Memorial Grove opens in Van Cortlandt Park
(Page 2 of 3)
By Adam Wisnieski
Thirty-nine bronze plaques — to commemorate 37 fallen soldiers, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the Gold Star Mother’s Group, for women whose sons have died in combat — once again sit at the bases of pine oaks, red oaks and Norway maples at the grove, enclosed by a black fence.
Originally built in 1949 — with plaques for Korean War veterans added later — the grove’s bronze plaques were damaged or buried over the years. Of the original 39, 21 plaques were missing. The contractor resurfaced the 15 remaining ones (some of which Mr. Barret and Mr. Tannen dug out of the ground themselves).
Parks planted new shrubs and bushes, trimmed the trees and planted new ones to replace fallen ones. Part of the project was regrading and reseeding the grove, which Mr. Barret says still needs work because a few big patches of dirt remain.
Because of that, Mr. Barret said he was not “jumping up and down.” But he said that he was pleased.
Mr. Tannen and his wife of 66 years, Lillian, said they were happy the grove was open, but were confused about why there was no unveiling. Even though they frequently called the Parks Department and have made themselves known, no city official called them to tell them the Grove was completed.
The last they heard was from Andrew Sandler, who works in Mr. Koppell’s office and told Mr. Barret on May 25 that the construction crews were about to finish their work.
“I would think they’d make a bit more of a fuss about it,” Mr. Tannen said at the grove on June 1. “It’s been a silent struggle in the sense that the Parks Department has never once called us [for input].”
His wife was not as easy on the city.
“You would think they would do something, but that would mean you have a brain,” she said.
Both Mr. Koppell’s office and a spokesman for the Parks Department said an opening ceremony was in the works, but had not been scheduled yet.
“We were looking to get it open for Memorial Day for obvious reasons and pushed to have it completed,” Parks spokesman Zachary Feder said.
But it seems Parks had its hands full over Memorial Day weekend.
KeywordsMemorial Grove, Van Cortlandt Park, Herb Barret, Don Tannen, Adam Wisnieski, Jeffrey Dinowitz, Oliver Koppell, Parks Department