New Playground for Staten Island Public School and Community (NY)

NEW DORP, STATEN ISLAND, N.Y…. 6/9/2009: A new community playground designed by elementary school students opened today with student choral and band performances at P.S. 41 at 216 Clawson Street in New Dorp, Staten Island. The playground will be available to the school’s 650 kindergarten-through-fifth grade students and to families from the surrounding community.

The lot at P.S. 41 has been transformed into a new $1 million community playground with help from The Trust for Public Land (TPL), community sponsor Police Athletic League (PAL), and a design team comprised of P.S. 41’s students, teachers, parents, and members of the community. The playground, funded in part by MetLife Foundation and the Starr Foundation, includes a community garden, running track, multi-purpose courts, trees, benches, fitness equipment, artificial turf field, and painted games.

TPL led a three-month participatory design process with students, community members, and PAL staff to design the new playground to better serve the needs of the children and the community.

“Until today it has been rare on Staten Island for a neighborhood to have one place that serves as both a school playground and a neighborhood park resource. The students were yearning for a place to play during recess and the community wanted a park. Today, their dreams became a reality,” said Andy Stone, director of TPL’s Parks for People-New York City program.

This playground was created in partnership with Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC initiative and is the fifth of 24 community parks that TPL is designing and building as part of this program. P.S. 41 is the only Staten Island public school to participate in the program.

“The P.S. 41 community is so thrilled to work together with The Trust for Public Land and the Mayor’s office on this magnificent playground project,” said P.S. 41 Principal Elise Feldman. “Our fourth and fifth grade students, the PAL program, our PTA, our neighbors, and The New Dorp Civic Association all took part in this experience. This was truly a project of collaboration between our school and its community. Together we designed a playground that we can all enjoy for many years to come.”

The new playground at P.S. 41 has something for everyone: spaces to relax and read a book, as well as areas to exercise, jog, and play tennis and basketball.

“This space essentially makes P.S. 41 a school without walls where our classroom instruction can take place in a park-like setting,” added Feldman. “Our hope is for the Staten Island community to come here to spend leisure time with family and friends. We hope everyone enjoys this beautiful playground filled with trees, plants, and fun.”

The new space is one of 36 community parks and playgrounds nationwide supported by MetLife Foundation, which has contributed $3.1 million to TPL.

“MetLife Foundation shares TPL’s commitment to building healthy communities, with safe, accessible places for recreation and relaxation” said Dennis White, president and CEO, MetLife Foundation. “We are pleased to join the City, TPL, P.S. 41, and the New Dorp community in creating this important new neighborhood resource.”

“The generosity of MetLife Foundation and the Starr Foundation provides thousands of children with a place close to home where they can exercise both mind and muscles,” said Stone.

The Trust for Public Land has created 34 community playgrounds throughout New York City. In partnership with the city’s PlaNYC initiative, TPL is working to transform 185 schoolyards into playgrounds by 2010. The Trust for Public Land conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. TPL has created or enhanced more than 250 neighborhood parks in New York City, investing roughly $200 million in land purchases and in the design, construction, and stewardship of parks. For more information, visit

MetLife Foundation was established in 1976 by MetLife to carry on its longstanding tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. Grants support education, health, civic, and cultural programs. In youth development, MetLife Foundation funds initiatives that promote mentoring and provide safe places and constructive activities for young people, particularly during out-of-school time. For more information about the Foundation, visit