All Aboard the New Van Nest Park


After a long three year battle for a new park, community members are finally seeing the beginning of the new Van Nest Park.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held last Friday for Van Nest Park with community members and representatives from the Parks Department.  Also present were neighborhood organizations,  IMG_0386Van Nest Neighborhood Alliance, Community Board 11, and the Morris Park Community Association. Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Senator Gustavo Rivera, Councilmen Ritchie Torres and James Vacca, District Representative Thomas Messina (for Congressman Joseph Crowley), and Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj all picked up shoves to celebrate the birth of the new park.

“It needed to get done. We don’t have much for our youth here. The main focus of the Van Nest Neighborhood Alliance is to provide something for the families.” said Bernadette Ferrara, Vice President of the Van Nest Neighborhood Alliance. Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.,  City Council, and Community Board 11 raised over $1.3 million for renovating the new park.

The new playground will feature  a railroad crossing designed sprinkler system and play equipment in the shape of a train with a ticket booth to complete the ensemble. The railroad themed park is a nod to the old Van Nest railroad station that operated in the late 19th century, bringing travelers to the Morris Park Race Track.


Van Nest Neighborhood Alliance committee, from left to right: Marie Santillana (Sergeant at Arms), Bob Nolan (Counsel), Bernadette Ferrara (Vice President), and John Messenger (Treasurer).

“It’s been a long time coming and we can’t wait for the ribbon cutting.” she said. It is estimated that the new park should be completed within the year.

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