Families celebrate Labor Day at Fort Totten archery event

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Photo gallery

Oakland Gardens resident Tom Zhang helps his daughter Holly, 8, aim a bow and arrow as his wife Lily looks on during an archery event at Fort Totten, organized by the city Parks Department. . Photo by Christina Santucci
Terese Ho, of Whitestone, takes aim with a bow and arrow during an archery event in Fort Totten organized by the city Parks Department. . Photo by Christina Santucci
Nicole Yu gives pointers to fellow Flushing resident David Yee. Photo by Christina Santucci

Labor Day weekend revelers braved the beating sun at Fort Totten Saturday to try their hand at a sport that has been enjoying greater prominence lately, thanks in part to a few recent hit movies: archery.

“I feel like Katniss,” said one teenage boy to his twin brother, both of New Hyde Park, L.I., as they awaited their turn to shoot, referring to the bow-and-arrow wielding heroine of the immensely popular book and movie franchise “The Hunger Games.”

The twins watched their mother, Irene Choy, pull back her arrow and aim at a large stuffed target several feet away. Their father, Bill, stood nearby, intently snapping photos.

Irene missed the target, the arrow falling harmlessly to the ground a foot away.

“Not bad,” said an archery instructor, standing nearby to assist her. “Aim a little higher, maybe.”

“Get angry!” Bill said helpfully.

The twins began to strike mock poses, teetering on one foot and holding their arms as though they were aiming, pretending to be cupid.

It was a scene fairly representative of the Fort Totten archery demonstration, which took place from late morning until mid-afternoon Sept. 1 on a lawn near the park’s pool and gazebo. About 70 people — many of them families on a holiday weekend outing — gathered for the archery lesson, one of many to take place at the park over the summer.

The lessons, organized by Park Rangers, unroll at a leisurely pace. The rangers start the day with a short lecture on the safe and proper way to draw a bow and shoot an arrow. Afterward, participants are called up in groups to one of three different targets and given the opportunity to practice as those still waiting hang out on the lawn near the water, chatting and enjoying the outdoors.

Marlon Fonseca and Maki Kikuchi, of Kew Gardens, said they took their young children to the archery demonstration after being inspired by another popular movie that featured a heroine deft with a bow and arrow: “Brave.”

Fonseca said their 7-year-old daughter, Millai, was really into the idea of doing archery since she saw the movie. He said he had also been wanting to try it for a while and found the Fort Totten demonstration online.

Irene Choy said it was also her family’s first time doing archery at Fort Totten. She said they were at the park previously to take a tour and saw archery listed on the activities list. They marked their calendar for the demonstration “because we knew it was going to be pretty cool,” she said.

“It’s great because they have archery on the Wii and this is so different because there’s actual equipment here,” she said, referring to the Nintendo video game console.

Reach reporter Karen Frantz by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4538.

Posted 2:28 am, September 6, 2012
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