Turf the Slab in the Community

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I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by two truly impressive 2nd grade classes at Community Roots here in Fort Greene.  The students are hard at work on an annual park study, in which they research and design their own park space.  This year, their imaginations are focused on Commodore Barry Park, only a stone’s throw from their school, so the children were curious to know how a campaign like Turf the Slab is proposing changes to the park.  I would like to thank teachers and students for a truly wonderful experience, and I am really looking forward to seeing what you all dream up!

Track and Field Day 10-14-2013 257I was especially excited to see some familiar Community Roots faces join hundreds of other young people for the second annual Track and Field Day that Turf the Slab was proud to co-host with the stellar team at Young Rock Soccer Academy. The event was a major success thanks to master organizer Michael Randazzo, all the amazing athletes from LIU and Pratt, the fun-loving LIU Blackbird, Fort Greene Sports, Hip Tot Music, all our generous sponsors, and the hardworking policemen and women of the 88th Precinct who safely oversaw an endless number of ascents up their climbing wall. Special thanks also go out to Commodore Barry believer Tish James, who made a rockstar appearance on the heels of her Public Advocate victory, Assemblyman Walter Mosley, Jelani Mashiriki, and all the other leaders who took time out of their busy Columbus Day schedules to come cheer on the kids! And on a personal note, I want to express my deep appreciation to coaches Musa Kadiri, Magnus Mukoro, Bob Byer, and Lloyd Rodriguez whose advice and leadership means everything, and will be indispensable in making Commodore Barry a real home field for local youth sports. And lastly, to all the parents and kids who joined the fun and brought us over 200 petition signatures, you are the soul of our campaign, and our efforts would be impossible without your support, and your spirit. Thank you all so much…and stay tuned!  Below are some memories from the big day courtesy of photographer Bob Dea.

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Columbus Day Plan: Fort Greene Track & Field Day for Kids!!!

attachment-2Turf the Slab is proud to be teaming up with Young Rock Soccer Academy to host the second annual Track and Field Day for Kids at Commodore Barry Park (Flushing Avenue and Navy Street) on Columbus Day – Monday,  October 14 – from Noon to 4pm!  Come join athletes from LIU Brooklyn and Pratt Institute, as well as the NYPD 88th Precinct, for a great afternoon of free fun and fitness.

Activities include:

– Track and field events with the LIU and Pratt track teams

– Fantastic fitness exercises with the LIU Sports Science Department

– Lacrosse demonstrations with the LIU women’s lacrosse

– Basketball skills with the LIU women’s basketball team

– Soccer skills and scrimmages with Young Rock

– A visit from LIU’s mascot, “The Blackbird”

– The NYPD climbing wall

Bring the whole family out for a fun-filled afternoon, and a glimpse of Commodore Barry’s incredible potential to be a flagship public sports park for the entire Fort Greene community.  All are welcome.  We look forward to seeing you there!

If you have any questions about the event, please contact Michael Randazzo at michael@youngrocksoccer.us

Let’s End Local Turf Wars!

IMG_1145I recently spoke to the coach for George Westinghouse High School’s boys soccer team while they practiced at Commodore Barry Park.  Like every other local coach in the area, he was ecstatic about the prospect of building a proper playing field right here.  In fact, according to a NY Daily News article, Westinghouse has actually been forced to forfeit games because conditions on the grass field at Commodore Barry Park were deemed unsafe and unfit for play.  In the same article, a Public School Athletic League (PSAL) official explains there are not enough fields to cover the games that need to be played.  Between school teams and independent sports programs, local demand for fields is increasing, and the improperly maintained fields at Commodore Barry are all that exists.  In the past, a few programs have arranged to use Brooklyn Tech’s private Charles B. Wang Field (Fulton and Clermont), only to be run off over scheduling and insurance hassles.  You can click here to read about that unfortunate saga, and stay tuned for reports on Marty Markowitz’s misguided multi-million dollar lame duck appropriation to upgrade that very same, very healthy, very private Brooklyn Tech field.  Because they want to right these wrongs, and give local kids a real home field at long last, coaches in our community are backing Turf the Slab.

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Fort Greene Sports

Bob Byer, Founder and Director of Fort Greene Sports, and a community institution, is with us “1000 percent”, and stresses that many local sports need a home.  Magnus Mukoro and Musa Kadiri from Young Rock Soccer, will be supporting the cause by hosting a big family-friendly Columbus Day Track and Field Day in Commodore Barry in October 14 from Noon – 4pm, so mark your calendars!

Young Rock Soccer Academy

Young Rock Soccer Academy

Even the folks at Brooklyn Sporting Goods, who know the local sports community perhaps better than anyone, think making Commodore Barry a flagship sports park is a “no-brainer”.   We are grateful for the support we are getting from coaches, parents, and the whole community, and encourage everyone to put real pressure on incoming District 35 Councilwoman, Laurie Cumbo, and Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams, who will need to deliver the necessary funding.  If you have not already done so, please click here to sign and share the petition, and do take a second to click those little buttons on the right sidebar to “Like” us on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter so we can show our strength in numbers.

Same Site, New Name

TURFLOGOFBWelcome to the blog formerly known as fortgreenesoccer.wordpress.com!  After a successful petition drive, we are now up on Twitter and Facebook, so please “Like” and “Follow” us with the handy buttons right there on our sidebar. We want to keep the whole neighborhood posted on the latest developments, especially plans for a fun, family-friendly event we will be co-hosting with Young Rock Soccer and other great community groups in Commodore Barry Park in October.  Stay tuned…

P.S.  Special thanks to Abby Wiessman for designing Turf the Slab’s new logo!

A Taste of Fort Greene’s Future!

Big props go out to everyone who worked or played at AFROPUNK Fest 2013!  It is a great Fort Greene summer tradition, and we can hardly wait to see the lineup for 2014!  Turf the Slab was particularly excited to see a long procession of food trucks lining Navy Street and bicyclists swarming around Commodore Barry Park. Welcome to the future!photo

Turf the Slab wants Commodore Barry Park to be a community destination more than once a year.  Why not every weekend, day and night?  Imagine gleaming new turf fields crowded with athletes young and old, with an endless parade of runners circling them on a Mondo track.  The crowds come out to cheer them all on. Bicyclists stop to catch a breath.  And everybody lines up to grab a bite.  A regular crowd is great engine for local entrepreneurs, and food trucks could not ask for better, more reliable customers than hungry sports fans in a veritable food desert. Just ask the pupusa truck at the Red Hook ballfields!

AFROPUNK 2013 This Weekend!

Afropunk-2013-Line-upThis weekend, AFROPUNK Fest returns to “The Slab” in Commodore Barry Park for two amazing days and nights.  AFROPUNK is Fort Greene at its best, with an irresistible lineup that includes Chuck D, ?uestlove, Jean Grae, Death, and so many others.  Come for the music, but stay for the marketplace of local wares, art, and food. The festival runs Saturday, August 24 and Sunday, August 25.  You can click here to learn more and check schedules.  Turf the Slab is a strong supporter of AFROPUNK and has every intention of making it a permanent part of the Commodore Barry Park summer experience.  See you there!