Thursday, October 8, 2009
Crowley Funds Bocce Court Upgrades and Courts Italian-American Votes
By Conor Greene
The popular bocce courts at Juniper Valley Park were refurbished just in time for the annual tournament held there last weekend, thanks to funding provided by Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, who gathered there with supporters on Monday.
Crowley (D-Middle Village) allocated $352,000 of City Council funding for upgrades to the two bocce courts located in the Middle Village park. Home of the annual tournament, the courts are also frequently used by local residents throughout the week, as was the case on Monday afternoon. Thanks to the money, the courts were resurfaced and canopies will be installed, along with other capital upgrades, according to Crowley’s office.
After gathering next to the courts with dozens of members of the local Italian-American community in support of her re- election bid this November, Crowley and Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Glendale) tried their hand at a couple of rolls on the newly-smoothed courts. Among those supporting her in her bid for a four-year City Council term were Peter Cardella of theItalian-American Federation of Greater New York and Mario Malerba, chair of the Italian-American Federation of Brooklyn and Queens.
Crowley noted that Italian-American heritage is celebrated in New York City throughout October, and said that the 30th Council district – which includes Middle Village, Maspeth, Ridgewood, Glendale and parts of Woodhaven and Richmond Hill - has one of the highest concentrations of Italian-American residents in the city. “We have a very solid community with a lot of culture,” she told her supporters.
Initiatives Crowley has spearheaded during her nine months in office include raising more than $20,000 for the victims of the earthquake in L’Aquila, Italy, who Crowley said are “very close to our hearts” and provided New York with assistance after 9/11. She also allocated discretionary funding for the local Italian-American federations and served as Grand Marshall at the 16th annual Fresh Pond Road street festival in honor of Madonna Santa Maria de Trapano, the patron saint of Sicily.
Many in attendance, including Cardella, spoke in favor of reelecting Crowley next month, when she faces former Councilman Tom Ognibene (R-Middle Village) for a full four-year term in City Hall. “As councilmember for only a short time, she has done a terrific job to improve the quality of life and to protect our seniors,” said Cardella. “I encourage people to vote for her so she can continue the work she has started for the next four years.”
However, the focus of the day was the revamped bocce courts, which are the daily site of some serious matches among a group of local residents. “People who know Italian-American culture know how im portant that sport is” said Crowley, adding that improvements will include canopies over each end of the court, an idea which was met with enthusiasm from the crowd of supporters and bocce plays in attendance.