Today’s news:

Cunningham Park offers host of activities for visitors

At the Oct. 15 meeting of the Friends of Cunningham Park, Borough Sports Coordinator Joseph Mauro presented the Shape Up New York athletic programs in several Queens parks. The idea of additional fitness programs in Cunningham Park was then discussed.

The director, Barbarette Williams, can provide pedometers for those who wish to walk. A flier about these weekday activities was printed in the West Cunningham Park Civic Association October newsletter.

Friends of Cunningham Park President Marc Haken facilitated the distribution of packets showing the various Shape Up New York Programs in Queens parks, such as Kissena, Windmuller and Astoria parks and parks in the Rockaways. Local legislators fund them.

The issue was discussed and it was decided that there should be help in distributing a Shape Up New York community survey to ascertain how many people might like such activities as children’s fitness, aerobics, walking, stretching, strength training, yoga and pilates and martial arts. These surveys are available in all park buildings.

Cunningham Park has its Oval Walking Track near the intersection of Union Turnpike and 193rd Street. This track is heavily used and scores of people can be seen walking. The track is currently used all day, every day. If people are interested in additional activities, they should fill out the survey.

Cunningham Park officials present at the meeting indicated that there have been several burglaries of cars in the parking lot off Union Turnpike and 196th Place. Apparently, criminals are watching people park their cars, then put their pocketbooks in the trunks. The criminals then pry open the trunks and steal the pocketbooks.

Since the authorities are aware of these criminal acts, the criminals may have been caught by the time you read this. Be careful if you park there. If you put things in your trunk, do it somewhere else, then drive to the park.

The park is heavily used. Among good activities was a cleanup by Citibank employees in the mountain bike area. Other volunteers cleaned up on It’s My Park! Day Oct. 25. There was a doo?wop concert sponsored by state Assemblyman Mark Weprin (D?Little Neck). The New York Philharmonic Concert was great. Park usage is way up.

Capital projects include refurnishing the stone buildings on 193rd Street near 81st Avenue and moving the dog run a short distance away from this location. Borough President Helen Marshall has allocated $1 million for the rehabilitation of Ballfield 5 and another field in the core area.

St. John’s University, Francis Prep High School and Townsend Harris High School have groups which volunteer in Cunningham Park.

The Friends of Cunningham Park is a volunteer group of people from around Queens, including some members of the West Cunningham Park Civic Association, who live next to the park. The Friends solicit grants and donations from legislators, foundations and other Queens groups. They buy equipment for the park. Those groups which donate money like it when they see that we have a large membership.

If you would like to join, write to P.O. Box 660134, Utopia Station, Flushing, NY 11366. Dues are $30 for a group and $15 for an individual.

GOOD AND BAD NEWS OF THE WEEK: The city never cleaned the weeds out of the pits around trees on the old center mall along Union Turnpike and from the new trees planted along the local streets and the turnpike.

From the city Parks Department, I learned that the city Sanitation Department takes care of center mall trees and Parks takes care of street trees. Driving down Utopia Parkway a few days ago, I noticed workers cleaning the tree pits on the center mall. Seven years is too long to wait for pruning.

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