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Golden Pond gets fall cleanup

Rakes, trash bags and muddied gloves were staples of the 20 or so volunteers who spent Saturday morning cleaning the area around Bayside’s Golden Pond, an area left over from the Ice Age a few thousand years ago that now attracts its share of individuals who leave behind beer bottles and soda cans.

“We’re lucky in northeast Queens to have some of the best green spaces in New York, and we want to keep it that way,” said Vince Tabone, counsel to Friends of Oakland Lake, which sponsored Saturday’s three-hour event.

Friends of Oakland Lake brings out volunteers for beautification projects several times a year in Queens, members said.

“I used to come here as a kid, so it’s nice for me to come back and help out,” said Tim Furey, a member of the group. “It’s one of the treasures of the community.”

Both Tabone and Furey lost their races for state Assembly and the U.S. House of Representatives, respectively, last week.

Golden Pond, located at John Golden Park — the northern end of Crocheron Park — is named after John Golden, a longtime Bayside resident and Broadway producer. The park is the former grounds of his estate.

Golden, who moved with his wife Margaret to Bayside in 1920 and lived there until his death in 1955, produced more than 150 plays and musicals during his lifetime, including “The First Year,” “Three Wise Fools” and “Lightnin.’”

“I used to come to this park a bunch of times, and I wanted to help out,” said Eduardo Gutierrez, 19, of Bellerose. “I’ve done two cleanups here, and I really like it.”

Volunteers spent Saturday morning picking up trash — mainly beer and soda bottles and raking leaves, which they said will be composted at a nearby facility.

“More people should come out and do things like this,” Gutierrez said. “I feel people are wasting time doing nothing but watching TV all day, and they should go out and make the world a little more beautiful.”

Eduardo Gutierrez’s sister, Gema, 16, also volunteered her time last week.

“This is my first time doing anything like this, and I like it,” said Gema, a Bayside High School junior. “It’s kind of challenging, but you feel like you’re doing something good for the community and the environment.”

Jean and Ron Egers of Whitestone said they were pleased so many people came out to lend a helping hand. The Egers’ son, Daniel, founded Friends of Oakland Lake but was unable to make Saturday’s event.

“These lakes and parks are just beautiful and should be shown the respect they deserve,” Jean Egers said.

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at agustafson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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