 acres of Freshwater wetlands and educational partnerships with NYC schools to experience the beauty of Van Cortlandt Park first hand.

Van Cortlandt Park is home to the majority of Freshwater Wetlands left within the Bronx and these important ecosystems could use some help. Read more »

Friend of the Month- November 2015

Council Member Andrew Cohen speaks at a Memorial Grove ceremony honoring Bronx Veterans who served in World War II and Korea.

Council Member Andrew Cohen speaks at a Memorial Grove ceremony honoring Bronx Veterans who served in World War II and Korea.

The Friends of Van Cortlandt Park are happy to announce that Council Member Andrew Cohen is our November 2015 Friend of the Month. The Councilman was involved with the Friends for many years before his current position. As a community resident, he served as an active board member for several years and supported our efforts in the Park. Once elected, he did not forget our beloved Park and continued to advocate for it. The Friends are truly grateful for the key role Councilman Cohen played in bringing together multiple elected officials and City agencies to secure the funding needed for the Pedestrian Bridge over the Major Deegan Expressway. In addition, Council Member Cohen has funded several other capital projects in the Park and has been a major supporter of our Youth Run Farm Stand. We are lucky to have someone as dedicated to Van Cortlandt Park as our City Councilman. Read more »

Friend of the Month- October 2015

Jane Sokolow, former Friends' board member and current Advisory Committee member, is our October 2015 Friend of the Month.

Jane Sokolow, former Friends’ board member and current Advisory Committee member, is our October 2015 Friend of the Month.

The Friends of Van Cortlandt Park are happy to announce that our October 2015 Friend of the Month is Jane Sokolow. Jane has been a friend of the organization since the beginning as an original board over member. Jane works as an independent consultant in community greening and zoning projects and interpretive science writing. She currently serves on the Friends’ Advisory Committee of the Board where she has provided valuable expertise to the Friends’ Executive Director and Board of Directors as needed. The Friends of Van Cortlandt Park are lucky to call Jane Sokolow a great friend.

How and when did you get involved with the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park?
I was one of the original founding board members of the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park in 1992. I was a Board member for 14 years. I remain involved and available to the Executive Director and staff as an advisor and resource. Read more »

Friend of the Month- September 2015

Our September 2015 Friend of the Month Billy Feerick helping to promote our Norwood market.

Our September 2015 Friend of the Month Billy Feerick helping to promote our Norwood market.

The Friends of Van Cortlandt Park are happy to announce our September 2015 Friend of the Month- Billy Feerick. Billy has spent the last two summer’s working with the Friends Youth Run Farm Stand Internship- helping customers select and purchase fresh locally grown produce and leading cooking demonstrations to introduce the community to new healthy eating options. Billy always comes to work with a smile on his face and his co-workers and our customers always look forward to seeing him at the farm stand. As Billy begins his Junior year at Xavier High School, he isn’t able to continue the program with us during the fall so we will miss him but are looking forward to seeing him in the Park sometime soon.

 

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Friend of the Month- June 2015

Our June 2015 Friend of the Month, Dart Westphal at our 2013 Picnic Supper and Concert with his wife, Ellen Pollan.

Our June 2015 Friend of the Month, Dart Westphal at our 2013 Picnic Supper and Concert with his wife, Ellen Pollan.

The Friends of Van Cortlandt Park are thrilled to announce that our June Friend of the Month is Dart Westphal. Over the years, Dart has been a true friend to all Bronx Parks and an advocate for the betterment of the borough. Dart is a former board member of the Friends who served for over a decade and continues to support the Park in many ways. He was an advocate for the Pedestrian Bridge over the Major Deegan- he even wrote and sang our theme song for the rally last year. We are pleased that he will be honored and officially thanked at our Picnic Supper the evening of the Philharmonic later this month.

How and when did you get involved with the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park?
I got involved with the Friends because I was invited by some of the founding Board Members. I both lived and worked in neighborhoods on different sides of the park so I was familiar with Van Corltandt and used it a lot with my family. When they told me it “needed Friends” I signed right up. Read more »

The Pedestrian Bridge: A Broken Promise, Finally Made Right

Pedestrian Bridge Press Conference

From left to right: Congressman Eliot Engel, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Councilman Andrew Cohen, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd, DDC Commissioner Feniosky Pena-Mora, Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, Bronx Borough Ruben Diaz Jr. and Senator Jeffrey Klein.

On the afternoon May 8th, 2015, a press conference was held in the parking lot of Shandler Recreation Area to announce that $12 million has been allocated for a pedestrian bridge that will span the Major Deegan Expressway (I-87) and finally bring the western and eastern halves of the Park together. The Pedestrian Bridge is one of three bridges that are identified in the 2014 Van Cortlandt Park Master Plan to connect our divided park and undo decades of damage caused by highways that divided the park. The Friends of Van Cortlandt Park have advocated for funding for this first bridge since 1999 and it has been a cornerstone of an overall campaign to secure full funding for the entire Master Plan.

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP) and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks) will each invest $4 million to construct the bridge, and the remaining $4 million will be paid for with state funds. NYC Councilman Andrew Cohen and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz played key roles in securing the City funding. State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz, other members of Assembly Bronx Delegation and State Senator Jeffrey Klein played key roles in securing the State funds. Read more »