Summer {in the Parks} Inside GC

As summer officially ends and fall begins, Inside Garden City checked in with long-time resident and quintessential GC Insider, Maura Liberopoulis for some reflections on summer {in the parks} inside GC. 

School has started and it is a time to reflect on the great places where our kids spent their summer.  Garden City Park system at Edgemere Park administered by the famous Andrew Karen was definitely the highlight attraction of many Garden City kids this summer.  Andrew Karen along with his wonderful staff Gabby Delgado, Matt Haeffner, Zach Bostrom, Mike Lynch, Matteo Lattenzio, Brian Defliese, and Joe Tursi facilitated tons of ongoing fun activities for all the children at the park.  These activities engaged children four to thirteen.  Gabby Delgado began everyday with a great arts and craft activity.  Kids would come from all over on their bikes in all types of weather to find out what the activities would be.  Sometimes it would be world cup soccer, knock out basketball, softball, kick ball, dodge ball, Olympics, park against park softball, and the famous end of the summer scavenger hunt.  The camaraderie between kids of both sexes and all ages is amazing.  It is the classic old time fun.  Although the park opens at 9am, kids show up at any time of day and they go right into any activity that is going on.  Kids also make up games for their own fun and include anyone around. 

It is true old time neighborhood fun.  Mothers and fathers help out to provide lunches, waters and snacks for their kids and newfound friends.  Parents check in with kids periodically throughout the day.  Parents, park attendants and children bring the neighborhood together for free spirited play.  It’s not about making a team or being the best, its just about being a part of a whole bunch of activities and fun. This is truly bigger than the individual.  Doesn’t matter how many times you go, just that you participated and enjoyed!

The amazing thing is that the park system, whether you participate in Grove Park, Nassau Haven and/or Hemlock Park, it is free!  Yes, free!  You can drop and pick up kids at anytime.  This is not a babysitting service but a place where kids can go, be in a safe environment and have their parents check in on them throughout the day.  Activities not run by parents but by kids.

At the end of the summer there is a big party where all the park rats (kids that go to the park regularly) are given awards, created by their peers and the park attendants.  Kids get their neighborhood nicknames.  They may be sweaty, filled with dirt from head to toe, walk around with no shirt on and think they own the place.  At the end of the day you know that your kids learned how to interact with others, gain lifelong memories and friendships and have the summers they will never forget.

Thank you Garden City Recreation Department and Andrew Karen and staff for a wonderful summer!

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