The street in front of the neglected playground of JHS 192 in Hollis was alive Saturday afternoon with people enjoying typical summer fun: good food, loud music and fellowship.
But the organizer of the eighth annual Queens United Program for Youth Development street fair said the playground would get active community use all the time if it were not for the citys disregard for the area.
Sylvester Jeffries, a Hollis resident for more than 40 years, said each summers street fair has a different theme. The 2001 theme was to raise awareness about the condition of the JHS 192 playground on Hollis Avenue between 204th and 205th streets.
Our kids shouldnt have to play in the street, Jeffries said as the activities of the street fair swirled around him. We just want our neighborhood to be like everyone elses.
Hundreds of residents came out for the street fair, which featured blaring pop music, the fragrant aroma of grilled sausages and peppers and information from community organizations and childrens games. The NYPD had crime prevention information available and at least two borough president candidates former Board of Ed President Carol Gresser and City Councilman Sheldon Leffler (D-Hollis) turned out.
Children who were not involved at the arts and crafts table rode their bikes throughout the empty playground, which was temporarily filled with two or three rides.
Jeffries said the JHS 192 playground has been allowed to deteriorate over the years, while nearby parks and play areas have received funding for upgrades.
Only two benches are left in the playground since the basketball hoops fell down, Jeffries said, and there are dangerous holes in the concrete of the fenced-in lot that were never repaired.
He said he hoped the street fair would raise peoples awareness about the need to refurbish the playground.
We want these people for everyday, he said.
Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.
©2001 Community News Group
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