Mr. Eric’s Toddler Time set for Bowne Park return

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Parents who take their children to Bowne Park Field House for entertainment at a beloved toddler program known as Mr. Eric, led by Eric Friedman, will resume in September after the city Department. of Parks and Recreation nearly terminated the program.

Mr. Eric’s Toddler Time was originally set to return to Bowne Park after renovations were complete on the playground and field house until Parks informed state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) that northeast Queens parents would have to travel to Kissena Park for the program.

“Bowne Park is a gem in North Flushing and the programming offered at the field house has been a treasured community resource for kids and parents alike. The passion and support expressed by the parents could not go unheard and I’m thankful that the Parks Department will be reinstating this vital program,” said Vallone. “Mr. Eric is here to stay and the children and families of North Flushing will be able to enjoy the program for years to come.”

Vallone said his office will be allocating funds for a programs called “Kids in Motion” in which a Parks employee will oversee seven hours of organized sports, games, fitness demos, board games and water games.

“The updates to Bowne Playground have made it one of the coolest places to play – and now this summer, thanks to Council member Vallone, it will be staffed with a Parkie, who is dedicated to keeping all of the local kids active and having fun!”Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski said.

This new program, confirmed by Parks, will run from the time the new staffer starts July 5 to Sept. 1, Tuesday through Saturday between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

“I want to thank DPR for listening to the concerns of the community and doing the right thing by returning Mr. Eric’s Toddler Time to Bowne Park in the fall,” Avella said. “It goes to show you the power of the people having a say about what goes on in their community. The Families for Bowne Park Association did a wonderful job organizing and it goes to show you that the one thing the city cannot fight is mothers and their kids.”

Avella said his office issued “many letters over many months” to speak with Lewandowski, who told him the program would be returning after all.

“We’re not politicians, we’re moms, and we come to this park and want the best for our kids,” said Tamar Chicavich, Families for Bowne Park Association.

A Parks Department spokeswoman said the program was initially moved on account of the availability of indoor space, which was under renovation at Bowne Park.

Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

Posted 12:00 am, June 10, 2018
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Reader feedback

Marguerita Rowland from North Flushing says:
I helped organize the rally to bring Mr. Eric; Tony Avella was not one of many to help us bring back our program.
Mr. Avella was the only one. Councilman Vallone was nowhere to be seen until a few days before. Wonderful that he is adding another program, but we really could have used his guidance throughout the process.
June 10, 11:01 am
Maria Becce from Broadway-Flushing says:
Bowne Park is so fortunate to have the support of local elected officials, Borough President Katz, NYC Parks Department, Community activists, and everyone who enjoys our beautiful Bowne Park! As a result of the amazing combined efforts of everyone to not only shed light on the children’s programs, but provide funding by the City Council, these great programs that our families enjoy will continue and flourish! Thank you Ms Rowland for organizing the rally, and thank you to Senator Avella and Councilmember Vallone. Great teamwork by all! Our children will continue to have a wonderful summer in the newly renovated chikdren’s playground! The neighborhood looks forward to the exciting completion of park renovations! Happy Summer!
June 12, 9:36 am

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