Daily News from New York, New York on April 13, 1980 · 138
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Daily News from New York, New York · 138

New York, New York
Issue Date:
Sunday, April 13, 1980
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53 il to ' Ml By JOHN LEWIS GIANT YELLOW DAFFODIL, has been painted in time for Easter in the center of the Wollman Rink in Central Pai !c The bright idea is from Richard Wrigley. an ".nplishman who has turned the dciicU -iiddcn skating rink into a paying operation in o:ie season. Wrigley is one of the nfcw breed of entrepreneurs going into "partnership" with the Parks Department by taking over the operation of faltering park facilities and putting them back on their feet. The program has been so successful that Mayor Koch and Parks Commissioner Gordon Davis are seeking public bids for the licensing of other park facilities, including seven of the 13 city-owned golf courses. Experiment tested before Davis said that the experiment was tested a year ago in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park where the city turned over the running of a pitch and putt golf course to a golf professional. The course had been losing $170,000 a year. This year the city got back $10,000 from the operation and, in effect, saved S180.000. The situation at Wollman was similar. The city was losing about $200,000 annually. At the same tirrte. attendance had dropped from a 250,000 average in the 1960s to 89,000 last year. Wrigley, who calls himself "a conceptual designer of recreational facilities," approached the city with the idea of running a roller skating disco at the rink during the fall. According to Wrigley, Davis was horrified at the idea at first because he feared the crowd would get out of hand. He relented however, and the event ran for eight weeks, day and night and on Friday evenings champagne was served. "It was a financial disaster," said Wrigley, who lost $20,000 in the venture. "But socially, it was a great success and established a following." Impressed Parks Department He also gained the confidence of the Parks Department. They asked him to tackle the declining ice skating program. Although he had lost a lot of money, Wrigley agreed. "In for a penny, in for a pound." he said. When he took over, the rink was dingy and the lighting poor. The help, he said, was not the best it could have been, consisting of five Parks Department supervisors and 46 skate guards many of them CETA workers. In one instance a supervisor was mugged by his crew, he said. All the help went when Wrigley took over. He cut the staff to 14 skate guards, including eight of the original whom he rehired. He abolished the skating sessions that had created the long waiting lines , and the inconvenience of rushing people on and off the ice. He cut the number of lockers from 2,000 to 500 (most were not being used, he said) and installed $70,000 worth of lighting and sound equipment. He also took over the job of supervising the day-to-day operation and became ther rink's disc jockey. Attendance climbing "I work 16 hours a day and average $3 a hour," Wrigley said. The result? Attendance already is up to more than 130.01K), an increase of 46, . a better clientele is using the rink and many of the trouble making gangs that lingered around the area are gone. Wrigley got back the 3-0,000 that he had lost on roller skat in : and since then the city has broken even financially. "Technically, we are in partnership with the city. They call it a concession but they get 50r of the profits," he said. The Parks Department leases out scores of concessions in Central Park and elsewhere. Each has a separate financial arrangement with the city. Several are coming up for renegot iation. "I think private operators can do a better job with park facilities if they are willing to work 16 hours a day and are interested in delivering service," he said. Private enterprise profits Davis agrees: "The Parks Department does not have the expertise to manage and promote a business. Private enterprise does things better in many instances."- " Wrigley has a system," Davis said. "If there was a problem you could find him there any time. You couldn't find the Parks Department employes." Davis said that if he wanted to make improvements at the rink he would have had to have gone through dozens of agencies for funds and would have been bogged down in red tape for years. "Wrigley borrowed money and took the risk." he said. It was that simple. A year's vacation for Wollman Rink Parks Commissioner Gordon Davis said that Wollman Rink will be closed for about a year starting in August while extensive reconstruction work is being done on the rink. He said that a - second rink in the park, the Lasker Pool Rink, located at 106th St., which has not been getting much use, would replace the Wollman Rink while the work is under way. ! ft 4 - i 5 1 ' 1 YLt ... V . j -Frftk Gtordndino D4ity Hvw 100 years young Surrounded by daughter-in-law Florence Head (left), daughter Ann Head Campbell, and the Itev. M L. Wilson. Llia Head celebrates her KlOth birthday at a party at Convent Ave. Baptist Church, H5th St. and Convent Ave., .Manhattan, recently. Born in Madison, Ga., she has been a resident of Harlem since 1912. Many happy returns. is takes staGidl nop m (SeiTutfraS Path (Continued from page I) right and Commissioner Davis can't suppress that either," Kay fumed. Kay has some police backing. "I think laws against smoking marijuana should be banned, anyway," said Capt. Gerald McLaughlin, commander of the Central Park Precinct. "The alarm of that habit has just about died out." But policing the park against other infractions which are enforceable has not died out. For these chores, McLaughlin's team of 77 patrolmen and four sergeants will increase by an additional 40 patrolmen to aid the parks commissioner's plans for less littering and more ticketing of violators. "We're kept constantly on the move, chasing kids with spray cans and illegal vendors." he said. Davis said that before his appointment as commissioner in 1978 there was no real policy on the issuance of permits. "It was so indiscriminate that we came very close to having polo matches permitted on the Sheep Meadow. It was that bad!" Davis wants to rid the park of events that, although beneficial and purposeful, also destroy the environment. He has invited the San Juan Fiesta to use the more practical facilities in Downing Stadium at Randall's Island. "It would be better for them and better for us. Events such as this one increase so much in popularity that they outgrow the facilities at the park. "The fiesta in previous years used the 5,000 seat Rand Shell an a I'll admit tli.it when the festival ended. Die area was l-tt immaculate. You could cat off the ground. But the crowds increased over the years, spilling over onto the lawns and exceeded the limits under which we could provide safety. "We've spoken to this committee and Downing Stadium seems to be the answer. It seats 20.000 and gives an amenable solution to both parties." It's a different matter with the Israeli Day Festival activities of two years ago when Davis nude them forfeit the posted $10,0(10 bond. "They did not clean up. The place was a disaster. When we took their bond they knew they had done wrong so there was no complaint," said Davis. Mike llyman organized that festival and denied the Davis charges. "The park was left in tl.e same condition that we fnimd it. Our people acted in a respon-il!e manner and were personally involved in the cleanup," "The circumstances ot that paM event is in complete variance with what we have planned for this June 1." said Hymnn. "This year involves only six to eight thousand kids, not one million as before. The parks people should be made to realize the difference. So we feel that the Band Shell would do nicely for the post parade informal get together. After all, what are parks for?" Replies Davis: "Everybody, including joggers, strollers and citiens who have every right to use the park alter the shouting and fanfare.". DeoufiSirae pBBsEtis nop ftlhie dig pplle By BILL T RAVERS raOLENTINE SAVED THE best for Ulast and saved face for the city when it captured the Super Sixteen state Class B championship last weekend with two overwhelming victories. Unfortunately, the Murry Bergtraum Blazers had to meet the Wildcats in the opening round, thus the Pearl Streeters suffered the first defeat of the season. The Wildcats came right back to beat Bellport, L.I., the state's public school B champion by racing to an 18 2 lead with Mike Moses and soph Ernest Meyers playing key roles. Along with Bergtraum, which recovered with an impressive win in the consolation round, Stevenson was beaten in Class A and previously unbeaten Our Saviour Lutheran lost a heartbreaker in the Class D finals. loss was heartbreaker The Ambassadors' loss was another heartbreaker.' For the second straight year, a referee' blew a key tall in the" waning seconds and for the second straight year, it was against the PSAL's A representative. A phantom walk call last year inflicted a loss on Boys High against Mt. Vernon while a non-call on a definite backcourt violation ruined Stevenson's chances to win in the waning seconds when it was down one. But on a more positive note, congratulations to Bobby Austin and his stellar Tolentine squad, led by senior guards Moses and-Jerry O'Grady and soph forwards Meyers, Kevin House and Darryl Johnston, and key subs Charles Fortson and Damon Glover. Committee left lot to be desired The tournament was beautifully run with the only shortcoming being the all-tournament selection committee which left a lot to be desired. Moses was robbed of the MVP award after a stellar two-day performance when the award was given to a member of the losing team Wes Correa whose own coach admitted later that the designation "shocked me.' "" " i " "I thought Moses was super and deserved it," said coach Jim McGowan. There was more of a travesty w hen the all-tourney team was announced with no Bergtraum players on it. "It was a disgrace," moaned Jeff Bieder. "One of our two guards belonged." Choice was 'disgraceful' Instead, the committee picked a pair of players from the local Rush-Henrietta team that Bergtraum crushed in the consolation. In my opinion, Stan Morse (43 points in two games) deserved the recognition. In local all star action climaxing the season, the Bronx and Manhattan were victorious in just one of our star clashes. In the Wheelchair Classics at Mater Christi High, Manhattan's Riverside Church lost an 88-73 decision to United Queens while Forest Houses of the Bronx was beaten 97 64 by Brooklyn USA. In the CHSAA all star games at Mt. St. JMichael. the Brooklyn division handled the Bronx WestchesieB daision. 80 64, 'i while the Manhattan-Bronx loop scored a 94 92 victory over Queens on a pa.r of free throws by Moses m the wan.ng seconds. Gary Springer was Riverside's b"st with 24 points with Hughes' Steve Hurtt (10) and import Matt Doheity from Holy Trinity in Hicksville (11) hitting twin figures, Ron Williams and Dwayne John son. of St. John's Military in Delafitld, Wis., who both live in Queens, had 28 and 17 while Mater C'hri.sti's Vern Fleming added 23, 21 in the second half. Hayes' Vern Giscombe (17), Mt. Vernon's Tony Taylor (20) and Our Saviour's Rich Pass (11) led Forest Houses but they couldn't handle Westinghouse's Roosevelt Chapman (34) nor Sam Perkins (25), the 6 9 upstate All American who transferred from Brooklyn's Tilden High. Best In losing cause Fordham Prep's Gerard Parker (11) and Sacred Heart's Gary Greenhill (10) were best in a losing cause for Bronx-Westchester but Fordham's JohruMcBride (91i was named the team's MVP. , '

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