Sunnyside Gardens Park
Pumpkin Patch and Oktoberfest 2011
Membership Benefits & Dues
October 10, 2011 / Sunnyside Neighborhood / Green & Parks / Queens Buzz. Sunnyside Gardens Park did a great job of providing a whole panoply of activities, many of which were kid-centric, but some there were a couple of activities for adults too. For example the tennis courts were open, and one could have jump-started their holiday shopping at some 25 crafts tables and tents which only cost $50 to rent for the day [10 x 10 footprint]. And they offered beer and wine along with some 700 – 800 hot dogs and bratwurst [some 1500 in total] and other food like chips and cookies for those fathers just wanting to relax and take in a nice warm Indian summer day. I understand that by the end of the day everything was sold out, including sodas, beers and water.
The Great Pumpkin Patch @ Sunnyside Gardens Park
One of the highlights of the event is the pumpkin patch [hence the event name]. In the corner of the park there were hundreds [someone said the park had purchased 800] of fairly small pumpkins lying on the hay strewn lawn where little kids and their parents would, like Linus in a Charlie Brown show, find the perfect pumpkin with which to sit up late on Halloween night to see the Great Pumpkin.
Oktoberfest Barbeques & Picnic Tables
Meanwhile back at the barbeque, there were a number of grills going strong. Along the 21 picnic tables underneath the near century old trees, families were mingling with one another, enjoying a beautiful day, the great outdoors and a bit of social time with their neighbors.
Things To Do With Kids At Sunnyside Gardens Park
The park had also set up a number of other activities for the toddlers / young children. For instance as I strode in I noticed that the playground in the southwest corner of the park was fully engaged. And in the soccer / baseball field diagonally opposite the pumpkin patch, there were a number of crafts tables set up for kids [and their parents] to get creative, including a bit of pre-Halloween masking.
What’s It All About Alfie?
There was an admission to the park for the day-long event. And the proceeds from the food, beverages, pumpkin sales and crafts tables; all go toward funding the maintenance and management of Sunnyside Gardens Park.
Sunnyside Gardens Park Is Privately Owned & Funded
Sunnyside Gardens Park is a privately-owned park and hence doesn’t receive any government funding. To my knowledge there are only two private parks in New York City – the other being Gramercy Park in Manhattan. Hence the park is funded by private donations, memberships and the two large Sunnyside Gardens Park fundraisers, one which is held on Memorial Day Weekend and the other in October for Pumpkin Patch and Oktoberfest.
The funds are used for a plethora of functions including park grounds keeping [check the city parks budget and you’ll see this is not an inconsiderable sum], water, electricity, some level of security, snow removal, garbage removal, and things like garbage liners and toilet paper as well as the administrative tasks like book keeping, insurance and daily management of the park.
Park Membership At Sunnyside Gardens Park
Sunnyside Gardens Park currently has just over 450 family memberships. The park has kept the dues rates low to encourage participation. Park membership costs $335 per year and includes two adults and their children. Memberships also include twelve hours of park service per family, which can be worked off at events such as these fundraisers.
Benefits Of Membership At Sunnyside Gardens Park
The benefits of park membership are that the park is open from 10 am to sunset 364 days per year. Because it is a private park it is only open to Sunnyside Garden park members throughout most of the year, except on occasions such as these fundraisers, and other public events that the Sunnyside Gardens Park hosts including Shakespeare in the Park, the Sunnyside Film Festival and – from time to time – other events.
Sporting Activities At Sunnyside Gardens Park
The park offers well-kept facilities including basketball courts, very nice clay tennis courts [extra fees – see below], a nicely groomed baseball and soccer field, and a running track around the park. There are also bathroom which include changing tables.
Summer Fun & Barbequeing At Sunnyside Gardens Park
There are 11 grills which may be used to barbeque, alongside 21 picnic tables, so that as weather permits, people can cook out on their own. Use of the grills is free, unless you want to reserve one [$5] because they’re let out on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Sunnyside Gardens Park Tennis Courts
Use of the tennis courts costs $190 per park member, per season or $450 per person, per season for a Non-park Member. The season runs from Memorial to Labor Day – these are the official season start and end times, but weather permitting may run longer. Guest fees are $15 per hour.
Currently the park has 459 family memberships, with a current waiting list of 25. This is the fifth year of the event. Many thanks to Penny Lynch for providing much of the information contained in this report.
Photos of the Pumpkin Patch & Oktoberfest 2011
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