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.
How and when did you get involved with the Friend of Van Cortlandt Park?
I have been involved with the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park since I started calling Riverdale home. I served as a Board Member for several years and participated in some of the innovative programs, like the clean-up projects. My family and I love shopping at the FVCP food markets, because nothing is better than locally grown produce.
What is your favorite place in the park?
I don’t know if anyone familiar with Van Cortlandt Park could pick a single favorite. For me, I enjoy taking walks around the pond and lake; I find it to be very relaxing. I also like spending time at the Van Cortlandt Golf Course and am proud that I can say the oldest public golf course in America is part of my district.
What is your favorite memory of the Park or event you have participated in?
This is tough, as I have so many fond memories! I have taken my daughter numerous times to the stables to pet and feed the horses there, she really enjoys that. Also, I have to say, the New York Philharmonic concert is definitely one of the highlights of my summer. It is a great event that brings out the entire community and it is a fantastic way to spend the evening with my family and friends.
Parks just completed a Master Plan for the Park, what improvements would you like to see in Van Cortlandt Park in the next 20 years?
Residents of the Northwest Bronx have been waiting to see the Van Cortlandt Park pedestrian bridge project come to life since 1999. This particular project has been a priority of mine since I was on the board at FVCP. With the help of my colleagues, I am proud to say that we were able to work with the Department of Environmental Protection and the NYC Parks Department to jump-start this project and make it a reality. I am very excited to see members of the community be able to easily access both sides of Van Cortlandt Park. I am also very proud to have been able to allocate funding to build a playground near the stables for families in the area to enjoy, as the master plan called for. I would also like to see the completion of the skate park, the baseball diamonds in Indian Field and the Woodlawn dog run.