“Thank you friends!!! We appreciate the time you took to share Brook
Park with us. We were all moved by your work and thoughtfulness in
engaging and inspiring others in the community and beyond. Your work
will continue to inform and impact our next steps in planning new
Wav Hill Public Garden and Cultural Center
Good Morning Friends of Brook Park;
I just wanted to express my gratitude for yesterdays work with my scholars!! I have not seen them so excited since the start of the school year. Thank you for providing them with this opportunity and I hope to see you next week…
Javier Martinez, Urban Assembly School, Bronx
On behalf of UpBeat NYC participants, parents and staff, I would like to thank you and your organization, Friends of Brook Park, for hosting our Summer Session Concert. The event brought more than 100 community residents to celebrate the musical achievements of UpBeat’s summer session participants. The value of partnering with Friends of Brook Park to create events like this in the heart of our community cannot be overstated. There is no other place in our neighborhood providing access to the type of safe and beautiful outdoor gathering space that Friends of Brook Park provides. More importantly, the positive and welcoming environment created by you and your staff perfectly complements and enhances UpBeat’s goal of building a strong community of families and friends to support the well being of Mott Haven children. Our families were thrilled to have the event hosted at the park, and we very much look forward to partnering with you to create another event very soon! Our community is lucky to have Brook Park. Since moving into our campus , our students have had several memorable experiences due to the activities and excellent contributing members.
Liza Austria UPBEAT NYC
We are the Brilliant Bucks of M.S. 224 and we are entrepreneurs.We are very excited to have an opportunity to use the Brook Garden because it grows vegetables and fruits and healthy foods that are great for our community. It allows us to learn how to plant and grow our own foods and to learn more about nutrition and how it relates to business.
Brilliant Buck$ M.S. 224
Our community is lucky to have Brook Park. Since moving into our campus in 2008, our students have had several memorable experiences due to the activities and excellent contributing members.
Berena Cabarcas, Principal, International Community High School
The opportunity to be on the secluded waterways which cut through the internal landscape of NYC is rare and beautiful. The water, the river, is sacred, full of wild life most new yorkers are unaware they share the island with.
Also, the act of canoeing automatically creates an atmosphere of team work and camaraderie for all involved from child to adult. This simple act bonds all who share the experience, as if they shared a smiling secret.
Today I visited Brook Park and I loved being there feeling the air on
my face and tasting nutrients that are fresh and clean and from
mother nature herself.
Places like this are important because they let people stop and think
and breathe in the good nature air and take a step back to what we
have to do to keep our planet healthy and clean.
Brook Park is called Brook Park because there was/is a body of water
under all the construction that there is right now.
What I loved about this experience was that I did alot of things I
never thought I would be able to do. Like handle with logs and
decomposing. Moving concrete around and tasting sugar from a leaf.
(Stevia!) All that was new to me, and I’d love for someone else to
have an experience with places like Brook Park.
From Ninth Grader Fannely
We teachers and students at the Calhoun School in Manhattan LOVE Brook Park! We tout it to parents as one of the best trips of the year since it fully embodies our progressive ideals as a school. As one 4th grader put it to me last week, after a day full of hard work and play there, “I don’t know why, but I love Brook Park!”
Our kids appreciate the fact that this marvelous space was transformed from a vacant junk yard into the marvel that it is today. They love to do the grown-up work they are entrusted to do: chopping wood, digging with shovels, moving wheel barrows of soil, etc. They love to explore their surroundings – discover interesting rocks and find worms in the soil. They embrace what they do at Brook Park with every fiber of their beings, because they know that what they are doing there is important – that they are really improving the community and because they are having fun! They get encouragement from Harry, the director, to totally engage with nature in a way they probably never have before: to climb trees, eat the cherries, taste the collard greens and more.
On our latest trip, our 4th graders met their pen pals from a public school in the Bronx for the first time. The garden served as wonderful catalyst for interpersonal exchange, crossing over ethnic and socioeconomic borders through the shared experience of discovery and cooperation that is innate to Brook Park.
In closing, we would LOVE to see a live brook restored to Brook Park! I can’t think of a more worthy recipient for funding for this endeavor. Last year, our 4th graders had the cathartic experience of literally breaking up the urban asphalt as the first step in the process of uncovering the brook. We will be delighted to see the native water resurface!
Dear Friends of Brook Park,
Yesterday I had a lot of fun I got to hang out with my friends. Also the plants were really interesting and the vegetables growing were also really good to eat. By doing what you do, you and your team are saving the community and a lot of animals.
The tomatoes and the spicy peppers were very good. Also the scented plants smelled really good. It was very interesting because I never thought that plants that don’t have flowers have a nice smell, like the leaves that I ate which was peppermint plant.
I also liked the little fire you made for us and all the people that were going in the park. I had so much fun moving the heavy logs around and fixing them so the garden could look prettier. The garden made me feel really relaxed.
Julinda Nacaj, 7th Grade
Looking over my shoulder and watching a nearly full moon rise over the East
River was one of many special moments I
experienced when myself and nine
other friends from The Indypendent newspaper went on a late-Saturday
afternoon canoe ride. It was also a great experience for us collectively as
well– being able to step out of our normal newspaper producing drive and
share the beauty and the camaraderie of the canoe ride. Kudos again to
Friends of Brook Park for making this all possible. I would recommend it to
anybody with the slightest interest in the outdoors.
John Tarleton, NYC Indymedia
Green Team Internship Project
By Edwin Rodriguez
10th Grade, Community School for Social Justice
I was assigned to
do my internship in Brook Park. Brook Park is a
small community garden in 141st street and Brook Avenue. It is located in a
place where many Hispanics and African Americans live, which gives them the
opportunity to do as their ancestors, did and work with the great outdoors.
Whether it is making a fire, or just picking up fruits and vegetables and
eating them right there on the spot. Brook Park brings the green to the
community. It is a place where the people of the community can go and
experience the great outdoors. They are able to experience working with the
environment which is not available to them because they are surrounded by
the city. Experiences such as planting, canoeing, and starting a fire. The
supervisor at the site is Mr. Harry Bubbins. His job is to make sure that
everyone is on task, he usually assigns us our mission for the day and helps
us when the job get challenging. When he notices that we have worked hard
and accomplished our job we sit down and eat fruits, sometimes play a little
game of baseball. Just in case you think Brook Park is all work and no play.
My job at brook park is too make sure that
everything is in order,
meaning the park being cleaned and if anything is out of place I put back
were it belongs. We also plant fruits and vegetables that would grow in the
spring. My role in the park was to make the park attract new comers so that
the word can spread, and Brook Park becomes known.
When I leave Brook Park in the end of January
I will take with me
many memories and experiences. Experiences that would help me in case of
emergencies, and that I can show my friends and families. Experiences such
as staying full when food is limited by eating plants, leafs, etc. Brook
Park has changed the way I look at the world for ever. Now I am more
conscious of the earth and Mother Nature, I don¹t pollute as much as I use
to and advice others not to do it as well. The hardest challenge I had in
internship is getting my hands dirty. Getting dirty with the dirt and the
mood was real challenging because I am a real clean person and don¹t like
walk around smelling bad or looking dirty, which is how I feel after
internship. One thing I enjoyed the most about internship was going
canoeing. Canoeing was a great experience for me because I love the water
and I had never been in a canoe before. Also learning how to paddle the
canoe was interesting because there is a certain way that you have to it.
Brook park help me understand how important a garden is in a community, the
way it affected the way people interact with it. Seeing people planting and
picking up tomatoes in a garden that has a school across the street from it,
and a barbershop to the right of it, is something you don¹t see everyday.
But I get to see it every Monday.
Click to read Edwin quoted in Timeout NY Kids about Randall’s Island:
CLick to hear Edwin on the radio: www.publicradio.org (realplayer needed)
” This is the best place I ever been to… I learned about the seeds inside the sunflower.”
Sasha Figueroa, Brook Avenue
“The Leadership Program’s trainers… have included the use of
Friends of Brook Park’s facilities and programs in their activities with
the students. They have mentioned how much the visits to the park
have proved to stimulate their participation, as well as to give them
inspiration for their creative minds. We look forward to working with them on a long-term basis.”
Erika Petrelli, theleadershipprogram.com
“Thank you so much for your tour today. You were great at managing
the recalcitrant teenagers. I hope we can get the organization to have
the kids do community work at the garden–it is certainly close
enough. I think the fresh-off-the-vine veggies and the labyrinth were
a big hit. Some of the biggest whiners about going on the trip ate
the most string beans.” Maggie
“Working with and being a part of the Brook Park Community is
a blessing. The 2005 Earthday Event with over one hundred kids was a
magical experience for all involved. Love and gratitude to everyone
else who make this place so special. We look forward to the opportunities
that bring us back to Brook Park.” “Rainbow
Genesis” (Dharana Sutah), greencircus.org
“The best part of Brook Park is the flowers the way they smell
good… I even learn songs, dance. I like the special activities.”
Melody Lopez, 139th Street
“The one thing I love the most about the park is the peace walk
(Labyrinth), I can walk in it feeling sad, angry and upset. I
come out feeling like a princess.”
Shana, Brook Avenue
“I am writing to express our support for the… creation
of the Harmony Grove and Peace Walk Labyrinth project in Brook Park. This
project is the collaboration of extensive outreach and collaboration and
will serve local residents through fostering education, play, health and
will be an asset to this neighborhood in the South Bronx that has a scarcity
of open space.” Pamela Governale, ny4p.org
“Thanks to Friends of Brook Park I was illuminated immediately. I
had visited the area many times over 20 years but now found a connection,
I could feel in my feet touching the ground a rhythm. I also found
peace and friendship connections. I surely wish the ultimate
best for this space. If I lived in New York I would be there to assist
in anyway possible. I live in Montreal but you can be sure many friends
here know about Brook Park. I am waiting with strength to visit again
and of course the local Mexico juice lady PEACE HARMONY AND
UNIFICATION that’s Brook Park and South Bronx.” Matthew firstname.lastname@example.org Montreal Canada
“As a pediatrician and an expert in children’s environmental
health, I understand the importance of outdoor play and exposure tom nature.
rates of childhood obesity, hyperactivity and behavioral problems are
higher in communities that lack open space and green areas. the
children in the South Bronx are disproportionately affected by these
disorders. Therefore I believe that projects like Brook park will
help reverse the trend.”
Nathan Graber, MD, Fellow, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
“In my 50 years in Mott Haven, I’ve seen Friends of Brook Park
leads the pack of neighborhood organizations at Getting Things Done. My experiences
working with this group have enriched my life. There’s nothing like going down
to our own waterfront and exploring in a canoe!” Carol
Zakaluk, Gallerist, Grant Writer
To whom it may concern,
The Brook Park project has been very successful so far. Today, I, with a group
of teen volunteers from the Building with Books organization, worked on the
park. There were many jobs to be done including digging up the thick areas
of weeds, cleaning up garbage, protecting flowerbeds by moving huge logs
to create a border, building low walls of stone and collecting firewood.
All of these tasks were completed by volunteer work. However, there is much
work to be done on the site even now. We need the support you can provide
us with. After working so strenuously, I really feel rewarded and satisfied
with the positive changes I affected. Serving the community is truly something
that benefits everybody involved. Here you have the chance to help others,
to help us preserve the earth. Please support this project. Thank you.
To whom it may concern,
Today I participated in a project at Brook Garden located in the South Bronx.
I worked with a team of young people who are all part of a club called Building
with Books which works to build schools in third world countries. During the
day I helped remove a tree to make way for a path, moved wood chips to surround
the garden and built a shed to store gardening supplies. Other kids in the
group worked on tasks such as planting and moving rocks. At the end of the
day it was amazing to look back at the progress we had made and how much prettier
the park had become. Before the organization Friends of Brook Park began to
create the garden it was an empty lot full of trash. Now that it has been created
into a park, it brings a touch of nature and serenity to the hustle and bustle
of the city. As a high school junior who is always thinking about the future,
I am writing this letter to tell you what an asset parks like Brook park could
be to the city. Not only is it bringing nature back to the city, but they can
educate everyone on the importance of conserving nature and how they can grow
their on food. Something that if people learn about could make this world a
better place. Please give your support to friends of Brook Park because it
is an organization that can greatly improve the city.
Thank you for your consideration,
To Whom It May Concern:
Today I volunteered my time at Brook Park/ gardens in the Bronx with a few high school students. This summer we are going to Mali and Nicaragua to build school houses and this was a first experience of the actual events that we will partake in. However, today my labor has inspired me to make local citizens aware of the situation in this park, and many others in New York City. The day began when I first arrived at the garden. It was interesting to see so much green in an area of dull colors and conformity. I proceeded to move heavy logs with my fellow peers. We also raked and spread cedar seeds throughout the garden. The improvements were noticeable at once. My peers and I had an exciting time. The day ended with our group traveling through a labyrinth in which we also contemplated the activities of the day, and the impact our work will have on the community. I learned that the beautiful gardens with herbs, vegetables, trees and flowers had been a dirty empty lot only seven years before. The transformation was unbelievable. I know that it will help me throughout my life. I wish that people would continue to support this cause because many people are willing to donate their time and energy into projects such as these, but a financial foundation is necessary as well.
Thank You, peace and love,
To whom it may concern
The work my fellow teammates and I accomplished was so refreshing. Driving
on the way to get to the park we were passing convenience stores and old apartment
buildings. As Brook Park came into sight, we all knew where our destination
was. It sticks out like a magnificently sore thumb. I nor many of my teammates
expected to find such beauty and serenity in such a neighborhood. When we entered
it this morning it was a diamond in the rough but as we left, it shone brighter
than ever before. There were still sticks in the ground and rocks in piles
as we left but we all left with an unrivaled sense of accomplishment. The work
we did today made such an impact on the little garden. We moved logs and rocks,
as well as relocated mulch and woodchips. Others built new areas for vegetables
and herbs to be grown and new tool sheds. Thanks to us there are wood benches
by the fire, and borders along the plants to protect them from animals. Brook
Park has changed for the better, and thanks to our contribution, will keep
changing and become better and better.
To whom it may concern
Today I spent my day improving the Brook Garden. I moved heavy wood pieces and also several stones. While it was difficult, the out come was amazing. The flowers are all in bloom, and the trees are perfectly green. Each time people work at the garden, it gets closer and closer to ( hopefully) the beautiful outcome. There are still several jobs that must be done. This
could be greatly affected if there were more tools like wheel barrels. Difficult activities would become easier. Working at the garden, you notice many people watching you. People are amazed at how great it looks. While taking out the garbage, I talked to a woman from the neighborhood. She had great things to say about the garden, and memories of it as a vacant lot. Talking with hermade me realize what a difference we are making. I believe that Brook Garden will make a difference in the world.
June 22, 2007
From a Special Education Teacher
Thank You Friends of Brook Park for an extraordinary learning experience for my 8th grade class from MS 331. For our culminating end of the year project we addressed “How can a small group make change in the world?” Year long we looked at individuals in our lives and communities and through out history that have dedicated their lives to social change. Bringing students to Brook Park, where individuals are making a difference to create community gardens and preserve indigenous heritage we had the rare opportunity to be a part of that experience right in our own back yard of the Bronx.
Our class came together as a group to put up the park’s tipi. It was a special experience to see students support each other and work together as we chopped wood, and organized to put up the tipi. In the unique outdoor experience that our classroom became, students that often have social and behavioral challenges were able to take time to themselves and reflect quietly next to a tree. The next day I noticed a shift in certain students attitudes and I directly related this to our team building experience at Brook Park.
Thank you to the staff for your talent in leading and communicating harmony and team practices with young people. My class truly learned a lot from you and respected the process and really enjoyed the outcome that came from our time At Brook Park. I look forward to continually bringing my class for more educational experiences through Friends of Brook Park.
Special Education Teacher
MS 331, Bronx School of Science and Inquiry