Thursday, December 27, 2007

Preparations for Hamilton Grange Move Begin

A chain link fence (photos below) has been installed around the construction perimeter of the park where the Hamilton Grange will be moved into St. Nicholas Park. Preparations of the area include taking down the large trees where the house will eventually be reconstructed. Ground breaking on the area for the foundation may take place on Alexander Hamilton's Birthday - January 11th.

The National Parks Service presented their plans to the Friends and Manhattan Borough Parks Commissioner William Castro during a meeting in November and then once again during a public meeting in Shepard Hall at City College.

For the move, the Grange will be cut in half and transported from its current spot on Convent Avenue (between 141st and 142nd streets) to the area of St. Nicholas Park within the boundaries of Hamilton's original estate land. The move will take place along Hamilton Terrace and across 141st street into St. Nicholas Park.

The house move is expected to take place in the spring of 2008. Street closures are expected along Convent, Hamilton Terrance and West 141st Street for 1-2 days. The house will be transported by backing it out of its current location down to Hamilton Terrace (where a few trees might need to be removed) and across the street into St. Nicholas Park.

Once the house is moved and secured, a renovation will take place where contractors will rebuild the original porches which had to be removed in order to fit the house in its current space (between St. Luke's Church and an Apartment Building).

Landscaping around the Grange's new home will include tree plantings, a stone wall and paths. The Grange will have security detail during the day and possible video monitoring during the evening hours.

Above is a rendering of the placement of the Grange in the park. (Click to make the image larger) On the right side is the Grove School of Engineering at CCNY.

The house is expected to open to the public in the Spring of 2009.

The Friends are hard at work trying to obtain some renderings to place on this site. Please check back for updates in the next few months. For up to date photos of the Grange's move please check our Hamilton Grange Flickr photo set.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Happy Holidays from the Friends

Dear Friends,

The Friends of St. Nicholas Park wishes you and your family a safe and wonderful holiday season. We want to thank you for helping to make our beautiful park one of the city's best in 2007.

In 2008, we are planning to have a lot more events in the park including a concert series, an art fair, our yearly film festival, our fall festival, our holiday tree lighting event, and our monthly
Coffee Bark at the St. Nick's Dog Run.

Of course we can't do it without your help.

This holiday season, for a donation of $10 or more, the Friends of St. Nicholas Park will be writing a personalized message from you or your family on an ornament and hang it on our tree. Your donation helps us produce these fun-filled events as well as keep St. Nicholas Park safe and beautiful. A donation of $250 or more is deductible on your 2007 taxes!

Click below to download the PDF. Fill it in with all the information and send to the Friends of St. Nicholas Park and we'll get your ornament up on the tree.

The tree will be up until after the New Year, so New Year's wishes are welcomed as well.

Happy Holidays and we'll see you in the park!

The Friends of St. Nicholas Park

Friday, December 07, 2007

Tree lighting brings out Harlem's Brightest!

Last night, the Friends of St. Nicholas Park hosted their Annual Tree Lighting at the park's 135th Street Plaza.

William Mullin of the Friends MC'd the evening, and introduced the crowd to the Friends' tree ornament fundraiser. For as little as $10, an ornament with your personalized message will be hung on the park's impressive tree. Click below to fill out the form to have your message or family name displayed in vivid color on St. Nick's Tree.

The Dorothy Maynor singers from the Harlem School of the Arts and the St. Mark's Church Choir started off the entertainment and delighted the crowd with their carol singing. Then, after the countdown, Councilwoman Inez Dickens helped flip the switch to ignite the 15-foot-tall spruce tree. She had help from Linda Guy, who works in Senator Bill Perkins' office, and TV Star Tamara Tunie.

The brilliantly lit tree provided the perfect backdrop for Tamara Tunie to deliver her highly entertaining and theatrical rendition of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. Her voice and charm literally stopped traffic on St. Nicholas Avenue, where the street became as quiet as a Norman Rockwell painting. Then, with help from others, she launched us all into jovial caroling for the big finale of the night.

Despite the chill in the evening air, the gathering of about 40 neighborhood residents were also kept warm with constant flow of hot apple cider and hot chocolate provided by the Friends. The beverages were prepared with the help of St. Mark's Church and some of "Harv's Kids" made sure the hot stuff reached it's destination in the park, in their usual generous style. Without their help these events could not happen.

Click below to view all the photos from last night.

A special thanks to the following people who made this event possible.

Sarah Fort and Partnership for Parks
Park Manager Sal Trento
St. Mark's Church Board Member Ronald Guy
Risa Rottenberg
Laura Iorio
Julia Granaki
Jehanne Catalano
Philip Spletzer

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Friends Annual Tree Lighting this Thursday 5:30-7pm

This Thursday Dec. 6th from 5:30-7pm the Friends will be hosting our Annual Holiday Tree Lighting at the 135th Street Plaza in St. Nicholas Park. This year, Tamara Tunie - star of TV's Law and Order SVU will recite 'Twas the Night Before Christmas (also known as "A Visit from St. Nicholas"). Also performing will be a choir from the Harlem School for the Arts and a Chorus from St. Mark's United Methodist Church.

Thursday, December 6th marks St. Nicholas Day. This day marks a popular day in Germany where children had left a boot or stockings out for St. Nick to fill with goodies. The day is still practiced among German neighborhoods in the US.

Hot Chocolate and Apple Cider will be served at the event.

This year the Friends are also giving everyone who donates $10 or more to the group an opportunity to have a personalized message written on an ornament and hung on their tree. For more information click here.

Friends Announce Personalized Ornaments for 2007 Holiday Tree!

For the 2007 Holidays, the Friends of St. Nicholas will create a personalized tree ornaments to hang on their tree in the 135th Street Plaza for a donation as little as $10 to their group.

To participate, click below to download the PDF. Fill it in with all the information and send to the Friends of St. Nicholas Park and we'll get your ornament up on our tree.

The tree will be up until just after the New Year, so New Year's wishes are welcomed as well.


This form requires Adobe Acrobat Reader - a free program. Click to download it.

If you have any questions please contact us at

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at Coffee Bark Enjoyed by All

[UPDATED] Click above to view video selects of the Dog Run Ribbon Cutting with New York City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe.

Yesterday, the Commissioner of Parks, Adrian Benepe commemorated the 1 year anniversary our of St. Nick's Dog Run by acknowledging the hard work of the Friends of St. Nicholas Park in a ribbon cutting during the St. Nick's Dog Run Coffee Bark.

Joining Commissioner Benepe where Manhattan Park Commissioner William Castro, Martin Smith, Director of Constituent Services for Councilman Robert Jackson and Patricia Jones, the 2nd Vice Chair of Community Board 9.

Over 50 Friends of St. Nicholas Dog Owners took part in the ceremony as well as student from the Kipp Star School who were volunteering yesterday to help plant with our gardener Scott Farrington.

The Friends would like to thank the ongoing support and hard work of everyone who makes our Monthly Coffee Bark so special including:

Julia Granaki
Vaneik Escheverra
Josh Greenberg
Diva Goodfriend-Koven
Michael Tosi
Jehanne Piper
Corey and his son Darius
Sophie and Jason (and Ginger!)

Photos of the event can be found by clicking the link below

Our monthly Coffee Bark will start back up in the first Saturday of April. Saturday April 5th from 9-11am.

Thanks again to everyone and we'll see you in the Dog Run!

William Mullin
Friends of St. Nicholas Park

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ribbon Cutting Celebrating Dog Run to take place this Saturday, Dec 1st at our Coffee Bark!


This Saturday, December 1st during our Coffee Bark (9-11am), the Commissioner of Parks will be on hand to cut a ribbon celebrating the 1st anniversary of St. Nick's Dog Run. Please spread the word and come enjoy free coffee, donuts and socialize with dog owners and our elected officials.

Even if you don't have a dog and would like to celebrate this great addition to our park and learn about the Friends organization, please come help us celebrate!

St. Nick's Dog Park is located between 136th/137th Streets in the middle of the park. Take the 137th Street staircase up and take aright to find our run! Or walk up the 135th street staircase to the top, take a right and walk around the bend to find the entrance!

Thanks and see you on Saturday!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Coffee Bark Takes Place this Saturday, Dec 1st from 9-11am

Dear Friends,

This Saturday, December 1st from 9am-11am we'll be having our monthly Coffee Bark at St. Nick's Dog Park. This will be the last Coffee Bark until April! Be sure to try to make it and wish everyone a happy holiday.

Coffee Barks take place on the first Saturday of every month. This social event allows us to get to know one another as well as address dog park issues and discuss future endeavors in St. Nick's Dog Park and St. Nicholas Park. Free coffee, donuts and other refreshments will be served.


We'll be collecting donations to Friends of St. Nicholas Park at the Coffee Bark. Your donation helps the group maintain the dog park as well as host our yearly events for the community including the Fall Festival, Easter Festival and our Holiday Tree Lighting. Your donation is tax deductible. For all check donations of $250 or more, City Parks Foundation will mail you an acknowledgment letter as required by law.

We cannot accept cash. Please bring a check.

Step 1: Write a check made out to: City Parks Foundation. In the memo of the check be sure to write "Friends of St. Nicholas Park"

Step 2: Bring your check along with a cover letter describing your donation to St. Nicholas Park in an envelope. We'll take care of the rest!

Or donate online.

You can also donate by credit card by following the instruction below:

Step 1: Click here to go to the City Parks Foundation Donation home page

Step 2: Fill out the online form by follow the directions. This form is secure and from a trusted non-profit corporation.

Step 3: Make sure you fill in the 'Designation' field by typing in "Friends of St. Nicholas Park". If you don't, your contribution does not go to our park.

Hope you can make it and of course please bring your dog!

If you have any questions or would like to volunteer or bring donuts or coffee at The Coffee Bark please email us at


Friends of St. Nicholas Park

Monday, November 26, 2007

St. Nicholas Park Annual Holiday Tree Lighting to feature Tamara Tunie, star of TV’s Law & Order SVU

The Friends of St. Nicholas Park will be presenting its Annual Holiday Tree Lighting on Thursday, December 6th from 5:30-7pm in the St. Nicholas Park Plaza located at 135th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue. This year’s event will feature Tamara Tunie, star of TV’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, reading the famed holiday poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Other festivities will include musical performances from Harlem School for the Arts and St. Mark’s United Methodist Church. Hot chocolate and hot apple cider will be served.

An accomplished actor and producer, Tamara Tunie is best known for her work as lawyer Jessica Griffin McKechnie Harris on the soap opera As the World Turns. She is best known to nighttime audiences for her roles on detective crime dramas. She played the recurring role of Lillian Fancy on NYPD Blue from 1994 to 1997, and has played Medical Examiner, Dr. Melinda Warner on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit since 2000. Tunie has also produced the Tony Award-winning Broadway production, Spring Awakening and August Wilson’s RADIO GOLF. Tamara and her husband, Jazz singer Gregory Generet, live in the historic Hamilton Heights district and are members of the Friends of St. Nicholas Park.

About St. Nicholas Park
Created in 1895, St. Nicholas Park was built on a rugged mass of rock, following the steep and irregular topography of northern Manhattan from 128th street to 141st street. The development of the park and the completion of the elevated rapid transit line made this area of Harlem a fashionable residential district at the turn of the century.

The name for the park was taken from the adjacent Harlem streets, St. Nicholas Terrace (to the west) and St. Nicholas Avenue (to the east). These streets honor New Amsterdam’s patron saint, whose image adorned the figurehead of the New Netherland that brought the first Dutch colonists to these shores. St. Nicholas of Myra is also known as the patron saint of children, sailors, bankers, pawnbrokers, travelers, and captives, as well as the inspiration for Father Christmas or Santa Claus.

Today, the 23 acre park has several basketball courts, handball courts, playgrounds, BBQ areas and a newly opened dog run. In the Spring of 2008, St. Nicholas Park will become the new home of the Hamilton Grange, Alexander Hamilton’s historic farmhouse.

About The Friends of St. Nicholas Park
The Friends of St. Nicholas Park is a coalition of residents and community-based organizations, working together to revitalize our neighborhood’s natural resource. We advocate an increase in programming, beautification projects, and safety in our 23 acre park. With the help of the New York City Parks Department and many neighborhood groups, including St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, Community Board 9, the YMCA’S Jackie Robinson Youth Center, the Hamilton Heights Homeowners Association, and the Historic Harlem Parks Coalition (HHPC), we strive to achieve these goals. In addition to the Annual Tree Lighting, the Friends sponsor the Historic Harlem Parks Film Festival as well as a Fall Festival, Easter Festival and a monthly Coffee Bark at the St. Nick’s Dog Park.

More information about the group can be found at

Monday, November 19, 2007


Hey Everyone.

I was talking to my upstairs neighbor on Saturday afternoon and she told me that she was mugged at gunpoint on Friday near the park.

About 9:45 on Friday, she said she came out of the 137th street exit for the B/C and started walking towards Fred Doug when someone came up behind her and pushed her up against the wall of St. Marks Church and pointed a gun at her. He demanded money and than grabbed her purse and the took off across St. Nicholas into the park. She said the police were there within 2 minutes when she called and they began searching the park for the mugger. I am not sure if they found him because she couldn't really describe him that well, only that he looked really young, possibly no older than 15.

This time of year when it gets dark earlier it is very important to be aware of your surroundings in the park. For starters, I very rarely use the 137th street exit at night because it is not that well lit and there is less foot traffic there than at the 135th st exit which is always busy. Also if something like this ever happens to any of you, and I hope it doesn't, try and pick out some characteristic that will help the police, maybe a brand of jacket or shoes or if there is a weapon involved possibly the type. Anything descriptive will help.

If don't see you have a great Thanksgiving. Gobble Gobble.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Monthly Meeting Minutes from Tuesday, November 13th

Below are notes from our monthly meeting last week. The Friends of St. Nicholas Park hold their monthly membership meetings on the Second Tuesday of every month at the St. Mark's United Methodist Church at 55 Edgecombe Avenue. Please email us at if you have any questions or would like to volunteer for our events.

Monthly Meeting Tuesday, November 13th


Maxine Billingsley
Arlene Wilcox
Judy Williams
Laura Iorio
William Mullin
Risa Rottenberg
Ronald Guy
Sarah Fort
Jehanne Catalano

Tree Lighting

- Tree lighting is Thursday, December 6th from 5:30-7pm.
- Laura and Josh (who wasn't at the meeting) have offered to come to the church to prepare the hot chocolate and apple cider in the church's kitchen before the event. It was agree that they should meet around 4:30/5pm at the church.
- Info from Julia about donations from Make My Cake last year - cookies may be needed for event.
- Shawn's secret recipe for the hot chocolate. William to ask for this.
- William will ask Diva Goodfriend for use of her table at the event.
- Arlene and Maxine said they might be able to help out for the event. They will let the group know when we get closer to the event.
- Harv said he could bring a few of his kids to the event to help out.
- We discussed confirmation from HSA about student brass instrument performers for the tree lighting. Jehanne will follow-up on William's request.
- Risa mentioned the Afro-Cuban jazz band and the possibility of their playing at the event. Risa to follow-up with contact and let them know that it would be a 30 minute set.
- Ron Guy will try to engage some of the brass players in the church who have been featured in concerts at the church before.
- Sarah will check with parks about a microphone and amplifier for the event. She notes that this may need a special sound permit from the Police Precinct.
- Sarah will also check on a ceremonial switch so the lighting of the tree can be a special moment within the event.
- Sarah noted that event needs to take place in the plaza since the permit covers an event only in the park not on the sidewalks. Lighting has been difficult in previous years and group brainstormed on ideas to bring more light to the plaza during this time.
- Sarah to check on possible platform for the event where performers and speakers could stand.
- Since Josh has fancy new camera he will be our photographer for the event (hope this is okay with you Josh).
- Press for the event - we didn't speak a lot about this but was wondering if anyone had press contacts (Ron?) we can let know about the event. If needed William can draft a quick press release.
- Group agreed that another meeting may be needed before event to finalize plan.

Download link for PDF of flyer - please print and hang where you can!

Tree lighting fund raising initiative

- It was discussed that the tree lighting would be a great time to fund raise. Using Jackie Robinson model, the group do mailing to area zip codes for donations toward tree lighting and donor gets a personalized ornament.
- Sarah has said Partnership for Parks graphic designer is busy. William volunteered graphic layout of mailing.
- Risa brought examples of laminated round tags that are weather-proof. The group agreed on the round 3 inch diameter tag for ornament use. She will investigate whether we can order various colors.

Hamilton Grange Meeting

- Sarah let the group know that a representative from the National Parks Service will be presenting plans for the Hamilton Grange at the next operations meeting. She has asked the Friends to announce this to their group. [UPDATE] - Sarah has informed the group that perhaps there should be another venue for a larger presentation to the Friends group. Risa and William will determine after presentation at Operations meeting.

- Risa has stated that Steve Simon asked her to delay reaching out to come of the contractors involved. The group will be able to get info from the National Parks Service at their presentation at the operations meeting.

- Risa will be in charge of requesting materials and information about the move for the Friends. William will post on website in special section and keep group informed of meeting via e-mails, etc.

Other Notes

-Judy William said she was involved in a senior group who does outreach for the community and is active in trying to keep the area clean etc.Risa proposed having Harv's kids worked with this group as a mentoring pair where they can help out, etc.

- Friends to follow-up with Commissioner on meeting that Harv, Risa and Ron attended with Commissioner. Finding a solution to an area where Harv's kids can go that they can call their own.

Next Friends Meeting

- The next Friends meeting is scheduled for December 11th from 7pm-9pm. Ron confirmed that use of the church should not be a problem.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Monthly Meeting this Tuesday, November 13th 7-9pm

Dear Friends,

This Tuesday, November 13th, from 7pm-9pm, we will have a our Monthly Meeting at St. Mark's United Methodist Church located at 55 Edgecombe Ave. at the intersection of Edgecombe and St. Nicholas Ave. (Across from the park).

We will be discussing types of events we should host for 2008, grant writing for the group as well as finalizing our volunteers and to-do's for our Holiday Tree Lighting next month. If you have any ideas for our events in St. Nicholas Park, or questions about our organization and please feel free to bring a friend and spread the word.

Thanks and see you Tuesday evening at St. Mark's Church. If you have any questions please email us at

Friends of St. Nicholas Park

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Coffee helps warm the chills at November's Bark

Fall finally arrived and it was felt by everyone yesterday. Luckily the Coffee Bark had some warm coffee donated by Mike Tosi and Shawn Milligan and some donuts from the group as well. Jason - "Scooby's Daddy" - provided some nourishment to the group by bringing some homemade chocolate cake in the shape of doggy poo logs (hilarious!). Needless to say, we certainly cleaned them up! Some new dogs and their "parents" were also welcomed by the group yesterday.

Our next Coffee Bark is scheduled for Saturday, December 1st. Hope to see everyone there! Below are some more photos of the event. Good luck to Rosie (Mel's Mom) who is due to give birth any day now! And good luck to one of St. Nick Dog Run's founders Shawn Milligan, who leaves us in a few weeks for Seattle. We will greatly miss him and his dog Axel!

Rosie (Mel's Mommie) poses with Christine (left) and shows off her little baby belly. We all wish Rosie (and Palo) a healthy delivery and look forward to meeting the baby!

A long shot from the Run's picnic table.

Shawn Milligan (left) poses with William Mullin. Yesterday was Shawn's last Coffee Bark before moving to Seattle. Good luck Shawn!

Fall Fest 2007

Happy Fall Everyone!

Yesterday, the Friends of St. Nicholas Park held our annual Fall Festival and despite the chilly temperatures and the last minute change of location, we had a very enthusiastic turn out. The social hall at St. Marks United Methodist church was filled with members of the local community looking for an afternoon of Fall Fun despite the threat of rain. There was pumpkin decorating, face painting, performances by students from The Harlem School of the Arts, a visit from the Manhattan Parks Commissioner and plenty of cupcakes and cider for everyone. We even had an exciting raffle with a dinner at Dinosaur Barbecue as the prize.

The Friends would like to thank everyone that attended the Fall Fest and helped to make it a success but we would especially like to thank the following people:

For those of you who were not able to attend here is what you missed:

Commissioner Castro speaking

Face Painting


Yummy Cupcakes

Hot Cider

Our next event will be in December for our Holiday Tree Lighting on the Plaza. See you all there.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


Because of the showers in the area, we will be moving our fall festival indoors. The festival will take place from 2-4 at St. Mark's United Methodist Church. The church is located at 55 Edgecombe Avenue at the intersection of Edgecombe and St. Nicholas Avenues. It is directly across from St. Nicholas Park.

We will have all our activities except of course, some of the games we had planned to play on the lawn. Hope to see you there!

Monday, October 29, 2007

This Saturday, 2 Great Free Events!!! Fall Festival and Coffee Bark

Dear Friends,

This Saturday is full of fun in St. Nicholas Park! In the morning from 9am-11am we have our monthly coffee bark at the St. Nick's Dog Park and from 2-4pm we will be hosting our annual Fall Festival. Both events are free and our Fall Festival is one of the highlights of our year. Below is more info. Hope to see you there!


Come to the dog park between 9am-11am! Coffee Barks take place on the first Saturday of every month. This social event allows us to get to know one another as well as address dog park issues and discuss future endeavors in St. Nick's Dog Park and St. Nicholas Park.

Free coffee, donuts and other refreshments will be served.


Join the Friends for our annual Fall Festival on the St. Nicholas Park Plaza and Great Lawn. This year, the festival will be held on Saturday, November 3rd from 2pm-4pm.

We'll have face-painting, pumpkin painting, arts and crafts, story-telling, hot cider and cookies.

***Special Performances this year include singing and dance from Harlem School for the Arts!***


We need volunteers to help organize and help on event day! If you are interested in volunteering for the event, please contact us at

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Summary from October Commissioner Meeting

The Friends of St. Nicholas Park participated in our monthly Commissioner Meeting for St. Nicholas Park last week. It was the first time the St. Nicholas Park team (which includes Police Precinct reps, Commissioner and his staff, City College, Friends of St. Nicholas Park, and other community leaders) has met since last June. There were lots of issues the Friends' representatives brought up to the Commissioner and his staff. There were issues that members of our group had brought to our attention during the Friends' Monthly Meeting. The notes from the meeting are below but can also be downloaded via PDF by clicking below.

St. Nicholas Park Monthly Operations Meeting (in PDF)

Monthly Operations Meeting (October)
Friday, October 26, 2007

William Castro, Manhattan Commissioner of Park
Steve Simon, Chief of Staff
Sal Trento, St. Nicholas Park Manager
Captain McCants, PEP Officer
Officer Harper, 26th Precinct Officer
Robert Santos, Director of Development, City College
Pat Morena, Director of Security, City College
William Mullin, Friends of St. Nicholas Park
Risa Rottenberg, Friends of St. Nicholas Park
Sarah Fort, Partnership for parks
Barbara Allen, Parks and Recreation

Manager's Report - Sal Trento


Manager has recorded a total of 10 lights out in the Park which will be reported and work orders submitted to fix.

7 lights are out on the Upper Path
2 lights are out in the plaza
1 light is out on the 141st street entrance

Friends representative William Mullin noted another light our along 135th street staircase that is used to illuminate the dog park. Now that it is getting dark earlier, William asked if this light could be repaired for dog owners feel safer in the dog park during the early evening.


One troubled homeless individual called "Ma" refuses treatment or help and leaves belongings outside buildings and around the park. The park staff tries to remove trash and belongings in the way of park users and are occasionally threatened by drug dealers who protect her things.

Commissioner states the precinct should be called if any workers are threatened.

On the north park of the park, Hispanic day laborers are sleeping on a rock outcrop and leaving garbage after they spend a night there. The park manager will look into this and PEP will try to find them services, since the rule is no one in the park after 10pm.


A few incidents have been reported where the chess players are gambling and playing cards for money. The parks have reprimanded them a few times. Also fights have broken out among the players. PEP (Parks Enforcement Patrol) and Precinct should become more involved in handling these situations.

Chess players are not leaving the area during night when the park closes. They remain well after 10pm and state to PEP or Parks staff that they have been granted a courtesy to stay after 10pm since they have been there 20 years. Commissioner said no such courtesy exists since it would set a precedent of preference. Commissioner reiterated that the chess players need to follow the park's rule just like everyone else.

PEP Report - Captain McCants

In addition to continuing to ticket off-leash dog during on-leash hours (9am-9pm), PEP has stepped up their patrol of giving summons to dog owners not picking up their dog's waste. All parks participated in a canine waste summit where PEP has been tasked with focusing on issuing summons for neglect of picking up after a dog.


PEP has begun "sweeps" of the parks in order to assure no one is in the park after 10pm. 2- 3 officers start at one end and walk to the other end and give summons for anyone in the park after 10pm. So far, only mischievous kids, alcohol, drug use has been found. Some homeless also found and given services (Bowery called) if they accept.

Plans are to increase enforcement in the parks during the evening hours. Commissioner suggested that perhaps the auxiliary police officers be tasked with helping with this initiative. City College Security Head, Pat Morena and 26th Precinct Officer Harper are to meet to discuss how both can contribute in decreasing crime in St. Nicholas Park.

Police Report - Officer Harper


Officer Harper from the 26th Precinct reported that for the 28 day period from September 24th to October 21st there has been a total of 3 robberies in St. Nicholas Park.

Location of robberies

October 2nd at 7:35 pm 1 at 135th street and St. Nick Avenue
October 17th 1 at St. Nicholas Terrace at the 135th street entrance to the park
October 19th 1 in St. Nicholas Park on the 135th street staircase.

2 arrests have been made related to the robberies described above.

Year to date, for all crimes the park is down 39% of all crimes from last year.

Year to date in or near park:

8 Grand Larcenies
5 Assaults
3 Burglaries
23 Robberies
0 Murders

Concerning the troubled area of 135th street and St. Nicholas Terrace, City College Director of Development Robert Santos proposed mounting a security camera to film the area. Even a sign letting people know they are being filmed may deter crime in that location.

Capital Project Report - Steve Simon, Commissioner Chief of Staff

Steve Simon reported on 5 projects that will be beginning either this fall or next year. Friends requested scopes for all these projects in order to let park users know what is going on.

Beginning November 2007 - Upper Path Reconstruction 134th-138th streets - this is construction of needed drainage and addressing sink hole issues in surrounding area. Rehabilitation will also include paving the section of pathway near the dog run, which currently can get muddy and police cars and service trucks get stuck.

Friends of St. Nicholas Park wanted to confirm inclusion of a water link to the dog run during this project. Steve Simon reported that they are having a hard time finding a source of water to bring to to the run. Commissioner Castro said it should not be that hard and the Parks will issues a scope change for the project to make sure it happens. Friends member has followed up with Steve Simon to see if there was anything the Friends members could do to make this happen.

Beginning March 2008 - Upper Path Reconstruction 131st - 134th streets - this is a construction and rehabilitation of the Upper Path to address drainage issues as well as pave over a section of path that is currently dirt.

Beginning March 2008 - Resurfacing of 140th St. Basketball Courts - this resurfacing was scheduled for this Summer, but the Friends expressed concern about having the courts shut down during a peak seasonal time, especially when some tournaments were scheduled to take place at that time. The resurfacing was put off until next spring and Parks assures the courts will be ready for the summer season.

Beginning Spring 2008 - 132nd to 135th Lower Path Rehabilitation - rehabilitating the path and addressing drainage issues, as well as landscaping around the area.

Beginning Summer 2008 - 130th to 137th street sidewalk repair along St. Nicholas Terrace. Although slated to start earlier this project which will be managed by the DOT (Department of Transportation) is confirmed for next year. Risa Rottenberg has requested that scope include all the way to 139th street since the sidewalks are a mess there as well. The Commissioner said that they will make a request to extend the work 2 blocks north to 139th street.

Hamilton Grange Update - Steve Simon

The relocation of Hamilton Grange into St. Nicholas Park. Funding has been confirmed and contractors have been chosen for work on moving the Historic Hamilton Grange into St. Nicholas Park. This is confirmed to happen as early as Spring 2008. Recently, trees have been tagged for taking down and stakes in the ground outline the proposed site of the house. The contractors have determined to move the house along Hamilton Terrace to the park. More trees may have to be removed to make this happen.

Friends have requested materials, information and a schedule to keep our members informed. Steve Simon said he will try to get as much information as possible. Friends member Risa Rottenberg will be our liaison to the Hamilton Grange Contractors for information about the move. Risa is a trained architect and has experience working with contractors in her field.

City College Report - Robert Santos/Pat Morena

Pat Morena was introduced to the group. He is the head of security at City College. He shared some ideas on how to make St. Nicholas park safer for City College students. He is going to work with Officer Harper of the 26th precinct and PEP officers to help enforce park rules better and patrol during the night.

Robert Santos shared with the group a project that will turn the roof of the administration building into a deck for students that overlooks St. Nicholas Park. This will help lessen the barrier that exists between City College Campus and the park. The group agreed they still have more to do in order to change to mindset of the park being a dangerous place to go into. Steve Simon pointed out a positive article about the park in the City College Student newspaper that also mentioned that students should definitely keep out during the night.

Friends Report - William Mullin and Risa Rottenberg

Friends presented print outs of areas around the park that needed attention. These included:

- Railing on 140th street staircase
- Iron Fence on 141st street
- Iron Fence on St. Nicholas Terrace
- Garbage and contractor debris at Hamilton Terrace, 141st street corner.
- Temporary Fencing in middle of path between 139th and 138th street


William asked how the Friends can engage parks to request some of the trees in the Mayor's MillionTreeNYC initiative. Commissioner and Sarah Fort agreed that the Friends should survey the areas and tree pits most needing trees and send to Sarah Fort to pass on. Risa Rottenberg and William Mullin to engage the Friends to walk the park and record empty/damaged tree pits.


Friends expressed an interest back in June in holding a ribbon-cutting for the dog run. Parks has not had time to address and suggested perhaps a one year anniversary celebration for the ribbon-cutting. Steve Simon suggested during one of the Coffee Barks they can have the Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe cut a ribbon and thank the community for creating the Dog park.

Commissioner Castro said that next weekend may even be better since the weather would be warmer and the Friends have the fall Festival in the afternoon. Friends to resend materials to Steve Simon and schedule a time for the cutting.


Friends mentioned the proposal to have a full orchestra perform in St. Nicholas Park next summer. This is costly and Friends asked if it could be park of the City Park's Foundation schedule of events. Sarah Fort will look into the possibilities. Friends will try to obtain as much info as possible about the orchestra for Steve Simon and Sarah Fort.


Friends recently met with Harv (last name?) and Ron Guy of St. Mark's United Methodist Church and they expressed an interest in programming for teens the park or establishing a structure where teems could go and hang out with their friends. Something like a recreation center. Commissioner Castro said he would be happy to discuss with Ron Guy. Friends member Risa Rottenberg has set up a meeting for the Friends, Ron Guy and the Commissioner to brainstorm ideas.

Partnership for Parks Update - Sarah Fort, Outreach Coordinator

Sarah let the Friends know of a group from City College who is interested in volunteering more for the park. The group information will be given to William and the Friends will contact the group with any volunteers opportunities Scott Farrington has.


Sarah said that Ann Leford, graphic designer, could revise the St. Nick Park Brochure since copies are running low. Friends to look at revising and communicating changes to Partnership for Parks.

Next Meeting

Next meeting was agreed to. It will take place on Thursday, November 29th at 9 a.m. Location to be determined but preference is City College.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

It's My Park! Day brings out Community Volunteers!

Yesterday, the Friends of St. Nicholas Park and the New York City Parks and Recreations Department hosted the annual It's My Park! Day in St. Nicholas Park. The day included 20 students from the KIPP STAR College Prep Charter School. A special thanks to Rai Bolden for bringing her students to prepare the Park for Spring.

We also saw an additional 20 volunteers from the community come out and help plant daffodil bulbs, scrubs, and a tree in the park. The tree is the first of many that will arrive in St. Nicholas Park and other city parks as part of Mayor Bloomberg's Million Trees Initiative. Click on the website and see how you can make a difference in your neighborhood by requesting street trees.

The Friends would like to thanks our Gardener Scott Farrington, our Partnership for Parks outreach coordinator Sarah Forte, our Park Manager Sal Trento and our Park Supervisor Chester Heald for helping make this day such as success for our park. And of course all the volunteers who came out and worked hard. Thank You!

Below are photos of some of the work and volunteers from yesterday's event.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

ITS MY PARK! DAY this Saturday, October 20th

Our semi-annual Its My Park Day devotes a whole day of volunteer activities in St. Nicholas Park. Be sure to bring work clothes and gloves. Some activities include cleaning up litter in the park, raking, mulching, planting bulbs and tree care, painting benches, fencing, park houses, and comfort stations throughout playgrounds and parks.

Free knapsacks to all participants who come and volunteer!

Sat, Oct 20, 11am - 4pm

WHAT TO WEAR OR BRING: Work clothes and gloves (although gloves will be provided if you do not have them)

MORE INFO: We need lots of volunteers. Please tell all you friends and download the flyers here (in Spanish and English). Please contact us at if you have any questions.

Download English and Spanish Flyers Here

Monday, October 08, 2007

Monthly Member Meeting this Tuesday, October 9th from 7-9pm

Dear Friends,

This Tuesday, October 9th, from 7pm-9pm, we will have a our Monthly Meeting at St. Mark's United Methodist Church located at 55 Edgecombe Ave. at the intersection of Edgecombe and St. Nicholas Ave. (Across from the park). Click here for a map.

We will be finalizing to-do's for our events for the rest of 2007. Please come with any ideas you have for our events in St. Nicholas Park, questions about our organization and please feel free to bring a friend and spread the word. Below is a rough agenda of what we'll be discussing.

1. It's My Park Day
- What is needed, etc.
2. Annual Fall Festival and Holiday Tree Lighting.
- Final to-do's and update.
3. Issues for the Monthly Commissioner Meeting.
4. Dog run issues and event planning.
5. Fund raising for the group.

Thanks and see you Tuesday evening at St. Mark's Church. If you have any questions please email us at

Friends of St. Nicholas Park

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Coffee Bark Welcomes New Dogs to St. Nick's Dog Run

Another successful coffee bark welcomed a couple of new pups to the St. Nick's Dog Run family. Linnea, a Shepard and pit bull mix and Christmas who is a Lab mix had a great time running and playing in the run while their owners enjoyed coffee and donuts. Over 20 owners and their dogs came out to usher in the Fall, although it felt more like July.

Special thanks to all the members who pitched in and brought donuts, coffee, tables, cups, etc.

Photos and captions are below. The next St. Nick's Dog Park Coffee Bark takes place on Saturday, November 3rd from 9-11am. See you there!

Dog owners enjoying the unseasonably warm weather and coffee and donuts at St. Nick's Dog Park

Darius enjoying the donuts at the Coffee Bark Saturday morning. (Bella and Willow in the background!)

Guffman on the lookout for crumbs and if anyone is giving away treats!

A pretty popular place on Saturday mornings!

Shawn with new dog run member Linnea!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Harlem River Boat Club Learn How To Row Classes to Begin!

So you wanna learn how to row? Now's your chance!

The Harlem River Boat Club is taking advantage of the gorgeous fall season by rolling out its learn-to-row program with a limited number of spots for new rowers. We have the boats, the coaches, the equipment...all we need is you. New rowers will get 20+ hours of training in the following fundamentals:

· basic understanding of boating rules and safety procedures

· working knowledge of rowing commands

· basic proficiency in sculling with some sweep rowing

· essential river etiquette and rules

· steering commands for bowing and coxing

You don't need to be an athlete, tall, or extraordinarily fit to participate. Classes accommodate people at most fitness levels and ages. It's mandatory for safety reasons, however, that you are a strong swimmer.


There are two sessions available, both running concurrently from October 6 through November 3.

Session 1: Saturdays (8–11 am) and Tuesday evenings (5:30–7:30 pm)

*first weekend is both Saturday AND Sunday

Session 2: Sundays (8–11 am) and Thursday evenings (5:30–7:30 pm)

*first weekend is both Saturday AND Sunday, last class is a Saturday

It's extremely important that you're available for ALL classes in your session, as skills are cumulative. Please contact us with scheduling concerns. Weekday evening classes may be pushed back to 6pm if there is sufficient demand.


Calendar clear? Reserve your spot in class by emailing Kate, the LTR coordinator, at to indicate your interest in session 1 or 2. A signed waiver and payment must be received before your place in class is confirmed. It's first come, first served, but if you don't nab a spot, we'll put you on the wait list in case someone drops out before class begins. After that, we'll keep you posted on next season's learn-to-row schedule.


$150 (reduced fees are available for participants who qualify) Sorry, no refunds once classes start!


Practice takes place on the Harlem River at Roberto Clemente State Park, Bronx. The Park is accessible by the 4 Train, MetroNorth (Morris Heights station) and the Bx40, Bx42 and Bx 18 buses.


Email Kate at

Monday, October 01, 2007

Coffee Bark this Saturday, October 6th in St. Nick's Dog Park

Dear Friends,

This Saturday, October 6th from 9am-11am we'll be having our monthly Coffee Bark at St. Nick's Dog Park.

Coffee Barks take place on the first Saturday of every month. This social event allows us to get to know one another as well as address dog park issues and discuss future endeavors in St. Nick's Dog Park and St. Nicholas Park.

Free coffee, donuts and other refreshments will be served.


We'll be collecting donations to Friends of St. Nicholas Park at the Coffee Bark. Your donation helps the group maintain the dog park as well as host our yearly events for the community including the Fall Festival, Easter Festival and our Holiday Tree Lighting. Your donation is tax deductible. For all check donations of $250 or more, City Parks Foundation will mail you an acknowledgment letter as required by law.

We cannot accept cash. Please bring a check.

Step 1: Write a check made out to: City Parks Foundation

In the memo of the check be sure to write "Friends of St. Nicholas Park"

Step 2: Bring your check along with a cover letter describing your donation to St. Nicholas Park in an envelope. We'll take care of the rest!

Or donate online.

You can also donate by credit card by following the instruction below:

Step 1: Click here to go to the City Parks Foundation Donation home page
Step 2: Fill out the online form by follow the directions. This form is secure and from a trusted non-profit corporation.
Step 3: Make sure you fill in the 'Designation' field by typing in "Friends of St. Nicholas Park". If you don't, your contribution does not go to our park.

Hope you can make it and of course please bring your dog! If you have any questions or would like to volunteer at The Coffee Bark please email us at


Friends of St. Nicholas Park

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Volunteers from St. John's University Make Dog Park Clean-Up Day a Barking Success!

Today, over 15 volunteers from the Friends of St. Nicholas Park along volunteers from Beta Alpha Psi at St. John's University (pictured above) helped clean-up and beautify the St. Nick's Dog Park. We picked up litter and glass, create mesa steps, weeded along the fence, spread woodchips and installed additional seating for dog park users.

Special thank you for Partnership for Parks for bringing additional volunteers from Beta Alpha Psi at St. John's University led by their Community Service Chair Amanda Sanseverino.

Other thanks to Chet Heald, one of St. Nicholas Park's managers, for providing us with tools, dirt and woodchips for us to clean-up ad repair our dog park with. Mike for bringing the coffee, Corey and his son Darius for working at the speed of light and keeping everyone on their toes!

We organize the clean-up days 4 times a year to help maintain the dog park and keep it clean. Our next clean-up day will be in December or January. We'll let you know when the next one is.

Working hard spreading fresh woodchips during the clean-up day today.

What we work so hard for - a typical morning at the St. Nick's Dog Park

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Dog Park Clean-up Day Next Saturday, Sept. 29th 10am-2pm

Dear Friends,

We are holding the St. Nick's Dog Park Fall Clean-up Day next
Saturday, September 29th from 10am to 2pm. We'll be filling in doggie
dug holes, spreading new woodchips, replacing bag dispensers, and
making sure the place looks great for the Fall season.

Your help is greatly needed and appreciated.

If you have a pair of work gloves please bring them. We will have some
available to those who don't. Also, we will have bottled water and
coffee for everyone.

It is usually better to come to the workday after you walk your dog.
Dogs demand attention while in the dog run, and the workday will be
more enjoyable if you can leave your dog in the comfort of his home.
Of course, we understand if this is not possible and appreciate any
help you can lend.

Information on this Clean-up Day is below:

St. Nick's Dog Park
Clean-up Day
Saturday, September 29th

At St. Nick's Dog Park
between 136th and 135th streets in the middle of the park

For more information visit our website at

Thanks everyone for making this dog park one of the city's best!

Friends of St. Nicholas Park

Thursday, September 13, 2007

September Monthly Meeting Minutes and Follow-up

Below is a small re-cap of our meeting our meeting Tuesday, September 11th:


Julia Granaki
Risa Rottenberg
Jamar McDaniel
Phil Spletzer
Jehanne Piper
Josh Greenberg

  • The group discussed the organization becoming a 501(c)(3).
    • Josh brought the forms that are needed to be filled out. The group
    • Risa mentioned that there is a lawyer at Parks who helps organizations with this process.
    • Josh will being filling out the form and leave blank any sections he will need assistance from this lawyer on.
    • Risa will get us name of lawyer at Parks who will help us.
  • It's My Park Day is taking place on October 20th from 11am-4pm for those who would like to participate.
  • Jehanne has volunteered to spearhead the Fall Festival
    • The Fall Festival will take place on November 3rd., from 2pm-4pm.
    • Julia will email Jehanne last year's info. (Facepainter contact, etc.)
    • Julia will also contact Jamar about additional ideas.
  • Some activities suggested were: pumpkin decorating, sack races, face painting, arts and crafts, storytelling, hot apple cider and goodies. The addition of music and park "play mobile" which Risa mentioned is free if we reserve it ahead of time.
  • Christmas Tree Lighting Will take place on Friday Dec. 7th (to be confirmed by William) at 6:oo pm.
    • Group wants to check with Christian Nolan first before asking if anyone would like to take it on. Christian lead the organization last year.
    • Some suggested activities include: hot apple cider, the choir from last year, musicians/singers from Harlem School of the Arts (Jehanne to check with neighbor).
    • Christian to reach out to Convent Avenue Men's Choir to invite them back again next year.
    • A platform in front of the tree would be needed with proper lighting so people passing can enjoy the celebration.
  • Risa, followup with Afro-Cuban event-cost/no cost etc.

  • The group is still looking for volunteers to help Risa planning the 2008 Historic Harlem Park's Film Festival in St. Nicholas Park. All interested should contact the Friends organization at

  • Thank you everyone for hanging in there. We apologize that we did not get through our agenda as planned. Ron and Harv had important concerns and helpful suggestions. We should continue to explore how we can get more of the neighborhood involved in the Friends group. I think this is a very important discussion to have at our next meeting. In the meantime, we should be thinking about this problem and how to solve it...and can certainly open up a dialog via email, phone...or just seeing each other around the park and neighborhood.

    Our next meeting will be held at our regular meeting place at 502 West 142nd street (between Amsterdam Avenue and Hamilton Place) on October 9th at 7pm.

    Tuesday, September 11, 2007

    Special Picnic Monthly Meeting - RAIN LOCATION UPDATE

    Dear Friends,

    Because of the rain, our special picnic meeting on the park this evening has been moved indoors to St. Mark's United Methodist Church, 55 Edgecombe Ave. bet. 137th and 138th. The entrance is on Edgecombe Avenue. We will have a sign on the door.

    We will still be meeting at 6:30pm. Please feel free to still bring your picnic meals, ideas or issues you would like addressed for our park!

    Thank you and we'll see you tonight!

    Friends of St. Nicholas Park

    Thursday, September 06, 2007

    Anna a "new Mommy" with Linnea

    Anna Pettersson who had lost her dog Olive in a tragic event a few months ago writes in with a happy update on how she is doing. Below are photos of the new addition in her life.

    "I wanted to send a greeting to the group. It’s been a while since Olive passed, and while I have meant to stop by to say hello and thanks to everybody for their kind attentions, it was hard for a long time to venture back to the stomping grounds.

    I would like to share that I was “rescued” a couple of weeks back, by a tiny pup from the ASPCA. Her name is Linnea and I find it impossible not to smile when she’s around. I enclose a first set of pictures and look forward to getting reacquainted as soon as she has all of her shots taken care of.

    Many many thanks, again, for all the support you and the group provided during the hard times. Hope to see you in October!"